Award-winning actor Franz Dinda chats to Aimée Woolford about season two of Das Boot, his experiences on-set, writing poetry, and much more.
Q: “Das Boot” is currently screening on Sky Atlantic. Can you tell us about this series, and how it differs from the first season?
A: The series Das Boot starts where one of the most famous German films left off: Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot. In contrast to the film, the series not only focuses on the submarine’s crew, but the plot is expanded by two more strands on land.
Our director Andreas Prochaska, who is responsible for the entire first season, attached great importance to the most authentic possible implementation, almost in the style of a documentary. The second season allows much more emotions and a deeper look at the individual characters.
Q: You play Chief Engineer Robert Ehrenberg. What journey can we expect to see him go on during season two?
A: In season two, Robert Ehrenberg decides to report the mutiny in which he was involved in season one. However, this has no consequences for the responsible perpetrators, who then take revenge on Ehrenberg. And since he’s an alcoholic, Wrangel forces him to start drinking again. This is how Ehrenberg is made controllable. His horrific mission begins.
Q: What is the filming like, and how is the atmosphere of claustrophobia captured on the U-Boat?
A: The size of the set and the effort that was put into this project is enormous. We shot the scenes inside a boat in the famous Barandov studios in Prague.
You have to think of the whole submarine as a train, the individual compartments of which could be separated. The individual rooms of the submarine were also all controllable by a hydraulic system so that the swell could be simulated. Including the team members, we were sometimes up to 30 people inside the boat, so that claustrophobia automatically developed.
In addition, we filmed the scenes outside of the boat in Malta – in midsummer and in military winter gear. I’ll put it this way: we didn’t get cold.
Q: What is it like to be on the set of “Das Boot” alongside your fellow actors and actresses, as well as engaging with director, Andreas Prochaska?
A: As many of us knew each other from season one, it was like family reunion. The new colleagues also fit in wonderfully and it was simply a fantastic collaboration – also with the two new directors of season two, Matthias Glasner and Rick Ostermann.
Q: What was your main inspiration for entering the acting profession? Is this a path you always wished to take, or did you have any other aspirations?
A: I grew up with books and films. That’s why I wanted to be an actor since I was a teenager so that I could tell stories myself. So, I never had to think about what I wanted to be; I made films during my school days and I never stopped.
Q: You’ve certainly had a very successful career so far, winning many awards and acting in a whole variety of TV shows and movies. What was it like to win the “Bunte New Faces Award” in 2006?
A: I remember that I lifted the lady who gave me the prize out of joy. We almost fell off the stage. Fortunately, we both survived.
Q: As you have delved into the world of poetry and self-publication, it is clear that you are talented in many areas of art and expression. Can you tell us about your experience with writing “Ein BilderReimbuch über die Liebe”, and where the influence for this came from?
A: As an actor, I work a lot with texts. And for me this interest does not stop with having finished shooting a film and going home. That is why I rented a studio in Berlin Kreuzberg, almost 15 years ago, to be able to continue working between my commitments and to produce my own content. Right from the beginning I have been dealing with poetry and forms of its representation. What started with simple poems soon developed into art installations, so called “rhyming machines”, that I build to overcome people’s fear of contact with this text form.
Q: You appear to have a very nurturing and generous spirit; displayed in your upcoming charity concert for the visually handicapped in Berlin. What has invoked you to make a difference to the world, and the vulnerable people in it?
A: In times like these, it becomes apparent whether a society is still able to stick together or not. Wondering what my contribution could be led me to the idea of voluntary musical readings for the blind, who suffer even more from the situation than others.
In addition, thanks to our partner Daimler and its “be a mover” initiative, we can even donate money to the facilities, which makes the support – besides bringing a cultural event to their doorstop – even more concrete than just maintenance. Furthermore, it gives me great pleasure to know that Till Brönner, one of the most renowned German musicians, will be part of this project, too.
Q: Do you have any aspirations for the coming years, in regard to your professional life?
A: I would like to act in a film that takes place in space. That seems to be incredibly fun. Otherwise I’m interested in German Expressionism and its artists. There is still a lot to discover and tell.
Title image by Ben Wolf