German actress says living in Texas inspired her to pursue acting
What can you tell me about Franka Potente from “Copper”?
—Darryl Whiteman, Tempe, Ariz.
Potente, 38, was born and raised in Germany, where she lived until she made the decision at 17 to become an exchange student. She completed her final year of high school in Houston, Texas, where she says she had the whole experience.
“I had an American boyfriend, went to football games and to my American prom. I was so serious about my American boyfriend, I brought him back to Germany with me to visit my parents. They were horrified,” she recalls.
It was her move to Houston that inspired her to follow her dream of an acting career, so when she returned to Germany, she enrolled at the Otto Falckenberg School of Performing Arts in Munich, landing her first onscreen role in a student film.
She relocated to the U.S. again to complete her last year of training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City. Potente’s big break came shortly after when she was cast in the 1998 German indie film, “Run Lola Run,” which won several awards at film festivals.
Even while continuing to work in Germany, Potente fielded offers from the U.S. as a result of “Run Lola Run.” Her first American film was “Blow,” which was followed by “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy.”
She also began working in television on “The Shield,” which was followed by this summer’s BBC America series “Copper,” which has been picked up for a second season; and a guest starring role on “American Horror Story: Asylum.”
“To be honest, television in America, which is really my only TV experience, is so elaborate these days,” she says of the decision to move from the big screen to the small.
“When you are on the set, they light it really well, and they have all the toys and they play with them. The directors are great and they really work with you, so I am not on the set thinking, ‘This is television.’ It is not so different from something even like ‘The Bourne Identity.’”