The Austrian actor Julian Weigend is best known for his roles in In aller Freundschaft, Schimanski, SOKO and Lammbock. He speaks to Discover Germany, Austria & Switzerland about playing Dr. Kai Hoffmann, the love he has for his home country and much more.
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | PHOTO © ANNA COTT
You were born in Austria’s Graz and currently live in Berlin. What’s the most beautiful thing about this city? Why is Berlin your chosen home and what do you miss about Austria?
J. Weigend: Graz is my hometown but in 1992, right after my acting training, I went to Germany for my first theatre job. Back then, it was obvious to put the focus on Berlin because I was able to find everything there that I needed for my professional progress – especially for the first few years. Berlin simply offers unbelievable possibilities, especially for artists. I sometimes do, however, miss the lived cosiness and laid-back nature that we have in Austria, as well as our sense for the culinary and our maintenance of culture and traditions. An example of this: the closure of Berlin’s Schiller Theatre at the beginning of the ‘90s wouldn’t have happened in cultural cities like Vienna, Salzburg or Graz. Before a theatre gets closed in Austria, I think the parliament would be fired first.
How did you become an actor? Why is this your dream profession?
J. Weigend: I had my first acting experiences at the classical school theatre, but back then, I didn’t know that this would actually become my profession in the future. I only knew that I really enjoyed it. But when an actor from Graz’s threatre saw me in a play at school and drew attention to my potential, I decided to try and get into acting school. Today, I would do exactly the same again. It’s such an exciting, versatile and privileged profession. No day is like any other and there are always new challenges or development possibilities – that’s exactly what I love about this job.
In aller Freundschaft, Schimanski, SOKO, Lammbock and many more – you’ve already been seen in a lot of series and films. Which shoot do you remember most and why?
J. Weigend: Each shoot has been a great experience in itself so far, and I really can’t say that I have ever regretted one day of shooting. Every small role holds huge possibilities to learn something substantial. Working with Götz George on Schimanski for 13 years was, however, very special. It really coined my development and I won’t ever forget these special moments.
At the moment, you play the head doctor in the popular ARD series In aller Freundschaft. What do you love so much about this role?
J. Weigend: I love playing this clear, straight-forward character that is also very hurt in a way. Dr. Kai Hoffmann is a multilayered character – a great task because the medical factors are also very interesting. In each episode I learn new skills and sometimes it feels like I need to ride a bike, run and swim at the same time.
If you aren’t in front of the camera, how do you like to spend your free time?
J. Weigend: I try to get my head clear whenever possible. Sport is a good way to achieve that but I also love reading cook books or taking the dogs to the forest with my wife and simply being and enjoying without any time pressure or focus on any professional thoughts. When I’m back in Austria, I love spending time in its beautiful nature and mountain world. I go climbing with my brother and dad and I love doing some woodwork with either the axe or power saw. This really brings you back down and also gives me power to focus on future professional tasks.
What else is planned for 2020? Is there any news which we should know about?
J. Weigend: I hope that the next year will be as positive as this one. I’m looking forward to working with the great colleagues of Freundschaft yet again, can’t wait for the new, exciting and challenging projects which are planned, and look forward to spending more time with my wife and family. I’d also love to go on another nice trip – preferably to a forest somewhere… maybe to Alaska or Canada?
You’ve already achieved a lot in your life. What other dreams and wishes do you still have?
J. Weigend: I still have a lot planned and have many more dreams and goals in my life, but there shouldn’t be any pressure or anything forced. I have learned and experienced that you can’t ever force anything and that you should trust more. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have dreams or wishes – quite the contrary. They are really important and really keep pushing you forward.
If you want to see Julian Weigend on screen, be sure to watch Steirerkreuz:
– 12 December (ARD)
– 3 December (ORF)