Radio interview on Austrian station Ö1

by February 23, 2013 About Christoph Waltz

Shortly before the Oscars, interviewer Hannelore Veit from the Austrian radio station “Ö1” has met Mr. Waltz in L.A. for an interview. The interview comes in German. Mr. Waltz talks, among other topics, about the upcoming Oscar night, Austria, an old outstanding account, working with Tarantino and his upcoming projects. You can listen to the interview on the Ö1 website.

Kurz vor den Oscars hat Hannelore Veit von Radio Ö1 Herr Waltz zu einem Interview in L.A. getroffen. Themen sind u.a. die bevorstehende Oscarnacht, Österreich, eine alte offene Rechnung, Arbeiten mit Tarantino und kommende Projekte. Ihr könnt Euch das Interview auf der Ö1 website anhören.

Profile photo of karen alwaysthesea Karen February 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thanks for posting this–I listened to the whole thing. And let’s be honest, after only three hours of German study, I understood about one word in 500. Nonetheless, it’s lovely to just listen to his voice, and to hear him speaking German.

I just wish his voice was the one used in my German lessons.

Profile photo of stephanie steph February 23, 2013 at 10:21 am

Can someone do a translation for those who don’t speak German ?

claudia February 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

That is a very good interview with good questions and even better answers, obviously. I already translated about five minutes which took me half an hour and then it got to a political topic and I gave up in order to get finished listening to it. I will try to finish the translation, though, I just don’t have enough time at the moment. If nobody else does it I will probably do it tomorrow. But it’s a very bad translation because I’m a 15 year old austrian and suck at english, and because both of them often use austrian sayings I have no idea how to translate (“der würschtelt da nicht rum” Christoph please).
So, anyways, I will try my best :)

Profile photo of Kelley (Sacher) Kelley (Sacher) February 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Claudia I really appreciate your effort! Even if it’s rough, I can clean up the English for you. Thank you!

Profile photo of Ghost Ghost February 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Thank you very much for your effort! 😀

Alina February 23, 2013 at 5:08 pm

He says that his home is Vienna (like to hear that as a fellow citizen).
He says he is there only a few days during the year, right now he lives mostly there where his work is leading him and thats not very easy for him. He says he was born there, grew up in vienna, went to school, studied, started his career. All that makes a human happened to him here. He has his german passport because his father was german, and as he was born , nobody did ask him what he wants to be (CW giggles).He says that he is first and last viennese.
Interviewer counts his awards and mentions his second oscar nomination, she mentions all the big US Talkshows he visited. SNL, Charly Rose. Then she asks if this all doesnt feel sureal to him sometimes.
CW says: Hmmyeah but it actually seems to really happen ( i giggled) but he finds it good that he isnt 25 anymore, because then it would seem like normality to him. (He says it way more spohisticated, but hell i am not christoph).
The fact that he became a worldwide star over night is a pleasure for him, also because one producer once told him “That Waltz guy is only good for little roles, playing wacky people.” Christoph never forgot that and he enjoys how he proved them wrong. Now there are doors open for him, that he never knew existet.
Then he describes his work with Tarantino as the perfect Symbiosis. He desribes (as so often before) how he read the script for the first time and that Tarantino made it clear that the role of King Schultz was written for Waltz only.

*He said he became actor out of lack of vision for something else, he had no better idea what to do. There was a time when he wanted to became cameraman,since he is fascinated
by the technology.
He tried often to do his own projects as a Director, mostly never happend out of bureaucracy.
He says the movie, where he is supposed to play Michael Gorbatschow has financial problems right now, maybe it will neber be done. Negotiations are ongoing.

OK i stop here. its getting a bit more complicated now. The subject about racism in modern USA needs a good translation and not such a slobby one. maybe someone else can go on, or i will do it when i have more time.

Alicia February 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I enjoyed your translation, Alina, and appreciate that you shared it. I think it would be difficult to translate for Mr. Waltz because of his facility with language.

claudia February 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

i have finished the translation now i hope it’s good enough to understand all the points
also christoph has a very pretty language

