“Look what he can do with his eyes!” actress Helene Zengel remembers director Paul Greengrass saying when he played her in his film World News, now released on Netflix.
He is looking for a child actress with enough depth to play the role of a traumatized orphan. She found the talent she needed in Zengel, who had seen success in previous roles in German films System Shredder, who won more than 30 film awards. He was only 9 years old at that time. His character, Benni, is an aggressive child who experiences uncontrollable outbursts of violence, upsetting his caregiver. The young actress’s poignant appearance can be painful to watch.
Off camera, Zengel looks cheerful and confident. He said acting was easy for him. “I am good at showing my emotions, I am insolent,” he told the television crew of German public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk.
On a promotional tour for his latest film, the Berlin native appears casual and articulate in various TV interviews and talk shows. At just 12 years old, he has got what many German actors can only dream of: a role in a Hollywood film.
The 12 year old actress won various awards for playing the lead role in the 2019 film ‘System Crasher’.
Who is Tom Hanks?
In western movies World News, he once again played the role of an abandoned child. Her character, Johanna, is an orphan of German immigrants who grew up with the Native American Kiowa tribe and was eventually taken over by Captain Kidd, played by Tom Hanks.
“I can’t stress enough how much power little Helena has,” said Tom Hanks of his film co-stars. “This girl is always nice to surprise you. Just because she is herself.”
For Helena, it’s a dream role. Horseback riding – her favorite pastime – is part of her job description, and she also enjoys learning Kiowa language. His mother, as usual, accompanied him during filming in New Mexico.
He initially didn’t know who Tom Hanks was. But after accepting the role, he watched some of his films to speed things up. Today, Hollywood stars have become his mentors. There were hardly any interviews where she had no compliments about how well she got along with Tom and that they kept in touch. He also tells her some trading tricks, like how to cry on orders.
Zengel won the German Film Award for best actress 2020 thanks to her performance in ‘System Crasher’
Start working at the age of five
He has no problem playing an abandoned and traumatized character: “I feel good about it,” the 12-year-old told the Berlin tabloid. BZ. “Sure, I’d love to make a children’s film someday, I’m sure it will. But I don’t think it’s bad to be pigeonholed like this, because it suits me and I really like it.”
Born in Berlin in 2008, Helena was already in front of the camera acting in television films at the age of five. When he was eight years old, he appeared in the film Girl, which premiered onBerlinale 2017. Here, too, she plays a strong willed girl who disappoints her parents.
Two years later, he once again walked the red carpet at the Berlin Film Festival for System Shredder, which screened in 2019. She was selected from 150 girls who were competing for the role. For director Nora Fingscheidt, however, she was the only child who could play aggressively alongside adversity. “There was never anything purely spoiled or naughty about it, it was always associated with vulnerability and vulnerability,” said Fingscheidt in the film’s press material.
After the pair played together with each other on ‘News of the World,’ Hanks became Zengel’s mentor on showbiz.
A young professional
“I’m just a normal kid,” said Helena Zengel, stressing that she had a protected childhood. Although hard to believe as a spectator, he was able to distinguish and distinguish precisely between the role he played and his life – he was a professional.
But despite her mature attitude towards her profession, Helena is still very young. You can hear this especially on her fresh and very childish podcast “Big Z and Little Angel.” In it, seventh graders talk about her new school and her family’s trip to Bavaria.
“Wow, the mountains are amazing,” he said enthusiastically, laughing at his Bavarian accent. “I’ve been to many beautiful places through filming, but I’ve really never seen a mountain like this before.” Tom Hanks is also on the podcast. He politely greets listeners in German spoken with a strong American accent.
Zengel may be a professional actress, but she’s still a kid who likes to talk about her new school and family vacations on her podcast
Will he win big in the US?
Unfortunately, the two actors will not be seeing each other again anytime soon. World News, shot in 2019, and originally slated to hit theaters. Instead, Netflix bought the film, eliminating the possibility of a promotional tour in the US.
However, Zengel still received praise. She was recently nominated for a Golden Globe award, Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress and also for Best Newcomer from the Critics Choice Association (CCA). However, there won’t be a red carpet to go through this year. Luckily, the Berlin actress already knows what a virtual award ceremony feels like. She found her won the German Film Award for best leading actress System Shredder on line.
This article was translated from German by Sarah Hucal.