First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
Hi Mike, thanks for having me! Sure. So, my name is Aljosha Horvat,
I’m an actor. I’ve acted in Alarm für Cobra 11, which is a German
action TV show that’s aired all over the world. Americans know it from
the network V-me. I was also in Leipzig Homicide and
I’m also known for acting in Ein Dorf Schweigt, Still, Alles Bleibt in
der Familie, and Justine.
Very basic question, what drew
you to acting in the first place?
(chuckles) That’s a
good question. I’ve always been drawn to stories and acting always
seemed to me like the most grand way to tell stories - it’s what creates
the most convincing illusion that the story the audience experiences is
actually real, compared to reading or being told a story. Also, my mother
used to work as an actress which definitely was conducive for deciding to
go down that road.
As far as I know, you
started your acting career comparatively early in your life with the movie
Beautiful Bitch - so do talk about that movie for a bit, and your
early on-set experiences!
That’s right, I first started out with Beautiful Bitch, which was
kind of my “big break”. I was 14 when I auditioned. That was my
first film and it was a big role, at the center of the action. The
film was about Romanian child thieves that were taken from the streets
in Bucharest and brought to Düsseldorf, where they were trained how
to steal like pros. It was a pretty intense story and a super intense
part to play, especially for a 15 year old. I auditioned at 14 but we
shot in the summer of 2006 - I was 15 by then. The boy I played,
Constantin Mitulescu, that was my part, was 14 and had a history of
substance abuse. He would sniffle glue and varnish. So that was pretty
intense to play for me, having been brought up as a privileged white
kid in a good neighborhood and art-oriented school… Especially in Düsseldorf,
which is this very immaculate city, even by German standards. I
really had never been in touch with this kind of severe poverty and
hopelessness in kids my age, so that was a culture shock. But I
appreciate the education in worldliness working on this movie gave me
very much in hindsight.
I most remember about the character how angry he was. He just felt so
screwed… and to powerless to change his
situation. Which forced him even deeper into his addiction. I
remember, make-up had to apply this silver paint to my fingers and
mouth every morning because I was supposed to look like I was smelling
at this silver varnish all day long…
In Beautiful Bitch I also had my first closed-set scene. That’s when only
those teammembers are on set that are absolutely essential. It’s a
euphemism for sex-scene. In this case it was just me jerking off under
the covers. But since I was just 15 and minors doing anything remotely
sexual on screen is always kind of iffy, they had to do this carefully
and give me a lot of space.
What can you tell us about
your actual training as an actor?
(laughs) Believe it or not, I did start young but I also
received training. At the William Esper Studio in New York, under William
Esper. He was voted best acting teacher in New York twice by the industry
Do talk about your acting career in Germany for a bit, and how did
you evolve as an actor over the years?
Beautiful Bitch was shown at Berlinale and at many festivals around the
world, it won the price of the jury at Santa Barbara International Film
Festival and then was picked up by a distributor and theatrically
released all over Germany in the CinemaXX theatre franchise, which is
like AMC and Regals in America.
Ein Dorf Schweigt
Beautiful Bitch, I was offered a lot of parts for a lot of pretty
accomplished European shows. The first thing after
Beautiful Bitch, I think, was Alarm
für Cobra11. That was a pretty sweet gig. The first time I did an
action production. I played this kind of innocent kid with a heart
disease that finds out that his mother is planning on killing a woman to
get that new heart for him. On the way the two deal with a lot of car
chases and shoot outs and all that good stuff. That episode I acted in
was the season opener, we had almost 20% viewership that night. That
episode cost over a million Euros to produce… I was tied to a
wheelchair the entire time, but I tell you… Even filming it felt like
I also worked on Ein Dorf Schweigt, which was set in 1945 just after
World War two. Completely different to Alarm
für Cobra11. I played a denunciator.
That is someone who tells on a soldier that deserted the war. Back then
you got the bullet for deserting. It was a super interesting part, cause
I got to play guilt. Actors love that. Or maybe it’s just me. I love
playing guilty. In extension, by denunciating, I had killed that other
soldier. In the story, I was hiding just outside our village after an
explosion that left me presumed dead. Only I wasn’t dead; my mother
just staged it that way. She was hiding me until I could escape to
America (denunciators were presumed Nazis and heavily interrogated by
the G.I.s). This film was nominated for best German TV film of 2009
together with only the 8 other best films of the year. That was such an
Later, I did Soko Leipzig, where I played a murderer. Super cool! I was
18 at that time and my character only 16. The show was about this boy
that was living in his parents house, but on the weekends the parents
would host swinger-parties in the basement. And my character would
install web cams in the basement to kind of spy on all the patrons.
