Katharina Thalbach: Joy in the fictional character “Miss Merkel”

Katharina Thalbach: Joy in the fictional character “Miss Merkel”

Catherine Thalbach
Enjoying the fictional character “Miss Merkel”

Catherine Thalbach in "Miss Merkel".

Catherine Thalbach in “Miss Merkel”.

© RTL / Maor Waisburd

“Miss Merkel” actress Katharina Thalbach reveals in an interview what she has in common with the “real” Angela Merkel.

The bizarre crime comedy “Miss Merkel – Ein Uckermark-Krimi” will be shown on RTL on March 21 at 8:15 p.m. (also on RTL+ available). The 90-minute film is based on the first part of the successful “Miss Merkel” book series by David Safier (56). Katharina Thalbach (69) plays the retired chancellor who moved to a small town in the Uckermark with her husband Joachim and pug Helmut and suddenly has to solve a criminal case.

“I didn’t know the novels before, but I read the script and I thought: what an unusual idea,” describes Thalbach the beginning of the project in an interview with the news agency spot on news. “I found it so un-German to let the ex-Chancellor mutate into a hobby detective in the sense of Miss Marple. I actually only know this darling from the English, who I admire very much.” If it had been normal satire about Merkel, she wouldn’t have been interested, says the actress. “But I loved this endearing turn of events, watching a retired ex-Chancellor solving a murder case.”

“Will never be a perfect copy”

She then read the “Miss Merkel” books immediately and was enthusiastic. She now hopes “that things will go well with the viewers” so that the team can also shoot the second part, “Murder in the Cemetery”. “I know that David Safier is already writing a third part, so I would be thrilled to continue,” emphasizes Thalbach. The portrayal of Miss Merkel is clearly an artificial figure, she continues. “I am sure that Ms. Merkel will not solve murder cases in the Uckermark. Of course there are points of contact, even of a purely external nature, but I will never be a perfect copy of her. That is not the intention either.” She enjoys playing with the fictional character. “Of course I tried to stick to the original Angela Merkel to orient and to take as much as possible from her. But that only works up to a certain point. You don’t know everything about her. That’s the beauty of it, that so much lies in the dark.”

Thalbach also played Merkel in the Sat.1 Guttenberg satire “Der Minister” in 2013, with a slightly different name as Angela Murkel. The previous experience helped her a lot for the “Miss Merkel” film, “because it gave me a physical feeling for the character. And she didn’t change her blazer or her hairstyle either (laughs). We both just got older, but the good thing is that we’re the same vintage.” The actress also associates the long-term chancellor with the fact that “we are both from the GDR and both a big one Love share to stews. And I’ve always loved physics. I was very pleased that we suddenly had a woman at the top who comes from the natural sciences and therefore also appreciates science.” Merkel’s Protestant background with her father, who was a pastor, is also a point of contact, says Thalbach. “I was very enthusiastic about being a choir member in my evangelical church in Berlin-Mitte. So there are certainly connections where I have the feeling, yes, maybe I understand something about her.”

Meeting the “real” Angela Merkel

The actress also met the politician many years ago. “Shortly after she was elected, I met her at Udo Walz’s hair salon, where we were both among the last customers. I was able to congratulate her and wished her every success as chancellor.” Thalbach can understand that Angela Merkel has now largely withdrawn from the public eye. “I absolutely understand that. She said it’s enough now after 16 years and that includes withdrawing from public life. I’m all the more pleased, of course, that you can go into this beautiful guess as to what she could be up to at the moment .”

In “Miss Merkel – A Uckermark-Krimi” the Chancellor, who has recently retired and could enjoy a relaxed life in the Uckermark with her husband Joachim and Pug Helmut, quickly gets bored. When Baron Philip von Baugenwitz is found poisoned in a castle dungeon locked from the inside, he suspects “Miss Merkel” that it’s not a suicide Since the police involved don’t want to admit this, they have to investigate themselves with the support of their bodyguard Mike.

“I know the Uckermark very well,” says Thalbach, describing her connection to the location of the action. “My brother has a nice piece of land there, I’m very familiar with the area.” However, most of the filming took place in Brandenburg. “We chose very nice spots there that we can sell very well as Uckermark (laughs). Only the hills were missing a bit.” The four-legged partner was a particular challenge, says Thalbach. “Filming with children or animals is always exhausting. When they don’t feel like it anymore, they don’t want it anymore. They don’t take bribes either. On the one hand, that’s an incredibly loving and impressive quality, on the other hand, it costs money time and nerves in everyday shooting if the dear pug doesn’t do what you want (laughs).”

No boring pension

Otherwise, she was able to enjoy the shoot mainly through her “great colleagues” such as Judith Engel (Katharina von Baugenwitz) and Thorsten Merten (Joachim Sauer). “The great new discovery for me is Sascha Nathan, who plays the somewhat annoying commissioner and doesn’t like Merkel at all. That was a lot of fun.” The relationship between the amateur detective and her husband, on the other hand, is characterized by “still great love and understanding”. “When you’ve been together for so long, you just know each other very well, including each other’s weaknesses. And that’s supported by David Safier treated with a lot of humor and a lot of love.”

For Thalbach himself, crime novels also prefer to be “not quite so dark”. “I love Agatha Christie, I’ve read almost everything by her. Or I also like Inspector Barnaby. So more the English crime novels, which I appreciate for their humor.” When she is not devoting herself to literature, Thalbach continues to be busy as an actress. “I’ve been retired for a long time and I’m not bored at all. I work just as much as before. I have a job that I can still do physically. And as long as I have a voice and can watch, I would like to play.”


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