It's lucky that the camera loves German-born actress Diane Kruger. Originally forging a successful career as a model in Paris (where she fortuitously struck up a lifelong friendship with Karl Lagerfeld), she now enjoys a film career that spans both Hollywood and European cinema. Fluent in German, French and English, Kruger was last seen in the FX crime series The Bridge, which has now sadly been cancelled. Nellee Holmes caught up with the fashion icon in LA.
Let's talk about fashion first. Do you find the red carpet fun or more of a headache?
It's fun and I enjoy it as any woman would. It's very fun every once in a while to get dressed up, and usually you're there to [promote] your movie or TV show, so it's always a very special moment. But to go on the red carpet is very strange.
How do you think your style has evolved since being a teenager?
I think I just became a grown-up, so I don't wear skirts anymore where my butt cheeks are hanging out! That's for the best, but other than that, I don't know.
Would you say that you're a bit more conservative now?
No, I just try not to embarrass myself, like when I look at pictures of myself when I was sixteen, you know?
You live partially in Germany, France and America - places which are all completely different. Does your taste in fashion change in different locations?
I don't think so. I mean, it makes no sense wearing nice winter coats in California, obviously, but my style is my style, so it doesn't really matter what city you're in. I mean, I'd say I definitely get dressed for dinner here [in America]. I feel like a lot of people wear sweat pants and T-shirts when they go out, but I don't think it's changed much, no.
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Take a look at Diane's best and most recent red-carpet moments:
Do you remember the first time you came to Hollywood?
The very first time was for Troy. You know, I didn't have an agent because I got the movie off of a tape I sent in, so all these agents want to sign you and I was very overwhelmed with the whole process. I finally arrived in Hollywood and I distinctly remember thinking it would always be nice weather in Hollywood. It was November and raining, and I only had flip flops so I remember going to a meeting at CAA in shorts and flip flops while it was pouring rain. They all thought I was crazy! [Hollywood] still takes me a lot of getting used to.
How does it work with your American agent, what do you instruct them?
The reason I became an actor was [because] I love cinema and I love the universal language of making films - whether it's in French, German or English - so it's always been my dream to be an international actress, and not be pinned down by my nationality or my accent. I want to do it all, so I always ask the Americans to be gracious with me when I want to go off and make a small European film.
You came from Germany to live in France, but you also lived in London and the US. How did all the different cultures mix?
I've lived in the US on and off for 18 years now. Yeah, I do feel like a mutt, you know. Even though obviously I'm German, for 17 years I've been away, so that's more than half of my life. I feel very French at times and then also very American. I think there's things about [America] that I really cherish when it comes to work ethic or the go-get-to-it attitude which I like, but then I do miss Europe when I'm here for too long, you know?
There's a certain [joie] de vivre - the way of life can be better in Paris, for me anyway. Nobody shows up on time. You take six weeks of vacation. You have wine at lunch but, you know, by union law whether you drink it or not on a movie set, you have to have a bottle of wine for everybody. People don't get hammered, thankfully, but I love that it's union law. They don't care how much you get paid as long as there's wine...
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You mentioned that Austrian-born actress Romy Schneider had a huge influence on you?
Yes, absolutely. I dreamt about coming to France, finding a French boyfriend, making French movies and smoking lots of cigarettes. I thought there was a romance to her life, at least when I was younger, and that just inspired me so much and I fell in love with French cinema because of her. I will say that the French have welcomed me like one of their own.
You talked about Germany and France but also feeling European - have you been to Italy?
Oh yeah, many, many times. What's not to like about Italy, really? It's my dream to own a house in Tuscany - Josh [Jackson, her partner] and I have been talking about it. That's sort of our dream - maybe in the next five years.
What have been your highlights over the last 12 months?
Well, I quit smoking, so that's been great. My birthday was it was awesome because on a personal level I had a great friends around me and we made pickles and fig jam from our own garden, which is a first for me. I love cooking.