Jella Haase in an interview about her role in the Netflix series Kleo

Mrs. Haas, you became an actress because you were jealous of Emma Watson.

At school we watched the Harry Potter movie where you play Hermione and I was like, Why do you play that? I love Hermione! Why can’t I be Hermione? At that time I decided: I will do it now, too. Then I went to an agency and it all started.

You started making films when you were 15 years old. But before that I had already gained some experience on the stage: as a child in theater and in musicals.

I went to the theater for years and watched one play after another. For me, the theater was a place of longing that remained closed to me for a long time because I thought: you must be well trained to be a theater actress. I’ve often asked myself if I should never go to drama school after all. This has been complicated for years, but it’s not true at all. I had to free myself of this thought first.

However, I have been part of the Volksbühne group for the past two years, without any training.

When I heard there was an audition at Volksbühne, I just jumped at the deep end. Very lucky, as it turns out! When I first opened there, I thought: Oh my God, they should teach me everything here! I can’t wait to get back on the stage.

How is work in theater different from film?

You think bigger on stage. You have what I call a different fantasy game. You have to keep up with your mates, otherwise the stage will swallow you up. It has greatly expanded my horizons, and this can also be applied to movie and serial roles.

In which way?

On the stage as in the movie, you have to find your own approach to the character. I could do more for my role as Kleo, I dared more. In retrospect I would have said during the last shot: I have a suggestion. . . For this series, I came straight to the shooting site with ideas. In theater I learned the joy of trying, searching, finding, and sometimes being wrong.

In “Kleo” you play a former Stasi contract killer who goes on a campaign of revenge after the fall of the Berlin Wall. You once said that you wanted to play the real villain. Is Cleo that bad?

Kleo is more than an antiero. She’s too fragile, too flawed, too longing, and too loving to be a true villain. Instead, she is an extremist by nature, but falters time and time again due to her bravery. You cannot install good or bad on them. In this regard, she is also not a classic action hero.

The scope of your roles is wide. They chose characters from the gut. Was this the same with Kleo?

In fact, doubts prevailed at first. The character is very violent and I had to ask myself how I could justify this excessive violence and kill her. Well, it is not viewed rationally, of course, but in its exaggerated form. Cleo was deprived at first of the security of her life, then the order in which she lived, but also the people around her. Lose faith in life. On her journey, she tries to regain her dignity little by little.

This sounds more like an approach to a tragic play than a comic series.

For a long time I didn’t even know what kind it would be. In addition to her joking, I also researched her tightness until it dawned on me that she was exaggerating. But I didn’t want to introduce a specific type, I wanted to customize a character.

Actress Katharina Talbach was the last to be played in East Berlin in the film Lieber Thomas. It was serious at the time.

I think you can approach the fictional Kleo with a certain honesty, just as you were able to put some lightness on Katharina in Lieber Thomas. I do not differentiate between types. I always try to approach a topic from the character. I don’t differentiate between smart and funny characters on the basis of gender. The difference, if you will, is that Kleo lives in some sort of comic world and Katharina lives in the real world. By the way, Catherina is not only serious.

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