When casting for the pivotal and iconic role of Helen of Troy for his 2004 epic, German-born director Wolfgang Petersen looked no further than his homeland to find the actress who could best embody the role. Who he discovered was relative unknown Diane Kruger, who was born in Germany in 1976, and had been acting for a few years following a stint as a model.
She was a European globetrotter by her mid-20s, studying ballet in London and later an acting student in Paris, but she was inexperienced in large scale productions – particularly big-budget Hollywood productions like “Troy.” But Petersen had faith in Diane, as well as a touch of melancholy that would suit Helen of Troy well. In the months-long audition process, Diane beat out the likes of Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts. Along with the release of “Troy” in 2004, undoubtedly Diane’s breakout year, she appeared in “Wicker Park” and “National Treasure.”
Following the exposure Hollywood had provided, Diane divided her time between European and American projects. In 2006, her five-year marriage to French filmmaker Guillame Canet had ended as Diane pursued a romance with Joshua Jackson. She became the first German to host the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, the same year she reprised her role in “National Treasure 2.” In 2008, Diane admitted that she had come to regret her “Troy” role, claiming it hadn’t challenged her enough as an actress. With that said, it should be interesting to see how Diane crafts her career as it continues. Only in her early 30s, time will tell if Diane indeed embarks on more challenging or risky projects, or continues with such popcorn fare like more Nicolas Cage actioneers.
Diane on the Web
Diane’s ultimate web resource.
TV Guide: Diane Kruger
Photos and video clips from Diane’s recent work.
Lengthy bio, links to recent films, other web sites, and photos.
Brief bio detailing personal life and career highlights.
Diane Kruger Fan
“The number one source for all things Diane.”
UnderGround Online Interview
Diane on cast as Helen in “Troy.”
Diane talks to BBC on her work in American film and her future goals.
Diane on Video
Talking Pictures TV Interview
Diane discusses “National Treasure 2.”
“Late Late Show” Appearance
Diane visits Craig Kilborn in 2004.
French Diane Kruger Video Clips
This YouTube page contains over 50 Diane Kruger clips, though they are mostly French.
Diane on the Screen
Diane made her screen debut in the 2002 Christopher Lambert / Dennis Hopper thriller “The Piano Player,” a film by Jean-Pierre Roux. She’s a call girl in “Not for or Against,” Julie Wood in the comic adaptation “Michel Vaillant” in 2003, Helen in “Troy,” Lisa in “Wicker Park,” Cage’s love interest in “National Treasure” and it’s 2007 sequel, and the title character “Frankie” in 2005, which she co-produced. She learned Russian for “The Tiger Brigades,” plays opposite Ed Harris in “Copying Beethoven,” is Gloria Gregory in the Nelson Mandela biopic “Goodbye Bafana,” the lead in the Denny Arcand comedy “The Age of Ignorance,” and Mirjana in “The Hunting Party.”
Diane returns to her German roots to play a famous movie star in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," and will also appear in the ambitious sci-fi fantasy film, "Mr. Nobody," sometime next year.
On her present status in Hollywood:
“I feel incredibly blessed and lucky, but I'm very aware of being the flavor of the month right now.”
On “Troy” four years later:
“It kind of sucked, to be honest. I was just starting out and didn't want to play all the parts I was subsequently offered in these big movies. I had to get out.”