The Citizen (KZN)

Lagerfeld ‘walked like a matador’ – actor


Daniel Bruhl has the role of a lifetime as one of fashion’s most iconic designers in Becoming Karl Lagerfeld. He literally had to walk in the man’s shoes to nail it.

The show, which comes to Disney+ in June, follows the ponytailed couturier, whose icecold wit and groundbrea­king designs for the likes of Fendi and Chanel made him a paragon of fashion up to his death at 85 in 2019.

Bruhl, 45, known from hits including Good Bye, Lenin!, Rush and Inglouriou­s Basterds, said he had never invested so much “time, energy, passion and love” into a character.

“He fascinated not only us Germans, but everyone in the world.

“The big question was always: who is that funny, clever, intellectu­al man really behind that facade?”

Bruhl is a polyglot, having grown up with a Spanish mother, German father and French aunts. That was crucial for a role delivered entirely in French.

Lagerfeld made his home in Paris, much to the chagrin of his native Hamburg.

“Of course the Germans were a little pissed that he left, but despite the arrogance and the jokes he made about Germany, we Germans still loved him,” said Bruhl.

The actor was actually photograph­ed once by Lagerfeld.

“I will never forget that – his intelligen­t eyes looking through the lens and how nervous I was being observed by him.”

Bruhl saw the danger of turning Lagerfeld into a “funny caricature”. He did his best to emulate Lagerfeld’s extreme aesthete tastes – re-reading Proust and romantic poetry and watching classic films that he loved like Les Enfants du Paradis.

“I tried my best... but the furniture, the posters, the photograph­s, the paintings, the books... to be such a perfection­ist in aesthetics is something I absolutely share but obviously I’m useless in comparison,” he said. Preparing for the role meant hours of speaking to himself in French on walks around his countrysid­e home. “There were only sheep and donkeys looking at me trying to be Karl Lagerfeld, and that was very comforting because I saw in their eyes that they believed it,” he joked.

The real breakthrou­gh came when he saw the costumes.

“I thought: Jesus Christ these are so much fun to wear!”

Lagerfeld’s platform boots were a “eureka moment”.

“I was thinking of flamenco and bullfighte­rs – my grandfathe­r was big into bullfighti­ng...

“When I see Karl Lagerfeld walk, I always think of a matador,” said Bruhl.

“That femininity and masculinit­y of the matador... I always had this ‘Ole!’ moment before a take that gave me the right tension between pride and strength but also tenderness and elegance.”

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld premieres at the Cannes Series TV festival in April, and will be released on Disney+ on 7 June. –

 ?? Picture: AFP ?? IN HIS SHOES. Daniel Bruhl plays the young fashion designer.
Picture: AFP IN HIS SHOES. Daniel Bruhl plays the young fashion designer.

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