MI6 caught up with German actor Clemens Schick,
who played Le Chiffre's quiet but threatening
henchman Kratt in "Casino Royale"...
Clemens Schick Interview
26th April 2008
Could you tell us how you got starting
in the acting business and did you ever consider another
I started acting when I was at school: my passion started
in an after-school drama class. After I graduated from
high school I went to drama school and everything took
its course. My drama course was halted, for a year, as
I considered entering a Franciscans’ monastery. I
wanted to become a monk and lived there for 7 months. Unfortunately
it didn’t work out. However, I am very happy with
my profession and my life as it is today.
How did you win your role as Kratt in “Casino Royale”?
first international part was in “Duel – Enemy
at the Gates” – for this I was cast by Annette
Borgman, in Germany. Casting Director for the Bond-production
Debbie McWilliams asked Annette for suggestions for certain
parts in “Casino Royale”. So, this is how I
was invited to the casting.
At that time I was rehearsing for Shakespeare’s “Richard
the Third”, in which I played the title character. The
rehearsals had worn me out. So I was pretty relaxed at the casting.
Debbie McWilliams is a very delightful person and I had a lot
fun working together with her in the casting sessions.
What initially attracted you to the henchman role and what expectations
or reservations did you have taking on the role?
First of all
it was a dream to be part of a James Bond production; no matter
which part. Being able to act with Daniel
Mads Mikkelsen was tremendous.
I liked the part of Kratt a lot. He supports Le Chiffre’s
part. Le Chiffre's the boss, Kratt does the dirty business. Kratt
is always in the background, while
always being a little scary and threatening.
What locations did you visit during the course of filming and
how much of it was shot in the studios?
on the shoot in the Bahamas, spent a long time in Prague and finally
was in London. I would say two thirds of my
time I worked in a studio.
Above: Clemens Schick's character
Kratt looks on during a cut scene from "Casino Royale"
where Le Chiffre gives Dimitrios
torn card - a sign of silent recognition among conspirators
and spies who have never before met. Unlike code words
or other signals, a torn playing card is a unique identifier
and cannot be easily mimicked by an enemy. Each torn
half has only one match.
Did you work to develop your character during
production of “Casino
Royale” and how did your role change throughout shooting?
In January 2006 I met Barbara Broccoli, Martin Campbell and Lindy Hemming in
Prague in order to talk about my part. I showed them a picture of me with a shaven
head. All three were enthusiastic about it and right away knew: this is Kratt.
This is how it all started. I arrived on the Bahamas set with my long hair and
came home bald. At that time we were deep in winter in Berlin, so it was quite
shocking without any hair. All this is only external, but was essential for the
On the Bond picture you would have worked
most closely with Mads Mikkelsen – how did you enjoy
your scenes together and what is he like off-camera?
Mads Mikkelsen is a great colleague.
We nearly had all shooting-days together, as we are in many scenes
together. For me the work
on a set that big was new, indeed. But with Mads’ relaxed
and friendly personality I quickly got rid of my timidity.
What are some of the working differences
between a Bond production, aside from budget, and smaller independent
performed in and which is most rewarding?
What is crucial for
work in a movie doesn’t depend on
whether it’s Bond or a student’s production – something
I did directly after Bond. We always have a camera, director
and actors and we all want to tell a story together. This is
the main thing.
And after that comes the budget and all the resulting possibilities.
The essence, however, remains the same.
Above: Mads Mikkelsen, Veruschka
von Lehndorff, Clemens
Schick, Ludger Pistor and Juergen Tarrach at the German
premiere of "Casino Royale"
Have you made any connections through your work on Bond and
are you actively pursuing further Hollywood jobs?
On a set that
big you get to know many people, obviously. To talk about new
projects at the moment is far too early. The only
thing I do know, however, is that I want to continue to work
internationally – in Europe as well as in the United States.