However, he fell in love with one of the females… It was her body that
was found at the beginning of the episode and that the whole story was
about. My character had confessed his undying love to her but she had
refused him. And my character killed her. A very volatile young man.
That was also interesting to play, since volatility is rather removed
In the same year, I had another lead in another WWII drama. Still, which
was produced by German Film Award winner Lars Kraume and producer and acting
legend Jürgen Vogel. I played the oldest of 5 children that had to keep
the group together and hide from German soldiers. It was a film about
how far you go and what you are capable of under extrem pressure. That,
also, was really educative about the human soul in general. There was a
scene where one of the younger boys started to uncontrollably cough at a
moment when we all had to keep very quiet since we were in ear-shot from
soldiers. In the scene I put my hand on his mouth to keep him quiet, but
so frantically that I don’t see that I am suffocating him. And I
accidentally kill the boy. But it’s these extreme and psychologically
deep characters that make acting the most fun.
In 2010 I had the lead in the season opener of Soko Kitzbühel. Boy, my
first day on that set is definitely among the toughest days I’ve ever
had on any set. The crew and the directer were incredibly gifted and
accommodating and everyone was so kind. But sometimes days can still
become very full simply for scheduling reasons. That day, anyhow,
besides that we just had to shoot a huge amount of scenes, much of it
had to be done in deep snow. It was so cold, I can’t even - my partner
and I had to “happily play in and with the snow”. I couldn’t feel
my feet, couldn’t feel my hands, my face, I was just one ball of pain.
They had to do these 15-minute breaks just for me so I could warm up
with two assistants blowing hot air from blow driers on my extremities!
Man, I’m kind of a baby when it comes to cold weather. I think that
has to do with my Croatian side. I was sick for two weeks after this.
But yeah, I loved Soko Kitzbühel. Fun fact: I had the lead but I
didn’t have one line of dialogue. That’s cause my character was
mute. That was pretty interesting to play - such a big part but no words
to communicate with.
have moved to the USA - to ask quite bluntly, why?
Expanding my reach to the US really came quite naturally. Many of my
earlier, Europe-produced projects were international to begin with, so I
did have a presence in the US. Then I was offered to make Justine, a
movie about the heroine going by the same name. I accepted and the film
became a success, so more offers kept coming.
Justine was the first time I wore women’s clothes on screen. It was
the first time I acted a female character. It’s a completely different
kind of acting challenge. I worked with a very insightful and patient
directer - Eric Shahinian. Although we didn’t have much time to shoot
he gave me all the time I needed. And with some takes I did need a lot
of time. It wasn’t only playing a woman - it was also playing an
American for the first time that proofed difficult. But Eric and the
entire team couldn’t have been more professional in giving me what I
on your experience, how does the film business in the USA compare to
The US are faster paced. Often you
audition for a project only days before the first day of shooting.
That’s different in Germany, where you’re called in to audition often
months before a project starts.
As an immigrant, how easy or hard
is it to score roles in American movies, actually?
In terms of how hard is it to get parts in the US as a
foreign actor I can tell you it’s the same as it’s everywhere in the
world. You either get called in to audition or are offered a part
outright. In the beginning in can be a little daunting, because the US are
so prestigious when it comes to their entertainment industry. But really
the work you have to do is the same
current or future projects you'd like to talk about?
please all tune in to the second season of Super Wings on Sprout network!
I play Felix!
would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
There are no hard and fast
rules for acting. You just have to go with what feels right. I understand
this isn’t really fruitful advice for aspiring actors (laughs) but then
again I’m an actor and not a teacher. Teaching how to act is an art in
itself which I have great respect for.
Actors (and indeed
actresses) who inspire you?
Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater,
Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle,
Ralph Finess in Quiz Show.
Your favourite movies?
La La Land (by Damien Chazelle),
The Graduate (by your name pal Mike Nichols),
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (by John Huston), Manhattan
Murder Mystery (by Woody Allen), Up in the Air (by Jason Reitman),
Good Bye Lenin! (by Wolfgang Becker).
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I wouldn’t say I
hold grudges against any movies. There are some films I’m just not that
interested in. But generally speaking, there is so much work going into
making a single film, done by so many different people, that no movie
deserves contempt. I can almost always find something I like about a
Facebook, whatever else?
I don’t have a website and I do try to keep my personal Facebook
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
for having, it was a pleasure.