“A power woman”: Anna Schudt on her new role in Das Boot: Season Three
The third season of award-winning show Das Boot continues to bring to life some of the events of the Second World War. The historical drama is based on the book with the same name written in 1973 by Lothar-Gunther Bucheim and is split between two narratives: one set at sea around the German U-boat U-612 and the other on land. The story follows the ongoing conflict, claustrophobic conditions and the human interest that surrounds these historical events.
With filming taking place on location in Malta, this ten-part series took 104 days to complete. The entire project was shot in 8K with a Dolby Atmos soundscape and features a huge ensemble of both returning and new cast members.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking with series newcomer and Emmy award-winner Anna Schudt about her role in the series, reuniting with her co-star Rik Okon, and some of the more memorable moments on set.
Congratulations on your role in Das Boot! Being a newcomer to the series, can you tell us a bit about what drew you to this particular role?
I would say she’s kind of a power woman; she does everything her own special way and is overwhelmed with men. She is one of those characters, and I guess she’s a really powerful woman because she’s not too much involved with the world and she’s not suffering. She takes her advantages, and she thinks she deserves the best she can get. So she takes the money from her husband and they have a special deal within their marriage. Then she takes the man she likes. So she is kind of emancipated, and I really love the character because she’s so powerful and so strong.
What is your journey in this series and how did you prepare for it? Did you read the original book or watch the last two seasons?
I have a special kind way of preparing for every role, for every character I have played. There’s methods I work with and coaches I work with too. Of course, I watched the first and the second season and I talked a lot to the directors about what they are expecting. The Second World War is relevant for us here always, so I didn’t have to read books about the Third Reich as I knew what was going on.
You’ve previously worked with Rick Okon on Tatort (Jan Pawlak) – what was it like to join him again and this time work with such a stellar cast?
Working with Rick is always a pleasure. He’s such a kind and talented person and to see him in a completely different costume was so much fun. It was very special and I really loved it. He was used to the set. He knew what he would use to be serious, so he could help me a lot and It was a pleasure to work with him again.
The series truly brings the reality of the Second World War to life with its parallel storylines. How real did the set feel for you? The costumes, the attention to detail?
Well, the costume and the makeup department did amazing work. The first time I was there I was absolutely delighted and shocked to have these absolute pros do this for me. I found myself in these costumes and with this hat and everything and I was paralysed with happiness. I loved it. Sometimes it takes a long time – I was sat there at three o’clock in the morning to have my hair done and everything, but in the end it was worth it. We were shooting in Malta, and in Germany everything was completely locked down, and I think the UK was too, and so we were there together and nobody could fly away – so we had a really special time in a bubble because nobody could go away. Malta is so special, everything is beige or tan with really amazing, beautiful towns. I was grateful to be there with everyone.
What were some of the more memorable moments on set?
Well, the first thing we were shooting was the sexy scene with Tom and that was special because I didn’t know anybody so I just kind of had to jump in. But then the worst was over and then I could just enjoy the rest of the filming. Fortunately, I knew Tom, so that was cool.
It’s not just a series about war, is it? There’s a lot of human interest too, particularly with women and some explicit scenes. How did you feel about taking that on?
I loved it! Because if you’re not a reactive character, if you’re an active character, everything is easier because you decide what to do and you have your say where you can say, “Do that, don’t do that” – so that’s much easier than being seduced by somebody and hesitating. No… straight on to the goal! That was easy. It was fun.
The viewer is taken on a really compelling journey – what do you think gives it such international appeal?
I think this is perspective. You can tell so many stories in the series and there are so many stories around the world with this war, and I never saw anything like this before because most of the time you tell one story from one perspective – and here you can tell a lot with five stories in the same role and I think that’s interesting. There are so many films about the Second World War and it was such a tragedy for so many people. It was such a crime and although our parents’ generation did not live in the war, their parents did. So it doesn’t feel that it’s so far away. You can have overall perspective; it’s inside of us still, but it’s far enough away to tell different stories.
After playing Commissioner Martina Bönisch in Tatort for ten years and appearing in the spy thriller Algiers Confidential it must be nice to explore other character roles. What kind of challenges are you looking for next and what do you feel most drawn to?
I love the historical characters. I love to play something like the favourite, or I love to play mystery roles. I love to read something and, if it’s good, I always think, “Okay, I would want to do this” – and the other characters as well, because I always discover something interesting. I am so grateful for this job because I do love it so much and it’s never boring. For me. It’s always exciting, and I‘m excited to meet new people. I’m excited for my colleagues and for the new directors and where we are going to shoot.
Will we be lucky enough to see you return for season four?
You will. I know it for sure.
Das Boot: Season Three is released on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW on 15th May 2022.
Watch the trailer for Das Boot here: