Franka Potente

Franka Potente Biography

Franka Potente (born 22 July 1974) is a German film 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 and 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) (1998). 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 garner the role of Barbara Buckley in Blow (2001) and as Jason Bourne's love interest in the Bourne film series.

Early life

The elder of two children, Potente was born in Münster, and raised in nearby Dülmen. Her mother, Hildegard, is a medical assistant, and her father, Dieter Potente, is a teacher. Her Italian surname stems from her great-grandfather, a Sicilian slater who emigrated to Germany during the 19th century. When 17 years old, she spent a few months as an exchange student in Humble, Texas, a suburb of Houston, United States. She admitted 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."


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 (It's a Jungle Out There), directed by her then-boyfriend, Hans Christian Schmid. She received the 1996 Bavarian Film Prize 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 movie and Potente received acclaim; Variety wrote she was "heroic, fierce, frightened and vulnerable all at once" while called her a "smart choice". Run Lola Run was a commercial success with a $14,533,173 worldwide gross over a budget of $1 million. Potente also performed on the film's soundtrack. She then appeared in the German-language horror film Anatomy (2000), which enjoyed box office success Her performance in the movie was called "gutsy" by Variety magazine. In that year, she also had the starring role in the romantic thriller The Princess and the Warrior, directed by Tykwer. She received nominations for the Chlotrudis Award, the European Film Award and the German Film Award for Best Actress.

Potente's first English-language role was that of film editor in Storytelling in 2001. She had a supporting role in Blow, with Johnny Depp. The movie gained mixed reviews and was a moderated box office success. She admitted in an interview with Contactmusic that her American accent in the film was due to two months of practice. She appeared in The Bourne Identity, with Matt Damon. The movie had a positive reception and Potente and Damon's strong chemistry was praised by Slant magazine. She reprised her role in The Bourne Supremacy. In 2006, she starred with Eric Bana 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 that premiered also 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". After appearing in Eichmann (2007), she had one of the leads in the biographical movie 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."

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. In January 2011, she played Hilda in a BBC drama The Sinking of the Laconia. She stars as the brothel madam Eva Heissen in BBC America's first original scripted series, Copper. The show premiered to 1.1 million viewers during its debut broadcast, the largest debut in network history and was renewed for a second season set to premiere in 2013.

Personal life

She was in a romantic relationship with director Tom Tykwer from 1998 until January 2003. Potente briefly dated Eric Melvin, guitarist for punk band NOFX. In 2008, she was engaged to an American businessman; however, in September 2009, the couple separated and the engagement was called off. In April 2011, she gave birth to a daughter. In summer 2012 she married actor Derek Richardson.


Year Title Role Notes
1995 After Five in the Forest Primeval Anna Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Actress
1997 Coming In Nina Television film
1998 Opernball Gabrielle Becker Television film
Bavarian TV Award for Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television
Nominated"?RTL Golden Lion Award for Best Supporting Actress
1998 Run Lola Run Lola Bambi Award for Best Actress
Nominated"?Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
1998 Bin ich schön? Linda
1999 Downhill City Peggy Television film
2000 Anatomy Paula Henning
2000 ' Simone 'Sissi' Schmidt Nominated"?Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
Nominated"?European Film Award for Best Actress (Audience Award)
Nominated"?German Film Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
2001 Blow Barbara Buckley
2001 Storytelling Editor
2002 ' Marie Helena Kreutz
2002 All I Want Jane
2003 I Love Your Work Mia
2003 Blueprint Iris Sellin/Siri Sellin
2003 Anatomy 2 Paula Henning
2004 ' Marie Helena Kreutz
2004 Creep Kate
2005 ' Annabelle
2006 ' Diro Kesakhian TV series. 3 episodes
2006 Der die Tollkirsche ausgräbt Silent black-and-white movie, written and directed by Franka Potente
Adolf Grimme Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement(shared with Frank Griebe)
2007 Romulus, My Father Christine Anna Gaita (née Dörr) Nominated"?Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
2007 ' Marie Helena Kreutz Flashbacks only
2007 Eichmann Vera Less
2008 Che Tamara "Tania" Bunke
2008 ' Elfie Bauer
2009 House Lydia TV series, episode "Broken"
2010 Psych Nadia TV series, episode "One, Maybe Two, Ways Out"
2010 Shanghai Leni
2011 ' Hilda Smith Television film
2012"present Copper Eva Heissan TV series
2012 American Horror Story: Asylum Anne Frank / Charlotte Brown TV mini-series, 2 episodes


  • "Believe" (1998)
  • "Wish (Komm zu mir)" (1998)
  • "Easy Day" (1999)
  • "Fly With Me" (2001)


  • 2005: Los Angeles - Berlin. Ein Jahr
  • 2006: Der die Tollkirsche ausgräbt, Drehbuch zum Film
  • 2009: Kick Ass - Das alternative Workout
  • 2010: Zehn: Stories

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