Diane Kruger Stars as a Grief-Stricken German Wife and Mother in Director Fatih Akin’s ‘in the Fade’

By Larsen, Peter | Pasadena Star-News, December 28, 2017 | Go to article overview

Diane Kruger Stars as a Grief-Stricken German Wife and Mother in Director Fatih Akin’s ‘in the Fade’


Larsen, Peter, Pasadena Star-News


When Diane Kruger started to research her role in director Fatih Akin’s “In The Fade,” a German-language film in which Kruger plays a grief-stricken woman whose husband and young son are murdered by two neo-Nazi terrorists, she reached out to several support groups in her adopted hometown of New York City, thinking she could quickly absorb some of the painful knowledge of those who’d lost loved ones to violent acts.

“To be honest, I didn’t really at that time understand how much that would affect me,” Kruger says in a recent interview at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. “I thought I was just going to go a couple of times, ask a few questions, and sort of make it up in my head.

“But I very quickly realized that that wasn’t going to be possible, because I think when you’re confronted with so much grief, and the individual stories, and what these people go through – it’s something I will never forget. I’d never experienced or seen so much grief, you know?”

For six months she went back again and again, feeling a sense of duty to play her character of Katja Sekerci as accurately as possible to do justice to the real people who shared their stories with her.

“It haunted me,” Kruger says. “And I got this acute sense I needed to feel what they feel. How can I find my truth? I have to give a voice to that, to them, it’s not just one person.

“And it kind of happened by itself after awhile,” she says. “I allowed myself to take that on. It felt a bit like drowning – it pulls you in. And by the time we started filming, I was ready.”

All that preparation paid off in the end for “In The Fade,” the first German-language role for Kruger, who left her native land 25 years ago and now divides her time between New York City and Paris. Earlier this year she was named best actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her work.

And in the days after we spoke to both Kruger and writer-director Akin, the film – which opened Wednesday, Dec. 27, in Los Angeles, and expands to wider release Friday, Jan. 5, earned more acclaim, picking up a nomination for best foreign-language film at the Golden Globes and moving onto the shortlist of nine films for the same category for the Academy Awards.

Kruger says she’d been a longtime admirer of the films of Akin, a German-born filmmaker of Turkish descent, and sought him out at Cannes in 2012 to say how much she’d love to work with him one day. Akin remembered, and as he wrote the screenplay for “In The Fade” it was Kruger who came to mind as the perfect actress for the part.

“As a director you always are a bit like a chef in the kitchen,” Akin says in a separate interview at the Four Seasons. “You’re cooking, and casting is kind of like a very important (ingredient). You can make a meal which is not that very special. It can be tasty, but it is what it is, a spaghetti Bolognese. But if you have the right cast it can be like the Bolognese has a bit of red wine in it.

“So that opportunity I had with Diane,” he says. “I could go with the usual suspects in Germany, but it would not be such a special event. These days there are so many movies coming out you have to create an event. You need something where people are like, ‘Oh, what’s happening here? What’s going on with Diane?'”

In the film, Kruger is on the screen for every scene of its 106 minutes, her physical presence the embodiment of soul-crushing grief, her eyes haunted by the loss she’s experienced. …

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