Ole Eisfeld – The working actor
Ole Eisfeld is what you would call a working actor. He started out as a theatre actor and nowadays is very present in film and television. He is one of the guys that pop up all the time, you immediately recognise and are drawn to. In our interview, he talks about his life and career.
How did you get to be an actor? Was it always your dream or were there other possible professions?
Eisfeld: My father is a doctor. One of the good ones, who takes time for personal conversations with his patients, instead of prescribing something right away. When I was young, I dreamed of taking over his practice one day. However, through an intense theatre course during high school and a general passion for going to the theatre, the desire to become an actor grew stronger. At the time, I used to see everything at the Thalia Theater and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. One day, I realised, that I wouldn’t have been able to cope with the daily sorrow of the patients. Now, as an actor, I have the possibility to examine other human beings with empathy, but without being confronted by the immediate pain.
Which role or character of yours do you remember best?
Eisfeld: In the theatre, my highlight clearly was Romeo. I played him for a number of years in Chemnitz. It was just a wonderful collaboration with the director Matthias Brenner, who has gone on to be the intendant of the theatre in Halle and is known as a film actor as well. There are numerous happy experiences in the world of film and television. I value the recurring work with director Philipp Leinemann. Together we already did Die Informantin, Der letzte Genosse and Tempel and we will continue in the future. Actually, the shooting of the Inga Lindström film Liebesreigen in Samlund was also a pleasure. I had a great partner with Anja Knauer, and with director Ulli Baumann we had an absolute master on our side.
You were in Los Angeles in 2014. What did you do there?
Eisfeld: It was pure curiosity that drove me there. “What actually is Hollywood?”, was the theme of my first longer L.A. trip. I had an unforgettable time there. For two months, I took a course at the renowned acting studio of Ivana Chubbuck. I also found a manager and went to various castings. Besides, I got to know the special attitude of the city and just had a good time. Throwing Frisbees at the beach in February and driving along the Pacific Coast Highway is just awesome. And I made friendships, which mean a lot to me still.
What’s the beauty of doing theatre? Where are the difference to acting for television?
Eisfeld: To work on a piece with an ensemble for weeks and play the production, sometimes for years, again and again is obviously unique to the theatre. Five, six, at times eight weeks of preparations. That can be exhausting, but also absolutely exhilarating. The cliché, that you must overplay in the theatre to reach the last row, is only half true nowadays. But what is true is that for the theatre you need a different basic strength and power. Currently, I enjoy the immediate, small and pronounced style of acting in front of the camera a lot. But that’s not to say that I won’t be returning to the theatre some time.
You were born in Hamburg, live in Berlin and have an American mother. What does home mean to you?
Eisfeld: Here is why I love the German language. We have two terms for the English word ‘home’. Hamburg is my ‘Heimat’, the place where I was born, Berlin is my ‘Zuhause’, where I live. When I walk around the harbour in Hamburg, or visit my parents or old friends, it’s always connected to a feeling of home. I grew up there, I know the people, how they are and talk. Also, I’m a member of the HSV (Hamburg Football club), for better or worse. Nevertheless, I don’t want to move away from Berlin. I love big cities. The cultural and culinary diversity in Berlin is unique in the country. But I’m the last person to pit places against each other. For a time, I lived a couple of years in Munich and still like the city a lot. To sit in a beer garden during summer is most beautiful in Bavaria. Last year we shot in Cologne, that mentality was also thrilling. I’ve also fallen for Los Angles and London but, for a second residence, I’m missing the needed pocket change.
Are there any particular dreams you have for the future?
Eisfeld: It may sound corny but, especially nowadays, I dream a lot of a more peaceful and just world.
TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS | PHOTO © BJÖRN KOMMERELL
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