He was all set to go into banking, but he made acting his business instead

Christian Oliver: he was all set to go into banking, but he made acting his business instead

Carolyn Murnick

In Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German, Christian Oliver plays Emil Brandt, a man whose disappearance sets off a frenzied search by the Russian and American armies in post-WWII Berlin. A historical thriller co-starring Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, and Tobey Maguire, The Good German painstakingly re-creates the bombed-out city circa 1945, complete with military tanks and over 600 extras. For German-born Oliver, the surroundings hit close to home. “When I walked on set for the first time, I got chills,” he recalls.

Raised in Celle, a city just west of Berlin, Oliver was on the fast track to a career in finance, but a trip to North Carolina as a high school exchange student broadened his perspective. “1 grew up a lot that year,” he says. “And I fell in love with the American way of life.”

After a decade slogging through acting work in sitcoms, commercials, and a variety of movies, Oliver recently added the job title “producer” to his resume. In 2004 he founded Chabo Films, an independent production company currently at work on its second feature, Ready or Not, in which Oliver stars. “To see the other side of things is humbling,” says the 34-year-old actor. Luckily, he found time between takes on German to trade notes with one of Hollywood’s busiest actor-slash-producers: Clooney, whose company shares production credits on The Good German. “He was amazingly supportive and inspiring,” Oliver says. “George, if you’re reading this, call me!”

Carolyn Murnick is a New York City-based writer.

COPYRIGHT 2006 Brant Publications, Inc.

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