Thomas Kretschmann

Thomas Kretschmann (pronounced [ˈtoːmas ˈkʁɛtʃman]; born 8 September 1962) is a German actor. He played Lieutenant Hans von Witzland in the 1993 film Stalingrad, Hauptmann Peter Kahn in the 2013 film Stalingrad, Hauptmann Wilm Hosenfeld in The Pianist, Hermann Fegelein in Downfall, Major Otto Remer in the 2008 film Valkyrie, and Captain Englehorn in the 2005 remake of King Kong, and voiced Professor Z in Cars 2. He appeared as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in Marvel Studios' Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Thomas Kretschmann
Kretschmann with Brittany Rice, at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, on 9 February 2012
Born (1962-09-08) 8 September 1962
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, screenwriter, producer
Years active1985–present

Early life and education

Kretschmann was born in Dessau, East Germany, on 8 September 1962. Before he became an actor, Kretschmann trained to become an Olympic swimmer. At the age of 19, he fled East Germany and began a month-long trek to West Germany to escape the East German state. During this trek, part of his finger was lost but surgically reattached. Kretschmann crossed four borders and three countries (Hungary, Yugoslavia and Austria) with nothing other than his passport and the equivalent of $100 in his possession.[1]


At the age of 25, he began acting, starring in numerous European films and television series, including Westler in 1985. Then in 1991, Kretschmann was awarded the Max Ophüls Prize for best young actor for his role in Der Mitwisser. He went on to star in his first full-length feature, the 1993 film Stalingrad. He achieved international recognition for his role as sadomasochistic rapist and murderer Alfredo Grossi in Dario Argento's The Stendhal Syndrome.

Although popular in his homeland, Kretschmann did not achieve notice in Hollywood until his role as Hauptmann Wilm Hosenfeld in Roman Polanski's 2002 film The Pianist. In the years since, Kretschmann has often portrayed military officers in films about the Third Reich. In the 2004 film Downfall, Kretschmann played Hermann Fegelein, a Waffen-SS General and brother-in-law to Eva Braun. In the 2008 thriller Valkyrie, Kretschmann played Major Otto Ernst Remer, a Wehrmacht officer who had a key role in stopping the 20 July Plot. Prior to the casting of Tom Cruise, Kretschmann had been considered to play Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. Kretschmann also played Adolf Eichmann in a 2007 biographical film.

Kretschmann made his first appearance on American television in 2003 when he guest starred in 2 episodes of 24. He later also appeared in Relic Hunter. In 2004, Kretschmann played Timothy Cain, a ruthless Umbrella Major, in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. In the same year, he appeared in the French film Immortal with Linda Hardy. The film was notable for its use of a digital backlot and interaction between Computer-generated characters and real actors. In 2005, Kretschmann won a role in Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, where he worked again with Adrien Brody, with whom he costarred in The Pianist.

The following year, Kretschmann began to win acclaim for his role in Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story (Rohtenburg in Germany). A psychological thriller, the movie co-stars Keri Russell and was inspired by the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case. It was scheduled for a March 2006 release in Germany, but its showing is under injunction after Meiwes successfully sued to have it banned on grounds of infringement of his Persönlichkeitsrecht (personality rights). At the 2006 Festival de Cine de Sitges, Kretschmann shared the Best Actor award for his performance in this film with his co-star Thomas Huber. Kretschmann also shared Best Actor with Huber at the 2007 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

In 2008 Kretschmann was hired for the role of Johann Krauss in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army. However, after several trials del Toro decided that Kretschmann's voice and the mechanical sound FX to Johann's suit did not mesh well, so the part went to Seth MacFarlane. That same year he appeared in the action thriller Wanted, alongside Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy.

2009 saw Kretschmann guest star in the American science-fiction TV drama series FlashForward, as well as a major secondary part in the British biopic The Young Victoria as King Leopold I of Belgium. This film also received three Academy Awards nominations in 2010 for Best Art Direction, Makeup, and won for Costume Design.[2]

The next year he returned to Germany, guest starring as himself in the romantic comedy Rabbit without Ears 2. Kretschmann then moved to Malaysia in the summer to shoot his scenes for the German biopic Jungle Child based on the eponymous bestseller by Sabine Kuegler. The film was released in early 2011. Walt Disney Pictures confirmed in November 2010, that Kretschmann would star as one of the voice talents in the Pixar Production Cars 2. The film was released in the United States on 24 June 2011, in the United Kingdom on 22 July and in Germany on 28 July.[3][4][5]

Kretschmann starred as Captain Kurt Brynildson in the 2011–2012 ABC original paranormal/adventure/horror television series The River about a group of people on a mission to find a missing TV explorer in the Amazon.

Kretschmann signed a multi-film contract with Marvel Studios to play Baron Wolfgang von Strucker,[6] and first appeared as the character in a post-credits scene of the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier.[7] He had a larger role as the character in the 2015 movie Avengers: Age of Ultron.[8]

For the German dubs of movies and television shows he stars in, Kretschmann often dubs his parts himself.[9] Aside from acting Kretschmann has also worked as a fashion model, including a stint as the face for a scent by Hugo Boss.