I: Christoph Waltz, we’re sitting here at Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, you’re commuting between Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Vienna, where is your home?
C: That is a good question. I’m at home in Vienna, but I’m almost never there, about 2 or 3 days a year. I’m often in Berlin, or used to be, now I mostly am where I’m working and that isn’t always too easy to manage.
I: Still, you’ve only been Austrian for a few years, you’ve almost been forced to take the citizenship.
C: I’m an Austrian with all my soul, I was born, grew up, went to school, studied in Vienna, my career began there, I experienced everything that makes a man out of you in Vienna. The only reason I always had a German passport is that my father was German and when I was born, no one was asked what he wants to be, you were what your father was and that’s it.
I: Let’s get to your job, you are an actor, the second Oscar is ahead of you, you won the Golden Globe, you won the BAFTA award, you are in many big American talk shows, you just had a much noted appearance at Saturday Night Life, you were the first German speaking host of the show, doesn’t that all sometimes appear a little surreal to you?
C: Well, I mean, it all appears to be happening, but I wouldn’t say it is a solid reality. I am lucky that I’m not 25 years old anymore, because then I would mistake this with an accepted status quo, which it isn’t.
I: You have gotten to your best in two Tarantino-Movies, can you tell us, how it got to your collaboration?
C: I would say it got to the second collaboration because the first one had such success. Tarantino doesn’t take that easily either, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. If it does, though, there is no reason to not do it again.
I: But this time you were involved in the script very early.
C: Not really, I just got to see it very early. I would never want to get involved in that, because I’m interested in what he writes. If I want to do my own stories, I write something myself.
I: When you read the script, did you have the feeling it was written for you?
C: Yes, that was from the beginning on and it was never supposed to be hidden.
I: Would you say you influenced him? Did you read it, give comments, …?
C: I avoid that, others like to do that, but I’m interested in his ideas. I have the most fun with getting things which other people think of to function.
I: Does Quentin Tarantino need Christoph Waltz? Does Christoph Waltz need Quentin Tarantino?
C: I don’t know that but what I find important is that it works out this well because of specific reasons. He needs what I can give him and I want to use what I can give him that way he gets what he needs and if that works out perfectly – what better can there be?
I: The perfect symbiosis?
C: You could say that, yes.
I: Django Unchained has the big topic of slavery, do you, as an observer of the American society, see a kind of history-remembrance in the arts?
C: I noticed something during the past few years, what really surprised me. What we call entertainment and what is here seen as entertainment are two different things. Entertainment in the USA has a cultural weight that ours doesn’t have at all. The culture is defined by entertainment. For us, entertainment is a part of it, here it is the definition of the culture and the discourse.
I: Is there still racism in the american society in the year 2013, is that noticeable?
C: For me it’s not that noticeable because I don’t have a trained eye for it. I would for example also claim that there’s racism in Austria, as well, and I don’t observe it because it – thank god – doesn’t exist in my consciousness. You first of all see what you know, what you are familiar with. And because I am, luckily and thank god, not familiar with it, I don’t notice it immediately, so I have to rationally analyse it, first, and then you can discover many things, but you can also, as everywhere and always, construct many things, specifically with such a topic. And that is a thing I keenly observe, how much of racism actually is an assertion, which thereby turns into racism. And I also think that the inverted racism is an interesting matter.
I: What do you mean by that?
C: I mean the political correctness, that goes so far it basically goes back in by it’s backdoor.
I: Are you interested in Austrian politics?
C: Yes, I mean I don’t catch a lot, because that is kind of difficult for me, I would have to have the papers brought to me… of course you can read it all on the internet but I don’t do that as often as I should.
I: Do you want to comment on it?
C: No.
I: Let’s go back to the person, Christoph Waltz, during your acceptance speech in Cannes 2009 you said, in the direction of Quentin Tarantino, „You gave me back my vocation“. What do you mean by that?
C: Not the job, but the vocation. In the course of your working life you sometimes kind of lose your vocation. If you are involved in the making that doesn’t require of you what initially was the reason you wanted to do that job, then it turns into a sort of boring and frustrating matter. And I was knee-deep in that.
I: Have you always wanted to become and actor?
C: No, not at all. I think I became an actor due to lack of fantasy, because I couldn’t think of anything better.
I: You have in the beginning also played in theater, there are many Hollywood Stars who go to Broadway, Scarlett Johansson plays Tennessee Williams on Broadway at the moment, does theater still tempt you?
C: To be honest, I have never really believed in the medium itself. The film has always been my main interest, as well because I was so interested in the technology. Before I became an actor, I wanted to be a camera man. The film is the most fascinating medium for me and I want to do as much with it as possible.
I: Now the Austrian film has a sort of Renaissance, there are very good movies, there are movies which get awards, can you imagine taking part in an Austrian movie again?
C: Yes, of course, why not? There is no reason at all to not want to. If it’s the right thing at the right time with the right people, then of course.
I: You have also directed, you have started a project, how does it look with that project, is it coming next?
C: No, unfortunately it is not coming next. I have started many projects – and that reminds of what I described as „knee-deep in frustration“ before – that all were more or less closed down due to things I don’t really understand, basically due to bureaucracy.
I: What is the next project?
C: That is once again such an uncertain case, if the movie can be finfanced or not, because that’s mainly the problem.
I: You are now talking about the movie Reykjavik , where you play Gorbachev.
C: Yes.
I: You were, until you got your Oscar, an actor who had many roles, but I would say you were only known to a little circle in Austria [and Germany let’s not forget dear interviewer] and then you basically turned into a big star, a showpiece Austrian, over night. What do you think about that? Does that make you happy or does it annoy you a little?
C: Of course it makes me happy but I have to say that sometimes – and not very rarely – I can feel that it fills me with a sort of satisfaction that I could escape that all. I envy nobody who is kind of stuck in the German television set, as I was, to make a living. And I actually was privileged. I could do a lot of good things, still I always had the feeling: yeaaaaah I’m kind of… how do I say that… yeaaah okay. There was also a producer once who said, as a befriended director of mine who always supported me had suggested me for a role, „Well, this Waltz, for a wacky minor part, maybe.“ I have not forgotten that. [hin in his voice] I have this little open account and I’m settling it in my way now and I have to say it is good for me.
I: How did your Oscar change your life?
C: A lot. Probably not the Oscar itself, but everything that had led to the Oscar and led away from it.
I: How?
C: All the doors are opened for me. I mean, before I hadn’t even seen the door, let alone felt that it was closed. I am known, I can – and I often use that – there are many old people of the film here whom I admire. I just call them and say „I am Christoph Waltz, I would like to meet you.“ and they say „Oh, it’s you! Come over!“ That leads to the most wonderful meetings! [the biggest grin in Christoph’s voice]
I: You are nominated again for Best Supporting Role, although a lot of critics say you carry this movie, you already carried the last one, does that bother you?
C: Not at all, I don’t see why a supporting role cannot carry a movie. [in German it is called „Nebenrolle“ as in „side role“ that way it makes more sense] „Supporting“ doesn’t mean that it’s less important, it’s neither called „Nebenrolle“ in the official name, but „supportive“. That’s an absolutely fitting word, because I see the dermatological function that way. The hero of the movie is Django, without a question, and the one who helps him become that hero, supports him, is my role, so it’s all right.
I: With what feelings do you go to the Oscars?
C: Yeah, I mean, when I look at the list I’m in… I think Robert DeNiro is the greatest and have always seen him as the greatest, Allan Arkin has written books about acting which I have read in acting school, Tommy Lee Jones is one of the big, clever, American actors. Do be on the same list as those names… I mean, that’s already enough.
I: A newspaper has recently told you to prepare an acceptance speech, have you done that?
C: Not yet, but I would find it embarrassing, even for the unlikely case that it would be necessary, I would find it very embarrassing to stand there and to stutter and then go back to the common seats. Not that I think I need it, but better thought too much once, than too little twice.
I: Thank you for the interview and we will keep our fingers crossed.
C: [grinning] Thank you, please do that.

