Our host Peter Craven speaks with actor Mišel Maticevic about movies, motivation and playing the macho man.
For years, Mišel Matičević was only known of German film aficionados. But winning the best actor award at the German Television Awards in 2008 has catapulted the actor to the upper echelons of the German film world. Internationally, too, Matičević is gaining notice. In 2006, he played Hungarian revolutionary leader Arpad Zelk in the film "The Company" starring Chris O’Donnell and Michael Keaton. Currently, he can be seen in the lavish adaptation of the literary classic "Effi Briest."
Matičević was born in 1970 in Berlin. After his parents’ divorce, he lived with his mother in Berlin-Spandau. "He was difficult, withdrawn, bitter and also very arrogant," Matičević ’s former teacher said. His first day at a new school nearly ended in a fist-fight with a Turkish classmate. Later, he and Tuncay Ersuz, his former rival, became the best of friends.
Matičević decided against joining the school theater group. "Whoever did that just wanted to suck up to the teachers," he said. A defining moment in his young life happened during his school-leaving exams.Matičević saw the film "Danton’s Death" with Gerard Depardieu and thought, "If he can do it, I can do it, too." He decided to become an actor.
The German with Croatian roots studied acting at the renowned Potsdam Film and Television Academy (HFF). When he arrived for his audition, he greeted the office assistant with the words, "Hello, today I will be admitted to your school." He was accepted, and today he says that he has "the coolest job in the world."
During his studies, he had his first experiences in theater with the Berlin Ensemble and the German Theater in Berlin, as well as at the Kleist Theater in Frankfurt Oder.
Shortly after finishing his studies, Matičević took on more film roles. For his work in "Lost Killers" (1999), he took home the Best Actor Award at the international film festival in Thessalonica.
This was soon followed with bigger roles. In the beginning, Matičević found himself usually cast as the villain, the pimp, alcoholic, crook or corrupt big-shot. Yet through this exposure, he soon was offered other roles as a character actor. From 2002 to the present day, he has worked closely with director Dominik Graf. The two have shot five films together. The film "Hotte in Paradise" received critical acclaim, and Matičević received his first nomination for the German Television Award, which he would later win in 2008. He was recognized for his work in the films "The Pledge," "The Dark Side," and "Die Todesautomatik."
Critics have lauded Matičević’s show of physical strength in his films, praising him as a "real man." With his convincing presence, he is best know to German television audiences as the loud-mouthed macho man with sex appeal to boot. His long-term director Dominik Graf agrees: "Finding the so-called "real men" has been a problem for us for years." Maybe that’s why Matičević plays so well to the "female heart-throb" set. The ladies’ commentary on the fan blogs seems to prove that.