It is difficult to think of a German actor who has more of a toehold on Hollywood than Til Schweiger. His English-language credits include Inglorious Basterds, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Muppets Most Wanted, King Arthur, and SLC Punk!. Conquering Hollywood isn’t a battle that Schweiger needs to fight. Back home in the German-speaking world, Schweiger is a bonafide movie star who also writes, directs, and produces. He does it all.
Wikipedia names him as “one of Germany’s most successful filmmakers.” And Schweiger has even drafted his children into the family business, so to speak, by giving them roles in several of his movies. Til Schweiger has become so popular in Germany because his films are likable and crowd-pleasing. What better way to practice German? So this month, let’s get to know Til Schweiger and practice German with a few of his films!
About Til Schweiger
Tilman Schweiger was born to two teachers in the southern then West German state of Baden-Württemberg on December 19, 1963. With one older brother and one younger brother, Schweiger grew up in the central German town of Heuchelheim.
After completing his civilian service requirement in a hospital, Schweiger studied German and medicine. But in the middle of the 1980s, Schweiger began training as an actor in Cologne. Before the end of the decade, he was working at Contra-Kreis-Theater, Bonn’s oldest private theater.
His big break was in 1990 when he appeared on the popular weekly soap Lindenstraße. Over the next couple of years, he appeared in 37 episodes of the series. From there work came steadily as he became one of Germany’s most famous actors before expanding into directing, producing, and writing. Til Schweiger, it seems, can do it all!
In the film, Schweiger portrays Ludo, a tabloid reporter who focuses on the most salacious stories. His nose for news gets him into trouble as he is arrested for crashing an engagement party for boxer Wladimir Klitschko. His punishment is to complete community service in a local kindergarten.
Unfortunately for Ludo, the kindergarten director Anna (Tschirner) ends up being a young woman that he had previously bullied. Anna doesn’t make life easy for Ludo. But the experience in the kindergarten affects Ludo deeply.
Til Schweiger directs, stars, produces, and co-wrote 2011’s Kokowääh. What’s more, two of his daughters appear in the film. One, Emma Tiger, stars opposite her father while another, Luna, makes a cameo.
In Kokowääh, Schweiger stars as Henry, an author who suddenly has to deal with an 8-year old daughter (Magdalena portrayed by Emma Tiger) he didn’t know existed. The introduction of Magdalena into his life makes things more challenging. Henry tries to balance his career with an attempt to repair his relationship with an ex-girlfriend. Meanwhile, Magdalena is dealing with her own set of challenges. She’s conflicted about her feelings to the only man she’s known as a father and this new man, her biological father.
Honig im Kopf
Honig im Kopf from 2014 is another film where Schweiger stars, directs, writes, and produces. Schweiger’s daughter Emma stars alongside him and actor Dieter Hallervorden. The film focuses on an older man who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. After the loss of his wife, his son (Schweiger) and granddaughter (Emma) move him into their home. The drama follows the heartbreaking challenges that many families experience.
If Honig im Kopf sounds familiar, you may have already seen it — sort of. In 2018, Schweiger directed an English-language remake (Honey Full of Honey) of the film starring Nick Nolte, Matt Dillon, and Emily Mortimer. Schweiger makes a guest appearance, of course, as a waiter.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German-language actors and actresses previously featured.
Photo from Til Schweiger’s official Facebook page. This post contains affiliate links.