Til Schweiger sat down for the interview in a studio trailer outside Berlin’s now-closed Tempelhof Airport with a bloody gash running under one eye.
It was only makeup, of course, for a scene in the long-running German TV crime drama “Tatort,” or “Crime Scene.”
Classic Til. Whether it’s his latest role as criminal investigator Nick Tschiller, or other films over the past quarter century, he’s more likely than any other German personality to get shot, stabbed, blown up or just an old fashioned beating.
By the numbers alone, he’s Germany’s most popular actor and filmmaker, having drawn a record 51 million people in the country to watch his films on the big screen.
He’s also had some success on the other side of the Atlantic. American audiences know Mr. Schweiger for his appearance as Nazi killer Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz in the Quentin Tarantino film “Inglorious Basterds” and he also appeared in Hollywood productions “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “King Arthur.” The 1997 German film “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” grossed $3.4 million in the United States.
But he’s also one of Germany’s most controversial personalities – an action hero in a country that treats Hollywood-style action with suspicion. His most successful film in Germany was actually not an action flick, but the 2007 romantic comedy “Keinohrhasen,” or “Rabbit Without Ears.” It won a best film award and grossed nearly €70 million, or about $75 million in Germany.