"I think you can learn a lot from the characters you are playing"
Dirk Gunther Mohr. Photo by Tamara Jacobsen
Dirk Gunther Mohr has established himself as a film actor on the age of 30. From that moment he has been in many productions. He had supporting roles in series as Overspel, van Gogh: een huis voor Vincent, the Belgian series De Zonen van van As and Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden. From 2015 he played the lead roles in movies as A Royal Love, Triora, Tweespalt, Capo di Famiglia, These Bloody Days and Capo di Famiglia part II. Several of these movies he has written and also produced. Movies as Capo di Famiglia and Capo di Famiglia part II has been very successful at the international filmfestivals. He made it to the RJB Studio's studying under Joost Buitenweg, teacher of the Stanislavski Method Acting that would become his trademark.
Recently, Dirk won Best Performance of Fest at the Actors Awards, for his lead role in "Capo di Famiglia II." The jury stated: “In this beautiful Dutch drama, Dirk Gunther Mohr plays Vincent la Rosa, who has become the head of the family after his father's death. Dirk's performance is super nuanced and precise. Even though his character is not the typical protagonist you could naturally connect with, he still makes you interested in his story, in his past. His character is fascinating - he is powerful, even threatening at some points, but he is also mysterious, and makes you wonder how he got to that point, and if he actually wants this way of living. Using his status and power, he perfectly controls the rhythm of every scene, and earns not only the audience's respect, but even his on-screen enemies' respect. This kind of performance proves how complex acting can be.”
We invited Dirk to join us for an interview. Here's his story.
Dirk Gunther Mohr in Capo di Famiglia II
Dirk, congratulations on winning Best Performance of Fest for your role in Capo di Famiglia II. Before we talk about the film, please tell us a little bit about yourself. You started your acting career as a child with dreams of playing in the big movies. What sparked the passion for acting? First of all, thank you so much for this award and the wonderful jury comment about my performance. I’m honoured and very happy! The movies I saw as a child inspired me to become an actor. When I saw a movie, like Batman, James Bond or Rocky, I would copy one of the characters and give performances in front of my family in our living room. Great fun!
You also started writing screenplays very early on. Can you please take us through your creative process- how do you normally being a screenplay, where do you find the inspiration, how do you build the characters, etc? The inspiration for a story and its characters starts with people I know or after reading an article in a news paper that triggers me. When somebody or something fascinates me, I love to create a story in my mind. From there on, I have a lot of sleepless nights because of the ideas and plots in my head. I just can’t stop writing.
One of your first roles was as King Henry VII of England. Tell us about this production, how did you book this role, and what was it like to play the king? I actually wrote the script for A Royal Love. I wanted to play an impressive character that would be a big challenge for me, so I decided to create one myself. The movie was funded through crowdfunding. It’s a short movie about Henry VIII and the beginning of his reign. Henry is one of the most iconic Royals in English history and I loved becoming this character. The difficulty of Henry’s personality intrigued me. Moreover, you have to walk like a king, and think like a king. I found that fascinating.
What do you like the most about being an actor? In other words, why do you do it? I love it because you can become somebody you are not and you can do things you will probably never do in real life. I think you can also learn from the characters you are becoming.
Your credits include so many versatile styles - from drama to thriller, crime, and romance… What genres are most enjoyable for you to work on? The genre I love the most is drama. You can do so many things in this genre and I love to create a real character with depth.
How do you normally prepare for an audition/ call back? any tips? I read the scene many times and I create a character that I think is best for that scene. I also like to improvise during the audition. You can only do that when you have a character in your mind and when you are fully prepared.
Let's talk about Capo di Famiglia II- how did you come up with the story?
After A Royal Love, I wanted to make a movie about a family with their problems and connections with the mob. I loved the idea to create a family with Italian roots, living in The Netherlands. People loved the first movie and with the open ending, I knew we had to make a second part. In this part I wanted to show a different Vincent. A more ruthless and powerful Vincent who wants to protect his family. When he thinks he has everything under control, he’s losing the love of his wife.
Your role as Vincent is extremely demanding. And your performance was terrific! Even though your character is not the typical protagonist the audience could naturally connect with, it's very easy to connect to you! How did you prepare to get into the mindset of Vincent la Rosa? What was the most challenging scene/moment for you when working on the project? I loved playing Vincent. He’s very complex. I didn’t want to create a stereotype gangster but somebody who inherited the role of his father. When he understood that role, he took responsibility for his family. Like it was his destiny. Vincent has all the ingredients for being that leader and his father saw that.
The most challenging scenes in Capo II were the scene where Vincent had a fight with Eva and he became violent towards her and the last scene of the movie because of the emotions and the pain that Vincent feels after the news he received in the hospital.
Normally when I prepare myself for a scene, I think about my own experiences with those kind of emotions. But with those scenes, that was impossible, as I – fortunately - don’t have that experience in my own life. So when rehearsing the scenes I had to dig deep and think: what would I do in this situation? And what would Vincent do? I think the scenes turned out really well, but they were very challenging for me.
This is the second time you are working with director Annemarie Libbers. What is it like to work with her? I enjoy working with her. She gives the actors a lot of freedom to create their character. And she was always open for discussing my suggestions, as I’m also the writer and producer of the movie. We always found common ground about what was best for the story and the movie.
You worked on so many movies, TV Series, and commercials (such as The Adulterer, De Mannentester, A Royal Love, Triora, and more). What would be your advice to directors who work with younger actors, based on these experiences? You always have to choose the right person for that character. It doesn’t matter if that person is more experienced or not. If the actor/actress has the talent and the right skills, go for it. Give them a chance and show the public a fresh face. Are there certain directors or co-stars you’d wish to collaborate with, someday? There are a lot of great actors and actresses but I’m a big fan of Al Pacino. It would be a dream to work with him. If I could choose a director, I would like to work with Martin Scorsesse, Clint Eastwood or Steven Spielberg.
What is your favorite movie of all time? There are two. The Godfather and Godfather Part II. Those are the most iconic movies of all times with such a great cast, script and storytelling. You probably get asked this a lot - what advice would you give to aspiring actors? If you love to act, do it. And if you think you have the talent, never give up and go for it.
Are you working on other projects currently? Yes, I’m currently working on a WWII movie called Verraderlijke Liefde (Treacherous Love). It’s a movie about a German lieutenant and a jewish woman who fall in love. I play the character of Martin Schoonma who’s a member of the nazi party and who becomes a dangerous opponent of the German lieutenant Mengelberg. This character is a challenging part to become and a person far away from me in real life. We already shot a lot of great scenes and because the crew liked my interpretation of Schoonma, the part became even bigger than how it was in the original script. The movie will premiere in November and hopefully it will be aired in the cinema and on Netflix. So far, 2020 has been very exciting!