I recently got the chance to talk to Hermann Eppert about his role in ‘Don 2’. Here, Hermann talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew…
Hey Hermann. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Don 2’.
It’s my pleasure Matt, I love your blog! Thank you for your interest in the film!
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
After escaping from a Malaysian prison Don fights his enemies – bosses of the European underworld and law enforcement agencies – and plans to steal printing plates of a major Euro printing bank in Berlin. With his team of thugs he takes hostages, manages to steal the plates, gets betrayed and captured – you’ll have to watch the film to find out how he escapes…
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play one of the hostages, an employee of the European Central Bank.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
When I heard that ‘Don 2’ would be shot in Berlin and that they were looking for German actors I tried whatever I could to audition for it – contacted the casting director, the production company and whomever I could find who seemed to be involved, but the few speaking parts were already given to the available big names and also to the stunt guys. Then I found out that they were looking for actors to be featured extras and though it is despised in Europe to do extra work as a trained actor I was happy when I got hired, I just wanted to be part of this project so badly, because I’m a big fan of Bollywood movies. Of course you would die to portray a great character in a great movie – but at times it can be more inspiring to be on a set of a major production and learn from everyone and everything you see there than to sit at home or work one of your five survival jobs and in this case it was such a great experience I would never want to have missed.
How would you say this film is different and unique, both in general and from the original?
While ‘Don – The Chase Begins’ from 2006 was a remake of the original 1978 ‘Don’, ‘Don 2 – The King Is Back’ is a completely new story by Amrish Shah, Ameet Mehta and Farhan Akhtar, three passionate ‘Don’ fans, taking the character further into new challenges and locations. You’ll see some of the characters from the 2006 ‘Don’ again among new ones in a great thriller, great action scenes and stunning photography.
The film stars Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Om Puri, Boman Irani and Lara Dutta – with Farhan Akhtar onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on- set?
It was incredible! I loved working with these people, mostly because of their inspiring passion and professionalism but also because I learned so much from watching them. Sharukh is such a big star, and yet he loves to make jokes between takes and helps everyone to be as relaxed as they should be to be able to focus when the camera is on. With a crew that mostly knows each other from various projects before and a director who also is a great actor himself there was an air of respectful friendship, everyone seemed to really enjoy the company of each other and supported each other. And all the fighting and action scenes were amazing, the stunt guys did a great job!
Let’s talk a bit about you Hermann. What made you want to get into the world of film in the first place?
I guess that was because of a beautiful woman and 9/11. I have always had a great passion for movies, acting and filmmaking but since I was a little boy everyone around me talked me out of it, and so it took me a while to realize that it wasn’t just a dream but something I really wanted with all my heart. So I studied psychology and wrote my thesis to get my degree and become a psychologist. I did a study on flight attendants abilities to recognize emotion (specifically fear) from people’s faces when 9/11 happened and everything changed. At that time I fell in love with an actress and her love and passion for acting awakened something in me I had neglected for many years. Then my professor died and finishing my thesis became more difficult with every day. All of a sudden I knew that I had come to a point where I had to make a decision – and looking back today everything makes sense which it didn’t back then. I studied acting in New York and have never regretted it.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Don’t allow anyone to talk you out of something that you want beyond all reasoning. The heart knows a truth the mind cannot grasp. This industry requires a lot of stamina, patience and what I would call “a thick skin”, especially as an actor you have to face a lot of rejection and frustration. You must never forget how extraordinary you are and resist comparing yourself with others and becoming someone who tries to please everyone because that is poison to your soul and your art. In the end it’s all about love: do what you love.
If you could invite three guests to dinner – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Sydney Pollack, I met him once in New York and while he stood right next to me for about 15 minutes – there were so many things I wanted to tell and ask him that I just didn’t know where to start and not sound stupid… next time I’ll know better!
- Victor Frankl, because his books and his deep love that made him not just overcome the horrors of a concentration camp but also able to forgive impressed me since I was a little boy.
- Kim Stanley, because I believe she was one of the greatest actresses of her time.
If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?
My toolbox (I’m a trained furniture maker and couldn’t do without my tools), a set of good books that would prevent me from going insane and my I-Pod, (if it was allowed) that it doesn’t stop playing after the battery is done (otherwise I’d rather take a diving mask)…
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
John Powell’s soundtrack of ‘How To Train Your Dragon’, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D-minor, Depeche Mode, Bollywood movie songs, Royksopp, Stephen Sondheim songs, Soundtracks by Hans Zimmer, A.R. Rahman, Dario Marianelli, Tan Dun and many others.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
The ‘Don 2’ premiere at the Berlinale in February and later this year ‘M‰nner zum Knutschen’, a gay comedy where I had a great kissing scene with one of my female fellow ‘Don’ hostages – and hopefully a lot of great parts and projects!
Thanks for the interview!