Known for her roles in the successful Ruby Red Trilogy, Chaos-Queens: Ehebrecher und andere Undschuldslämmer and KU’DAMM 56, as well as KU’DAMM 59, the German actress Maria Ehrich speaks to Discover Germany about why acting is her dream profession, why she will never forget her first film shooting, about her latest project that seeks to find the last heroes of our time and much more.
Maria Ehrich celebrated her breakthrough with the lead role in the Ruby Red Trilogy – an adaptation of the three famous fantasy novels by German author Kerstin Gier. The films attracted an audience of millions into cinemas and the actress even got awarded the young talent award of the GOLDENE KAMERA (an annual German film and television award) for her role as the time traveler Gwendolyn Shepher in 2015. Ehrich recalls: “It was a really great experience to work on a project for so many years and being able to see our team again every year. You grow closer and closer together like a real family. But I also always found it really exciting to play a role in a fantasy movie – simply magical!”
After playing the lead role in the Ruby Red Trilogy many more great roles followed. She smiles: “However, I still find it rather astonishing how clearly I can remember my first ever film shooting. I was only ten years old and was stuck in a really difficult phase. The film Mein Bruder ist ein Hund got me out of it back then and opened up an entirely new world to me. I can still remember exactly our great team and the different smells on set.” Since that first taste of acting, Ehrich has come a long way. But now, more than ever, she is sure that acting is her dream profession: “What I simply love about acting is that you can try new things over and over again and that you work with a huge team on a joint project. Each time, it gives you a very special energy.” She adds: “After all, as an actress I define myself over all the different roles and characters that I’m able to play.”
Finding the last heroes of our time
At the beginning of this year, Ehrich and her boyfriend Manuel Vering, a well-known journalist, started an entirely different adventure. Together, they decided to go travelling for a few months to create documentaries about people who want to change something on our planet. On their social media channels they tell viewers stories of their preparations, interesting encounters and adventurous experiences. The documentary, which is called LEAVING THE FRAME, impresses with breathtaking imagery, an experienced team in front of and behind the camera and journalistic sensitivity for their conversation partners whose stories will stick in viewers’ minds for quite some time. Ehrich explains: “Through my films, I have gained quite a large community of followers on many social media platforms. Many young girls constantly message me on there and say that they want to be like me and that I’m their big idol. But, of course, the social media world is totally abstract and in my films I’m also not myself. That’s why I searched for an opportunity to take everyone that is interested onto a trip that inspires them to travel themselves and to get to know the world – beyond the internet. My boyfriend Manuel and I wanted to start a joint project for a long time and preferably in distant countries. Thus, the idea was born.”
LEAVING THE FRAME is a colourful, inspiring and, above all, genuine travel adventure which has already brought the couple to Africa (Kenya) and Hawaii. Currently, Ehrich and Vering drive from Mexico, across the USA to Newfoundland with ‘Heidi’, a classic VW beetle with tent roof. “The projects and people we visit and film on our journey always give an insight into an entirely different world and life. And we also change with every kilometre that we travel – we also capture that,” Ehrich adds. A special highlight for the actress was the visit of an orphanage in Kenya which is led by a nun – on her own and without financial help. Ehrich recalls: “Among the children was a girl who urgently needed eye surgery to be able to go back to school. She really wants to become an architect. We decided to film a video appeal to collect donations, but in secret – we were already prepared to pay for the surgery ourselves if donations wouldn’t come in. But lo and behold: within two days we got overwhelmed with so many donations that we weren’t only able to pay for the surgery but also for another child’s school fees and for some hot meals for all children in the orphanage. That was an incredible moment and we were so happy about the amount of support that we didn’t expect at all.”
“Everything that will come, can come”
Besides travelling the globe looking for inspiring people, the German actress recently stood in front of the camera for the sequel to the successful three-part series KU’DAMM 56. KU’DAMM 59 was broadcast in spring of this year and Ehrich was also seen in the ZDF comedy Chaos-Queens: Ehebrecher und andere Undschuldslämmer in February. “In Germany, historic TV films mostly play in times of World War II or in the Middle Ages. The 50s and 60s, however, aren’t seen that often and are romanticised to a great degree. KU’DAMM is exciting and shows facets of that time that were still unknown to us, while letting the generation that grew up back then revel in memories. I think that’s a really good mix,” explains Ehrich on the fascination of the KU’DAMM series.
What else can we look forward to from the actress in 2018? She smiles: “Well, there will be some exciting news for LEAVING THE FRAME – I can reveal that much. But some nice shoots are also in the pipeline. For example, I’ll be able to play an absolute dream role next year… to be continued! And regarding our project, I hope that it inspires as many people as possible and that it gives people courage to go out there and to get to know the world. I find the current omnipresent orientation towards the right spectrum of politics in this world more than frightening and believe that travelling gives an understanding of other cultures that can’t be found anywhere else. On a personal level, I have just noticed how happy I actually am – not least through LEAVING THE FRAME. So, everything that will come, can come,” Ehrich concludes.
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF I PHOTO: ELSA VAN DAMKE