YearFilmRoleLanguageOther notes
1989Der MitwisserPaulGermanTelevision film
Max Ophüls Prize for Best Young Actor
1992Shining ThroughMan at Zurich StationEnglish 
The Warrior's HeartLt. Maximillian LuedtNorwegian
1993StalingradLeutnant Hans von WitzlandGerman 
Die RatteSvenGerman 
1994La Reine MargotNançayFrench 
1995Derrick, Season 22, Episode 4: Teestunde mit einer MörderinThe Husband of the MurderessGermanTelevision
1996The Stendhal SyndromeAlfredo GrossiItalian 
Marching in Darkness (Marciando nel buio)Gianni TricaricoItalian 
1997Prince ValiantThagnarEnglish 
1999Esther: The BibleKing Ahasuerus of PersiaEnglishTelevision film
Der SolistPhilip LanartGermanTelevision series, 4 episodes 1999–2003
2000U-571Kapitänleutnant Günther WassnerEnglish 
2001Feindliche Übernahme – althan.comRobert FernauGerman 
2001The Knights of the QuestVanni Delle RondiniEnglish 
2002Blade IIEli DamaskinosEnglish 
The PianistHauptmann Wilm HosenfeldEnglish 
200324MaxEnglishEpisodes: "Day 2: 6:00 a.m.–7:00 a.m." & "Day 2: 7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m."
2004In Enemy HandsFirst Watch Officer Ludwig CremerEnglish 
DownfallSS-Gruppenführer Hermann FegeleinGerman 
Resident Evil: ApocalypseMajor Timothy CainEnglish 
The Karate DogGerberEnglishTelevision film
Head in the CloudsMajor Franz BietrichEnglish 
FrankensteinVictor HeliosEnglishTelevision film
Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul IIPope John Paul IIEnglishMiniseries
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the MovieCaptain EnglehornEnglishVideo game
King KongCaptain EnglehornEnglish 
2006Grimm LoveOliver HartwinEnglishBest Actor, Sitges 2006
(shared with co-star Thomas Huber)  
Best Actor, PiFan 2007
(shared with co-star Thomas Huber)  
The Celestine ProphecyWilEnglish 
24: The GameMaxEnglishVideo game
2007NextMr. SmithEnglish
In TransitMaxEnglish
EichmannAdolf EichmannEnglish
Bionic WomanThe ManEnglishTelevision series (episode one)
Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read MapsPaulGerman
MogadischuCaptain Jürgen SchumannGermanTelevision film
Der SeewolfCaptain Wolf LarsenGermanTelevision film
ValkyrieOtto Ernst RemerEnglish
2009The Young VictoriaKing Leopold I of Belgium[10]English
King ConquerorArchbishop of TarragonaEnglish
Wanted: Weapons of FateCross[11]EnglishVideo game
FlashForwardStefan KriegerEnglishTelevision series
2010The Nazi Officer's WifeKapitänleutnant Günther Wassner English 
Dare to Love MeMariano
Total RealityCommander TunisEnglishTelevision film
2011Cars 2Professor ZündappEnglishVoice
The Sinking of the LaconiaAdmiral DönitzEnglish
Television film – BBC Productions
Jungle ChildKlaus KueglerGerman
The CapeGregor the GreatEnglishTelevision series
Hostel: Part IIIFlemmingEnglishDirect-to-DVD
What a ManJensGerman
2012Dracula 3DDraculaEnglish
The RiverCaptain Kurt BrynildsonEnglishTelevision series
2013DraculaAbraham Van HelsingEnglishTelevision series
StalingradPeter KahnRussian German
Open GraveLukasEnglish
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to EdenFriedrich RitterEnglishNarration/voice
United PassionsHorst DasslerEnglish
Captain America: The Winter SoldierBaron Wolfgang von StruckerEnglishMid-credits scene cameo
2015Avengers: Age of UltronEnglish
Hitman: Agent 47Le ClerqEnglish
2016Whiskey Tango FoxtrotAirplane PassengerEnglish
Central IntelligenceThe BuyerEnglish
StrattonGrigory BarovskyEnglish
2017The Blue MauritiusHoltzEnglish
A Taxi DriverJürgen Hinzpeter ("Peter")Korean German
Berlin StationOtto GanzEnglishTV series
2019Dragged Across Concrete Lorentz VogelmannEnglish



  1. de:Thomas Kretschmann
  2. " Nominations". Academy Awards. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  3. "Pixar says Cars 2 is still due in cinemas in June 2011". BBC News. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  4. Sciretta, Peter (7 March 2011). "Cars 2 Trailer". SlashFilm. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  5. Cars 2 at FilmStarts
  6. Couto, Anthony (3 March 2014). "Baron von Strucker Actor Discusses His Avengers 2 Role, Multi-Picture Deal". IGN. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  7. McWeeny, Drew (21 March 2014). "Review: Captain America meets his match in the smart and stylish 'Winter Soldier'". HitFix. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  8. Kit, Borys (15 January 2014). "'Dracula' Actor to Play Villain in 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 15 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  9. "Thomas Kretschmann". Deutsche Synchronkartei. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  10. BBC – Lincolnshire – Features – Filming At Lincoln Cathedral: Young Victoria
  11. Orry, James (6 February 2009). "Wanted gets Hollywood voice cast". VideoGamer. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2009.

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