Thursday, 15 May 2008


Sky du Mont was born in Buenos Aires and spent his childhood in United Kingdom before starting a brilliant career in Germany and internationally. From his debut on stage, his guest roles in the tv-series of Helmut Ringelmann (Der Kommissar, Derrick, Der Alte...) to Eyes Wide Shut and his comic characters in the movies of Michael « Bully » Herbig, Sky du Mont talks with us about his work and his different and numerous artistic activities.

Sky du Mont, your very first contact with acting was at the end of the Sixties with an extra part in a play where you caught the attention of the director. Could you please tell us more about this debut and how it lead you to acting school?

Sky du Mont : I was broke - as usual - and I did extra-work on plays for television. This is where a very famous german director, Fritz Umgelter, discovered me and gave me my first role in a tv-play.

I was very lucky because an acting instructor from the National Theatre gave me lessons for free as she believed in me and in my talent.

During your three years at acting school in Munich (1969-1971) which teachers marked you the most and why?

Sky du Mont : Miss Hanschke, because she taught me everything there was to know about Theatre. Everything else you have to learn while working: « learning by doing »...

After school you start your career on stage for the Residenztheater of Munich and the Staatstheater in Berlin. For which plays and which roles?

Sky du Mont : I started off with Schnitzler's Professor Bernhardi in Munich. After that I joined the Staatstheater Berlin (National Theatre) an played Gorki, Tchekov, Edward Bond, etc.

Your first movie is the Heimatfilm Das Schweigen im Walde (1976), directed by Alfred Vohrer. How did you work under the direction of this great artisan of german cinema?

Sky du Mont : As I had a tiny part there is not much to tell...

The Boys from Brazil (1976), the well-known thriller directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, constitutes the beginning of your international career. What was you role in this movie? How were you chosen? With which actors did you share some scenes?

Sky du Mont : All my scenes were with Gregory Peck. I got the part through casting and played a ruthless killer.

We cannot talk about your acting career without a mention of your participation in Mr Helmut Ringelmann's television productions. Mr Ringelmann enjoys to work with a family of professionals, technicians and artists and his actors are like those of a Repertory Theatre company.

Sky du Mont : Ringelmann was one of the most important people in my career. I was 21 ! Derrick, Der Alte... All these parts probably started my career in Germany.

How did you meet Helmut Ringelmann?

Sky du Mont : I rang his office and asked for an appointment - and I was granted one. 8 days later I got my first part in one of his productions as a man named Manuel Derrick in Der Kommissar.

Can you please talk to us about Tiefe Wasser (1983), an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's Deep Water produced by Mr Ringelmann.

Sky du Mont : Tiefe Wasser was directed by Franz Peter Wirth, a director I very often worked for.

You played a vast range of characters for Mr Ringelmann but your interpretation of the archetypal suave villain from the Munich Bourgeoisie in his Krimi Series remains very popular. Can we consider this kind of character like a role from the classic Theatre, as these shows possess the aspect and the psychology of a tragedy play?

Sky du Mont : Yes, certainly. And I always believed that even the « bad guy » has a mother and loves dogs - for example.

From 1979 to 1983 you work on international movie productions like Avalanche Express (1979) or American TV prestige miniseries and in Germany for cinema and television. But in 1985 you make your first major jump into the movie comedy world with the mega-cult Otto - Der Film, starring TV-comedian Otto Waalkes.

Was it important for you to play in a comedy at this moment of your dual career in Germany and abroad or was the opportunity to play in this one pure chance, or both?

Sky du Mont : People in Germany only knew me as the villain and it was about time that I change my character as I had on stage. I played in many comedies in Theatre but was never offered a funny part in Film or television. When Otto - Der Film came I took the chance and it became the most popular film in Germany... until Manitou's Shoe.

You have made two incursions in the Soap Opera universe with your participations in this US institution that is General Hospital and Judith Krantz's Secrets, an attempt to duplicate the genre in european co-production. Could you compare these two experiences?

Sky du Mont : Playing in Judith Krantz's Secrets was not very rewarding. It was unorganised, unprofessional and I hated the work. It was never shown in Germany, as I know.

General Hospital was a great experience. Fantastic scripts, great actors and very (very) hard work!

Your name belongs to the great History of Cinema with your role of Sandor Szavost in the last Stanley Kubrick's movie, Eyes Wide Shut (1999). How did you prepare your scenes?

Sky du Mont : When you work with Kubrick you learn your lines but don't set your mind too much on how you will play the part. Usually he wanted it completely different. Nicole Kidman, Kubrick and I rehearsed like on stage. Everybody had to leave the studio - we were alone and had all the time we needed.

What was the most important thing you learned as an actor from this movie and from Kubrick?

Sky du Mont : It is very seldom that in live one meets a Genius... Kubrick was a Genius. He was a director who listened to his actors and was not so arrogant to imply his will.

You seem to take a lot of pleasure shooting comedies. We could not imagine someone else than you as Santa Maria, the bad guy of Manitou's Shoe (2001) and you are fantastic as William The Last, and - again - Santa Maria, in Dreamship Surprise (2004).

How did this collaboration with Michael Herbig start?

Sky du Mont : He offered me the part and I said I wouldn't play it because all the jokes were on his side. When we agreed that I could play Santa Maria as a bad guy that does not take himself serious, with sense of humour, I agreed to play the part.< Herbig gives evidence of a true love for cinema as a director...

Sky du Mont : Bully is a great director and became a great friend.

What does attract you in comedies like Samba in Mettman?

Sky du Mont : In Samba... I could change completely, a wonderful chance for any actor. I love comedies because they are the most difficult in our profession.

Your first novel, Prinz und Paparazzi has been adapted for television with you as the main character and as co-writer. Can you talk to us about the book and his adaptation?

Sky du Mont : That was hard work because the ZDF wanted absolutely no conflicts in the script. People are difficult, they do have problems... so I wasn't quite happy with the film. My second novel is different, closer to reality.

You are familiar of the exercise consiting in using your voice as sole instrument of your acting work, sometimes for public lectures (Die Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers, Felix Krull, Handbuch des Aufsteigers...) or for video games (EverQuest II).

What interests you in this vocal work?

Sky du Mont : The voice is an important instrument of an actor. Lectures are a bit like being on stage, with the audience... but with less work and more money (laugh).

Actor, talk-show moderator, novelist, writer, voice artist... After your singing numbers as Santa Maria could you play in a musical?

Sky du Mont : No. I have been offered the part of Professor Higgins in My fair lady but that is something I will not do. Don't even ask me why, I have no idea.

On what are you working currently? Would you like to go back to Theatre?

Sky du Mont : No again. Theatre takes up too much time and leaves me me with so little time for all the things I like to do like... actor, talk-show moderator, novelist, writer, voice artist, etc.

At the moment I am writing the script of a thriller for television and will start shooting a movie for children in August.

(Interview done in 2005)

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