The Golden Eye Award and a Candid Confession
Diane Kruger, the 47-year-old actress known for her roles in films like “National Treasure” and “Troy,” recently received the Golden Eye Award at the 2023 Zurich Film Festival. But it wasn’t just the award that caught everyone’s attention; it was her candid revelations about her journey in Hollywood. From almost losing out on iconic roles to finding an unexpected mentor in Brad Pitt, Kruger’s story is a testament to resilience and the power of believing in oneself.
The Battle for ‘Troy’
Diane Kruger’s audition for “Troy” was anything but smooth sailing. She wasn’t the studio’s first choice, and she had to fight to prove she was the right fit for the role.
“The studio didn’t necessarily want to hire me. It was Wolfgang [Petersen, director] who fought for me,” Kruger recalled. “They thought I was too skinny, whatever. I had to fly to Hollywood for a screen test, they put me in a costume and tried to make me look ‘rounder.’”
The experience was unsettling for Kruger, who felt objectified during the process.
“It was just one of these moments when you sit in an office full of older men who look you up and down. I felt like I was being presented in a way that wasn’t me at all.”
Convincing Quentin Tarantino for ‘Inglorious Basterds’
After her experience with “Troy,” Kruger faced another uphill battle when auditioning for Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds.” Tarantino had someone else in mind for the role and wasn’t convinced Kruger was “authentically German.”
“For Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino didn’t want to hire me. He wrote it for someone else, he wanted someone ‘authentically German,’ which he thought I wasn’t,” she said.
But Kruger was not one to back down. She flew to Germany on her own dime and memorized 15 pages of dialogue in both German and English.
“I came in and he said: ‘You can take your script.’ I replied: ‘I don’t need a script’.”
Her determination paid off. Once cast, she felt Tarantino’s full support.
“Once you are chosen, it’s like he loves you. You can’t do wrong and he will be there to support you,” she explained.
Brad Pitt: The Unexpected Mentor
While both films had their challenges, they also had one common factor: Brad Pitt. During the media frenzy surrounding “Troy,” Kruger found herself struggling emotionally. The German press was particularly harsh, digging into her personal life and fabricating stories.
“It was exhilarating, but it was a circus,” Kruger said about the experience. “When the movie was coming out, the press in Germany was very, very tough on me.”
It was Brad Pitt who came to her rescue.
“Brad could see I was upset. He came to my room and said: ‘I have heard some things and I want you to know that you are one of us now. Don’t let them get to you.’ He was so incredibly kind. It really changed a lot of things for me,” she revealed.
A Career Shaped by Resilience and Support
Diane Kruger’s Hollywood journey is a compelling narrative of overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities. Her story is not just about her talent, but also about the mentors and allies who helped her along the way. Whether it was Wolfgang Petersen going to bat for her in “Troy,” Quentin Tarantino giving her a chance to prove herself in “Inglorious Basterds,” or Brad Pitt offering emotional support when she needed it most, Kruger’s career is a testament to the power of resilience and the importance of having people who believe in you.