Exclusive interview with Christian Oliver

Foto: Christian Oliver
Christian Oliver

Mai 31, 2015 | Over here in Germany most of us know Christian Oliver as Jan Richter on "Alarm for Cobra 11" but in the 90s he had his breakthrough in the NBC television sitcom "Saved by the Bell: The New Class". He works as an actor both in Germany and LA with excellent film projects like "Speed Racer" and "The Good German" under his belt. In a few days his new show, the much-anticipated Netflix science fiction drama "Sense8" will become available and he kindly made time to answer our questions.

German translation of the interview.

1. You have a new show coming up, Netflix's "Sense8", a scifi drama created by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski. What were you most excited about when you signed on to the project?

I was fortunate to work with Andy and Lana on "Speed Racer" a couple years ago. And of course I was super excited that they would let me play another crazy villain that they had created. And like the first time around, this was a dream come true to me. Andy and Lana are amazing in pushing all the right buttons to bring out the best in you. Or in Steiner's case, the worst… I was also super excited to finally work with Tom Tykwer who directed all the scenes in Berlin.

2. Why should viewers tune in, what makes the show compelling?

I just saw the first three episodes at the premiere in San Francisco. And I can´t wait to see the rest. I am hooked and I am sure you will be as well. It's binge watching at it´s finest. It's an epic adventure into different worlds and cultures like you´ve never seen before on TV.

3. Your part is described as "the villainous Steiner". Can you reveal anything about how he is going to interact with the "Sensates" and what drew you to play the character?

Steiner is a Russian mobster in Berlin, trying to run his father's empire. His cousin Wolfgang is one of the Sensates, and Steiner and him are at war. For me it's always fun to play the villain and do something I haven't done before. And Steiner is as bad as it gets.

4. Shooting locations are spread all around the world, Reykjavik, Mexico City, Mumbai, Seoul etc. This sounds challenging for the production. Were your scenes shot in only one of those locations or did you travel with the production team?

Unfortunately Steiner isn´t that interested in different cultures so all my scenes were shot in Berlin. But I still had an amazing time shooting there.

5. In Germany most of us know you as Jan Richter from "Alarm for Cobra 11". You played this character for 2 years. Was there a point at which you realized your character had changed you, that you learnt something from him?

I still love looking back at my time at "Alarm for Cobra 11". I wouldn't say Jan Richter changed me, but definitely my driving skills.

6. Born in Celle, Germany, you started out in the 90s comedy "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" as Brian Keller. How did you get into acting in the US?

After I finished school I went to New York for an internship at an Ad-Agency. Growing up in Germany acting was always a hobby of mine. I guess New York gave me the courage to go for it. I moved to LA and started working right away on commercials and got my break with "Saved By The Bell" shortly after. Which was learning by doing every day, shooting in front of a live audience at NBC studios, next to Jay Leno and Will Smith's "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".

7. You also played a part in "Valkyrie" in which Tom Cruise portrayed Claus von Stauffenberg. The film was shot in Germany. Could you talk a little bit about your memories from working on that set with one of the biggest movie stars, Tom Cruise?

Shooting a movie with Tom Cruise is like shooting a movie with the president of the United States. Helicoptor, Bodyguards… the whole Sha-bang. He is the biggest movie star in the world. And everybody on set knows that. But once you get in front of the camera with him, he is right there with you. A perfectionist at his best.

8. You have been working as an actor in LA and in Germany for quite some time. What are the biggest differences for you working on a Hollywood set or on a German set?

I don't think the differences are that big. At the end of the day everybody is trying to make a great project.

9. Which character you ever played was the hardest work? And which one had the most influence on you?

Every character has its own challenges. But portraying Emil Brandt in "The Good German" was one of the greater challenges in my career. Not only did I loose twenty pounds for the part, I also had to dig deep researching and bringing him to life opposite one of the most amazing actresses of our times, Cate Blanchett. Working on that movie definitely left its mark and I will be forever grateful for that amazing experience.

10. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about US television shows, we would like to know what your favorite shows are?

"House of Cards", "24 - Twenty Four", "Game of Thrones", "Homeland", "Entourage" --- and of course my new favorite show Sense8

Thank you for the interview, Christian, we wish you all the best for your future!

Nicole Oebel - myFanbase

Note: © myFanbase 2014 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first two questions (up to 180 words) if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the link to this site.