If you’re a follower of contemporary world cinema, chances are, you’re a fan of Franz Rogowski. Known for his distinctive screen presence and extraordinary physicality, the German actor has blazed a trail through some of the most well-regarded movies of the last few years, including Michel Haneke’s Happy End, Christian Petzold’s Transit and Undine, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, Angela Schanelec’s I Was At Home, But… to name only a few.
His latest role is as the lead in Passages, a new film by Ira Sachs. Rogowski stars Tomas, a diva-esque filmmaker and very indecisive queer man, who vacillates erratically between his husband, played by Ben Whishaw, and a new love interest, played by Adele Exarchopoulos. It’s a role of chaotic contradictions that seems made for Rogowski: Tomas is self-absorbed, brilliant, repulsive, sexy, vulnerable, and malicious all at once—and Rogowski brings to him a truly unselfconscious, combustible sense of humanity.
For today’s episode, Film Comment Co-Deputy Editor Devika Girish called up Rogowski on Zoom to chat about his inspirations as an actor and how he crafted his firecracker performance in Passages. Please note that Rogowski is not a member of SAG-AFTRA and is not on strike.