• Matthias Schweighöfer © Lina Tesch
    “I know where
    I want to go“


Matthias Schweighöfer © Lina Tesch

When Matthias Schweighöfer makes a film today, he knows exactly what he wants it to end up looking like. The story should move the audience, it should perhaps even change something in them, it should stay in their memory. Nowadays Matthias Schweighöfer knows where he wants to go with a project. That wasn‘t always the case. Schweighöfer was born in Anklam in 1981 into a family of actors. His parents, Gitta and Michael Schweighöfer, often took him with them to the theatre when he was young. “I‘ve always been interested in this profession.“

He went to the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin in 2001 because he wanted to learn the craft from scratch – “and because it was what my parents wanted me to do“. But that lasted only a year. As he had already been making films for some six years, drama school wasn‘t the right choice for him because it was more about theatre and less about film – and the latter was where he really wanted to go.

Schweighöfer started out with roles in such television productions as RAUS AUS DER HAUT and TATORT. He then attracted attention in the cinema with his role in SOLOALBUM in 2003. That turned out to be something of a turning point for him. Other feature films followed such as OFF BEAT, RABBIT WITHOUT EARS and VALKYRIE. And then there was another defining moment in Schweighöfer‘s career. In 2009, he made 12 PACES WITHOUT A HEAD, an adventure comedy. “The film was good, but I wasn‘t totally happy,“ Schweighöfer says. They presented the film in a cinema in Rostock. There were about 50 to 60 people in the 150-seat cinema. RABBIT WITHOUT EARS was showing in the cinema next door. “I briefly went over to the other cinema and it felt like there were a thousand people in the audience who were all going crazy. Then I went back to 12 PACES WITHOUT A HEAD and we didn’t even get a single person there asking a question.“ Schweighöfer: “From then on, I knew that I had to take more responsibility for the kind of stories I want to tell. I didn’t want to make myself dependent on others anymore.“

In 2011, Schweighöfer founded the production company Pantaleon Films. His first production for the cinema, WHAT A MAN, saw him serving as lead actor, writer, producer and, for the first time, as director. The comedy was feted by critics and audiences alike. As were other productions such as THE BREAK UP MAN (2013), JOY OF FATHERHOOD (2014) and THE MANNY (2015). Mainstream comedies that work well in Germany. Schweighöfer was also clear about what he was wanting to achieve: “I decided to launch a company at that point. And I began with mainstream films in order to establish some­thing and be able to pay my staff.“ Schweighöfer has a new direction in mind for the near future. “I would like to make films that are then being shown more often at festivals.“ One of these projects is raring to go. Schweighöfer has been working now for more than eight years on a screen adaptation of Thomas Glavinic‘s novel THE LIFE OF WISHES. He finally found the right partner in the director Erik Schmitt. They share the same vision. Principal photography begins in May.

Matthias Schweighöfer is an actor, director, author, producer – and filmmaker. He has now reached the point where he is just as successful in the USA as in Germany. Sometimes, he takes on several functions, and other times, he has just one role. “That can be a mixed blessing. If I‘m just an actor, I have to be able to let go. If I‘m putting my very heart and soul into it, I kind of want to do it on my own. I need the feeling of being in control.“ Nevertheless, Schweighöfer’s top priority is that making a good film means you succeed in putting the right team together. He has learnt how important each individual is from the colleagues he has worked with during his career to date. “The exchange and collaboration with such different personalities as Alex Berner, Hans Zimmer, Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder were very helpful as regards editing, film scores, visuals and CGI. It’s been interesting to see their different ways of thinking and working. That was the best film school in the world.“

For Schweighöfer, his work and his profession are a constant process and one of continuous development. THE LIFE OF WISHES addresses such questions as: are you fulfilling your dreams or are you instead wishing for things? Matthias Schweighöfer has both dreams and wishes. And he knows where he wants to go with them.

Angela Sonntag