In his own way, actor Sebastian Koch is a historian; many of his most notable roles involved actual German historical figures or explored the war-ravaged country's painful history. A graduate of the famed Otto Falckenberg School of the Performing Arts, Koch appeared in numerous theater productions before making his TV debut in 1986 on the long-running German crime series "Tatort" (1970- ). After working steadily for nearly a decade, Koch gained notice with a trio of critically acclaimed performances: Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader in the TV docudrama "Todesspiel" (1997), kidnapped oil heir Richard Oetker in the TV docudrama "Dance with the Devil - The Kidnapping of Richard Oetker" (2001), and German novelist Klaus Mann in the TV mini-series "The Manns - Novel of a Century" (2001). Fluent in both French and German, Koch broke through to international audiences in the A&E cable mini-series "Napoléon" (2002), and found even more success with his roles in director Paul Verhoeven's WWII drama "Black Book" (2006) and the East German spy thriller "The Lives of Others" (2006). With his distinctive mix of intensity and melancholy, Koch is a charismatic presence on stage and screen.
Raised by a single mother in Stuttgart, Germany, Koch initially wanted to become a musician before a chance encounter at a local theater production changed his mind. After graduating from acting school in 1985, the young actor appeared in numerous local productions before transitioning to TV with supporting roles in crime series such as "Tatort" and "A Case for Two" (1981- ). His back-to-back performances in 2001 as Baader, the notorious namesake leader of the militant Baader-Meinhof Gang, and Oetker, son of wealthy German industrialist Rudolf Oetker, proved a pivotal moment for the young actor; he garnered two Grimme Awards in the same year, a first for the prestigious German TV awards body.
The following years brought acclaim from both home and abroad; Koch used his French fluency to memorable effect in the star-studded cable movie "Napoléon," and turned in an award-winning performance in "Operation Valkyrie" (2004) as Claus von Stauffenberg, Hitler's luckless would-be assassin. His small-screen efforts didn't go unnoticed, and in 2006 Koch landed major feature film roles as SS officer Ludwig Muntze in "Black Book" (where he began a long-term relationship with co-star Carice van Houten), and as playwright Georg Dryman in "The Lives of Others," a chilling account of East German politics that went on to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. After a long hiatus from the stage, Koch returned to the theater in 2006 with a role in Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband," which explored familiar themes of blackmail, corruption and fear of exposure. Koch next appeared in "God Loves Caviar" (2011) as Greek-pirate-turned-caviar-magnate Ioannis Varvakis, and was later cast opposite Bruce Willis as a villainous Russian political prisoner in the widely panned sequel "A Good Day to Die Hard" (2013).
Cast (Feature Film)
Casting (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Landed breakthrough role as kidnapped oil heir Richard Oetker in the German made-for-TV movie "Dance with the Devil - The Kidnapping of Richard Oetker."
Cast as German author Klaus Mann in the three-part German TV mini-series "The Manns - Novel of a Century."
Appeared alongside Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich and Isabella Rossellini in the TV mini-series "Napoleon."
Landed the lead role in the German TV docudrama "Operation Valkyrie."
Starred in director Paul Verheoven's "Black Book"; met long-time girlfriend Carice van Houten.
Cast as an East German playwright in the Oscar-winning "The Lives of Others."
Returned to the theater after a 12-year absence with a role in Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband."
Appeared opposite Bruce Willis as a villain in "A Good Day to Die Hard."