Franka Potente

Franka Potente

Potente at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2005
Born (1974-07-22) 22 July 1974
Münster, Germany
  • Actress
  • singer[1]
Years active 1995–present
Spouse(s) Derek Richardson (m. 2012)
Children 2

Franka Potente (born 22 July 1974) is a German actress and singer. She first appeared in the comedy After Five in the Forest Primeval (1995), for which she won a Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Actress. Her breakthrough came in 1998, when she had the leading role in the acclaimed action thriller Lola rennt (released in English as Run Lola Run). Potente received Germany's highest film and television awards for her performances in Run Lola Run and the television film Opernball. After half a decade of critically acclaimed roles in German films, Potente went on to land the role of Barbara Buckley in Blow (2001), and Jason Bourne's love interest in the Bourne film series.

Early life

The elder of two children, Potente was born in Münster, West Germany,[2] and raised in nearby Dülmen.[3] Her mother, Hildegard, is a medical assistant, and her father, Dieter Potente, is a teacher.[4] Her Italian surname stems from her great-grandfather, a Sicilian slater who immigrated to Germany during the 19th century. When she was 17 years old, Potente spent a few months as an exchange student in Humble, a suburb of Houston, Texas.[5] She noted in an interview she "had an American boyfriend, went to football games and to my American prom. I was so serious about my American boyfriend, I brought him back to Germany with me to visit my parents. They were horrified."[6]


After finishing high school in Germany, Potente enrolled at the Otto Falckenberg School of Performing Arts in Munich. Potente took acting jobs outside school time and appeared in her first movie in the 1995 student film Aufbruch. She was then spotted by a casting agent and appeared in the film Nach Fünf im Urwald (After Five in the Forest Primeval), directed by her then-boyfriend, Hans Christian Schmid. She received the 1996 Bavarian Film Award for Young Talent for her work in this film. She then finished her last year of training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Manhattan.

Potente returned to Europe and worked in German and French films. She was cast as the lead in Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) after meeting the director, Tom Tykwer, in a café. The part was written for her and the film was a small-budget art house film production. The film and Potente's performance received acclaim;[7] Variety wrote that her performance was "heroic, fierce, frightened and vulnerable all at once",[8] while called her casting a "smart choice".[9] Run Lola Run was a commercial success, with a $14,533,173 worldwide gross from a budget of $1 million.[10] Potente also performed on the film's soundtrack. She then appeared in the German-language horror film Anatomy (2000), which enjoyed box office success.[11] Her performance in the film was called "gutsy" by Variety. In the same year, she also had the starring role in the romantic thriller The Princess and the Warrior, directed by Tykwer. She received nominations for the European Film Award and the German Film Award for Best Actress.

Potente's first English-language role was that of a film editor in Storytelling (2001). She also had a supporting role in Blow, alongside Johnny Depp. The film gained mixed reviews[12] and was a moderate box office success.[13] She said in an interview with Contactmusic that her American accent in the film was due to two months of practice.[14] She next appeared in The Bourne Identity (2002) with Matt Damon. The movie had a positive reception[15] and Potente and Damon's strong chemistry was praised by critics at Slant magazine.[16] She reprised her role in The Bourne Supremacy. In 2006, she starred with Eric Bana and Marton Csokas in the Australian drama film Romulus, My Father, for which she was nominated for an Australian Film Industry Award for Best Lead Actress. She wrote and directed Der die Tollkirsche ausgräbt, a silent comedy film that also premiered in 2006. Starting on 22 May 2007, Potente had a three-episode recurring role in the FX drama The Shield, where she played Diro Kesakhian, "the ruthless godmother of L.A.'s Armenian mafia".[17]

After appearing in Eichmann (2007), she had one of the lead roles in the biographical film Che, which opened at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Remarking on working with director Steven Soderbergh, she stated: "When we were working, he was almost invisible, in a sense. He always stayed in the forest. He was like a chameleon. He was hidden behind leaves and stuff. He almost made himself dissolve to get the result that he had."[18] In 2009, she appeared in the House television series two-part episode "Broken" and in 2010, she appeared in Shanghai. The film was released only in China, where it grossed $9,199,466.[19] In January 2011, she played Hilda in the BBC drama The Sinking of the Laconia.[20] She then starred as the brothel madam Eva Heissen in BBC America's first original scripted series, Copper.[21] The show premiered to 1.1 million viewers during its broadcast, the largest debut in the network's history, and was renewed for a second season.[22] She also guest starred in two episodes of American Horror Story: Asylum.[23]

In 2014, Potente landed a role on the FX series The Bridge as Eleanor Nacht. In 2016, she co-starred in the horror film sequel The Conjuring 2 as real-life German-British parapsychologist Anita Gregory,[24] and was cast in a supporting role in the BBC period drama miniseries Taboo, alongside Tom Hardy.[25]

Personal life

Potente was in a relationship with director Tom Tykwer from 1998 until January 2003.[26][27] She then briefly dated Eric Melvin, the guitarist for the punk band NOFX.[28]

