Philipp Christopher is a renowned German-born actor who is set to star in upcoming YouTube original series Origin.
The sci-fi series, directed by Paul W.S Anderson, follows a group of strangers as they struggle for survival aboard a spaceship heading to colonise a distant planet.
Philipp joins us on Close-up Culture to tell us about his role in Origin and much more.
Q: YouTube original series ‘Origin’ comes out 14 November. What attracted you to this sci-fi story?
A: The international cast and the notion that someone would leave earth to escape their past. It’s a tricky thing. It seems like your past will follow you no matter where you go but I found the premise to be an interesting and exciting one.
Q: There is a fascinating video on the Origin YouTube page of your character, Baum, undergoing psychological testing. Can you tell us more about Baum and the conflicts he faces during the series?
A: Baum is a rather dubious character and he’s done some not so nice things in the past. But what really gets him into trouble is his personality. He doesn’t edit what he says, he can be hurtful and outright mean but deep down he’s got a big heart. I always fall for characters like that.
Q: You’ve got experience playing characters in a series having starred in ‘Guten Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten’. Do you relish the opportunity to stay with a character for multiple episodes and really emergence yourself in it?
A: To be honest…it just happened that way. I do like endings too (laughs). But yes, there is a great opportunity to really create and live a character with all its facets and that can be very rewarding. It’s those characters that people get attached to because they experience them in so many different ways and storylines.
Q: As you say, there is an international feel to the story and the cast of ‘Origin’. How interesting was it working on a project like this and with a diverse range of actors such as Adelayo Adeayo, Tom Felton and Nora Arnezeder?
A: That part was truly amazing and it’s one of the reasons why I was so psyched being part of it.
The cool part, however, is that one’s origin or nationality is never mentioned. It’s the future, and there are no labels when it comes to where people are from and what their sexual preference is. I like that. In regards to working with all these actors…we just had a blast. I think we all brought a different approach to acting but that is always the case. It was very inspirational.
Q: Director Paul W.S Anderson has said the set of ‘Orgin’ very much felt like a movie set. How did you find working on a YouTube original series?
A: It’s been the biggest production I’ve ever been part of so yes, I would agree with Paul. The scope and scale of the set was amazing. The whole interior of the ship was built inside Capetown studios and we hardly used any greenscreen. It was a feast for the eyes and senses.
Q: As well as ‘Orgin’, you also have a role in Joanna Bielinski’s short film Rea. What can you tell us about that and your time working with Joanna?
A: Wonderful! So happy you mention this film. Joanna is such a dedicated and wonderful director and put together a great team.
I was very interested in the role because it is very different from what I usually get cast as. Rea is about domestic violence within a marriage, but from a rather different perspective. I’m not sure how much I can give away in regards to the plot, but it was a really nice experience to work with Joanna.
Q: You are the founder and artistic director of FilmGym and have worked behind the camera on multiple projects. What do you enjoy about directing and is it something you want to pursue more in the future?
A: I always loved to be behind the camera and it’s something I also want to pursue in the future.
There is something so thrilling and even orgasmic (for lack of a better term) to see your vision come to life in front of your eyes. You are the captain of a ship, the painter, the composer, the architect, and you always thrive to touch people and maybe even create your masterpiece. It combines so many artforms in one. To me it might be the ultimate form of expression.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or ambitions that you can share with us?
A: I’m currently writing on a play that we’re workshopping with our TightRoap Acting Group called Tyrants. In addition, I have several screenplays and a TV show that we are looking to produce. Due to my schedule some of those projects had to be put on hold but I’m still eager and excited to bring them to fruition. It’s all about the right timing.
Q: Lastly, if you were heading into space to colonise a new world but were limited to only taking three films with you – what would they be and why?
A: Persona by Ingmar Bergman…because no film has more right to be on film than this one. Star Wars – A New Hope…because it changed the movie industry and is a film about space and hope. The Color Purple by Steven Spielberg…because I watched this film 30 times when I was 12 years old and it was one of the reasons why I wanted to be in this industry.
You can see Philipp in ‘Origin’ from 14 November on YouTube Premium
Title image by Katja Kuhl