claudia February 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm


Alicia February 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thank you so much for doing this translation, Claudia. It’s very generous of you to do something so time-consuming. I’m very curious to know: how did the phrase you mentioned earlier as being an Austrian saying, “der würschtelt da nicht rum,” come out in translation? Also, I’m very happy for you and other Austrians that Mr. Waltz is always quick to specify that he is Austrian and not German.
I don’t take it as him wanting to distance himself from Germany or Germans but he is proud to be Austrian and, of course, he is always precise in what he says.

Alina February 25, 2013 at 2:42 am

Yes, nobody here hates on the Germans. Its just nice for me to see a man, who brings out what seems to be a better side of otherwise crumpy people from vienna. His sometimes melodic tone is rather typical for that area, even though he masters it like nobody else and adds a personal something to it. Vienna, as a ,melting pot of cultures, is somewhat different also from the rest of the alpine country. But enough of this. I am very happy for his second Academy Award. Wasn`t expecting that. Congratulations Herr Waltz.

claudia February 25, 2013 at 7:57 am

You are very welcome, to be honest I had fun doing it :-)
He said “Quentin macht da auch keine Würschtel” which I found very amusing because I have never heard that before and it was at the part about the collaboration, so he meant something like “Quentin doesn’t take that easily either, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.” or probably more in a “he doesn’t play games with that” way.
And thank you, Austria is thankful for him as well, and proud of him (Austrian TV has been showing a lot of his stuff lately because of the second nommination).
And everything Alina said. (I’m Viennese as well)

Rainer Kobienia February 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Hallo Herr Waltz,
ich wünsche Ihnen von ganzem Herzen den Oscar heute Nacht.
Bereits in Inglourious Basterds war ich tief beeindruckt, aber als Dr. King Schultz sind Sie unübertroffen.
Sollte es den Amerikanern nicht gelungen sein, Ihre Genialität der Sprache und Schauspielkunst zu erfassen und sollten Sie den Oscar nicht erhalten, liegt es nicht an Ihnen.
Alles Gute
Rainer Kobienia

shomangaka February 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm

wow! thank you very much for the translations and the link to this.

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