In April 2011, Potente and her partner, actor Derek Richardson, had a daughter named Polly.[29] In mid-2012, the couple were married.[30] In 2013, they had their second daughter, Georgie.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 After Five in the Forest Primeval Anna
1998 Run Lola Run Lola
1998 Bin ich schön? Linda
1999 Paradise Mall Mona Wendt
1999 Downhill City Peggy
2000 Anatomy Paula Henning
2000 The Princess and the Warrior Simone "Sissi" Schmidt
2001 Blow Barbara Buckley
2001 Storytelling Toby's Editor
2002 The Bourne Identity Marie Helena Kreutz
2002 All I Want Jane
2003 The Tulse Luper Suitcases Trixie Boudain
2003 I Love Your Work Mia Lang
2003 Blueprint Iris Sellin / Siri Sellin
2003 Anatomy 2 Paula Henning
2004 The Bourne Supremacy Marie Helena Kreutz
2004 Creep Kate
2006 The Elementary Particles Annabelle
2007 Romulus, My Father Christine Gaita
2007 Eichmann Vera Less
2008 Che Tamara "Tania" Bunke
2010 Shanghai Leni Müller
2010 Small Lights Valerie
2016 The Conjuring 2 Anita Gregory


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Coming In Nina Television film
1998 Opernball Gabrielle Becker Television film
2006 The Shield Diro Kesakhian 3 episodes
2008 Manhunt Beate Klarsfeld Television film
2008 The Bridge Elfie Bauer Television film
2009 House Lydia Episode: "Broken"
2010 Psych Nadia Episode: "One, Maybe Two, Ways Out"
2011 The Sinking of the Laconia Hilda Smith 2 episodes
2011 Beate Uhse: Das Recht auf Liebe Beate Uhse Television film
2012–13 Copper Eva Heissen 20 episodes
2012 American Horror Story: Asylum Anne Frank / Charlotte Brown 2 episodes
2014 The Bridge Eleanor Nacht 12 episodes
2016 Dark Matter Chief Inspector Shaddick 2 episodes
2016 Taboo Helga Miniseries
2016 Der Island-Krimi: Der Tote im Westfjord Solveig Karlsdóttir Spielfilm

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Kendl Johnson Voice role
2006 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Reni Wassulmaier Voice role
2008 Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy Marie Helena Kreutz Voice role



Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Result
1995 After Five in the Forest Primeval Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Actress Won
1998 Run Lola Run Bambi Award for Best Actress Won
2000 The Princess and the Warrior European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – German Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
2007 Romulus, My Father Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated


  1. "Artist: Franka Potente". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  2. "Agentur Heppeler". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  3. "Franka Potente". 22 July 1974. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  4. "Franka Potente Film Reference Biography". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  5. "Ein Star auf der Suche nach immer Neuem". Berliner Morgenpost. 6 March 2005. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  6. "About Franka Potente from 'Copper'". 25 December 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  7. "Run Lola Run (Lola rennt)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  8. "Review: 'Run Lola Run'". Variety. 9 September 1998. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  9. Movie Review - Run Lola Run. eFilmCritic. Retrieved on 11 May 2013.
  10. Run Lola Run - Box Office Data, DVD Sales, Movie News, Cast Information. The Numbers. Retrieved on 11 May 2013.
  11. "Review: 'Anatomy'". Variety. 28 August 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  12. "Blow (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  13. "Blow (2001)". Box Office Mojo. 28 August 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  14. "Franka Potente Interview". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  15. "The Bourne Identity (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  16. "The Bourne Identity Film Review". Slant. 10 June 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  17. Mahan, Colin. "Franka Potente joins The Shield". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  18. Pearse, Emma (17 December 2008). "Che's Franka Potente on Working With Benicio, Peeing in the Jungle". Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  19. "Shanghai (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  20. Deacon, Michael (6 January 2011). "The Sinking of the Laconia, BBC Two, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  21. Leffler, Rebecca (1 April 2012). "'Copper' Producer, Actors Preview BBC America's Immigrant Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  22. "BBC America Renews 'Copper' for Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  23. "'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy on fate of SPOILER". Entertainment Weekly. November 1, 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  24. "James Wan Begins Shooting New Line Cinema's Highly Anticipated "The Conjuring 2"". Business Wire. September 28, 2015.
  25. Petski, Denise (21 March 2016). "'Taboo': Franka Potente Joins Tom Hardy In FX/BBC Period Drama Series".
  26. "'Run Lola Run' star liked film challenge". The News Tribune. 4 July 1999.
  27. Fischer, Paul (23 July 2004). "Franka Goes To Hollywood: Bourne Supremacy's German star Franka Potente feeling cold toward L.A.". IOFilm. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  28. "NOFX - Interview // Tribal Area". YouTube. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  29. "Schauspielerin Franka Potente ist Mutter geworden". Der Standard. 15 August 2011.
  30. "Lola hat klammheimlich geheiratet". Stern. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  31. "Filmstar im Interview Was macht eigentlich Franka Potente?". 11 July 2014.
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