Which premieres did you attend, and did
you participate in any other publicity events?
the premiere in London and Berlin. Both were very exciting. In
London, the presence of the Queen, the Marching-In
of the Queen’s Guard into the cinema, the National Anthem,
and of course the party afterwards. All this I will never forget.
In Berlin I arrived on the red carpet at quarter past seven,
at five to eight I reached at the end of the carpet, five past
eight I was on stage, in theatre and acted and after my last
scene I rushed back to the cinema. I won’t forget this
How do you feel that your work on “Casino Royale” has
propelled your career?
Through Casino Royale I have gained a popularity
in Germany I didn’t have before. This is a considerable
advantage. My career was going very well before Bond, especially
As far as the film business is concerned, after Bond happened
I have gained quite a bit more experience and work.
What is Martin Campbell like as a filmmaker
and what was your working relationship like?
Campbell guides such a big team in an incredibly relaxed
way. He tells you exactly what he wants and cooperates
closely with the actor. I personally appreciate this. Besides
he never lost his humour, although it was quite stressful
sometimes. Together with Daniel Craig and Barbara Broccoli,
he always managed to create a great atmosphere on the set.
Would you consider yourself a Bond fan and which of the
Bond films, if any, do you particularly enjoy?
I grew up
with Bond. Bond was part of my life. I have never been
a fanatical fan. Not really. But I have watched
every single Bond-film. After “Casino Royale” there
is no other favourite Bond for me anymore. And this won’t
Were you pleased with the final outcome of the film and
how do you feel the film developed from your initial expectations?
am very impressed with “Casino Royale” and
just can’t wait to see the new one with Daniel Craig.
I never had any specific expectations of how the film would
look. The only thing I know is that I have always been
a fan of Daniel, even before we all knew he would be the
new James Bond.
von Lehndorff, Clemens
Schick, and Juergen Tarrach at the German premiere
of "Casino Royale" held on 21st
November 2006 at Sony Center in Berlin.
You’ve worked on several high-profile stage productions
during your career – how does working onstage differ
to your work in front of the camera?
I have the feeling that my 10 years experience on stage have
been the best training for me to work on the set. The main difference
is the size of the space I have to play for. In a theatre I act
in front of 600 people or more, they can be located 25 seat-rows
away from me. The film camera is like the audience in the first
row. Thus I can use my craft in a totally different way. Both situations
are as attractive: the big game on stage as well as the small gesture
in front of
You studied at the Berlin School of Acting, do you have any
fond memories of you studies there are what was the most valuable
thing you learnt from your education?
Going to a private drama school in Germany doesn’t have
the same reputation as studying in a public school. In Berlin
there are two very famous public acting
schools, which both rejected my application. This makes it more difficult to
get started after graduation, as private schools, unfortunately, are not respected
in the same way. In addition to this, I worked as a waiter up to three nights
a week in order to earn the money for the school fees. I was quite relieved when
I had finished school and I could start working in theatre. Nevertheless, I had
excellent teachers, whom I owe a lot.
Can you tell us about your one-man stage
show “Windows” -
what it’s about and how you conceived the production?
show is about an hour and a half long. I am on stage, all by myself.
No music. No video-projection. Nothing. Just me. This night is
a mixture of stand-up-comedy, performance and theatre. At the beginning
there was a text written by the German
author Matthias Grefrath. I have handled this text in a very
independent way. Up to now there is no fixed version of the show.
Each performance, therefore, turns out to be different. I have
performed this show in the States, in English, and this was a
big challenge for me, which I enjoyed a lot.
What other projects are you currently working
on and where can people see you next?
At the moment I am acting at the State Theatre in Hannover, as
as in Berlin at Schaubühne and my Solo-night at
Sophien-Sälen. In addition there will be a new crime season
I am the main character Marco Lorenz. It started mid-April,
each Wednesday, at 8.15h on Pro7. All my new events are listed
on my website:
Royale" Movie Coverage
Many thanks to Clemens Schick