At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Diane Kruger stunned audiences with her turn in Fatih Akin’s hard-hitting terrorist drama “In the Fade,” which casts the German actress as a woman devastated by an attack that kills both her husband and young son. Kruger’s turn in the film was strong enough to earn her the Best Actress prize at the fest, and as she embarks on what will likely be a very busy awards season, she picked up yet another honor at the inaugural IndieWire Honors ceremony.
For Kruger, the role was one of her most demanding endeavors yet, one that required months of training of both the physical and emotional variety. As she told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn at last week’s ceremony, “I definitely wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to pull it off, it took many months for me to be comfortable with this role.” It paid off.
To play the role of the heartbroken — and then believably revenge-driven — Katja, the actress endured months of physical changes, including losing weight, changing her hair, and getting comfortable with scores of fake tattoos. But it was the emotional work that was most challenging. Kruger met with other victims of terrorist attacks for nearly four months, intent on being able to “feel the truth” of their stories, all the better to infuse her own character with necessary realism.
“As a person, I think it changed me, because I got to meet people who have lost everything,” she said. “I felt a real sense of responsibility to find the truth of that in my performance.”
The actress found the experience formative, and she’s hoping that its story and message can also impact other people struggling with feelings of despair and pain.
“I felt like this one was different, because it’s a very timely movie,” Kruger said. “As a human being, I am incredibly effected by these terrorist attacks. By meeting the survivors of these attacks…I just discovered this terrible empathy and this feeling of ‘We need to shine a light on people that stay behind and what it really does in our lives and how it effects us.'”
Kruger also talked about how she picks roles, her hopes for upcoming parts, and why she always wants to make at least one French movie every year.
IndieWire Honors is presented by Vizio and DTS with premier support from Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City.