Versatility is a coveted trait in acting, and few performers can claim to be as versatile as multilingual European actor Daniel Brühl. German and Spanish by birth, he speaks those two languages in addition to Catalan, English and French. Brühl also matches that eclecticism in his projects, which range from war films to indie comedies to Hollywood dramas. Starting out on German television productions, he found his breakthrough role in 2003 with the thoughtful feature comedy "Good Bye, Lenin!," leading to his sole focus on film parts. He became further known to international audiences when he appeared in the British drama "Ladies in Lavender" (2004), starring Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. In 2007, Brühl appeared in his first American movie, with a small part in the action hit "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), and he was later featured more prominently in Quentin Tarantino's revisionist World War II film "Inglourious Basterds" (2009), a project that solidified his presence in international cinema. Continuing to juggle productions in various countries, Brühl generated major buzz for his central role in Ron Howard's racing movie "Rush" (2013), proving that the dynamic actor was still getting warmed up.
Though Brühl's birth country is Spain, he considers Germany his home, having lived there since he was a child, the son of a German father and Spanish mother. Since his dad was a television director, it's no surprise that he got his start on German TV. After appearing in various Deutsch dramas, Brühl starred in the coming-of-age romantic comedy "No Regrets" (2001), going on to date his love interest in the film, Jessica Schwarz, in real life. Sticking exclusively to movies, he gained even more attention for 2003's "Good Bye, Lenin!," an endearing film where he plays a devoted son dedicated to keeping his mother from discovering that the Berlin Wall has fallen. The movie's international success meant plenty of new opportunities for Brühl, and soon has was appearing with British luminaries Maggie Smith and Judi Dench in the English film "Ladies in Lavender" (2004). In 2005, he was featured in the Oscar-nominated World War I drama "Joyeux Noel," and subsequently garnered accolades for his portrayal of the titular Franco-era Spanish anarchist in "Salvador (Puig Antich)" (2006).
Brühl had a chance to show off his French in the bittersweet romantic comedy "2 Days in Paris" (2007), along with writer/director/actress Julie Delpy, and he later appeared in her films "The Countess" (2009) and "2 Days in New York" (2012). Although mainstream American audiences briefly saw Brühl in "The Bourne Ultimatum," he made a much bigger impression in "Inglourious Basterds," portraying a celebrated German soldier who has become a smug film star. Exuding both menace and charm, Brühl's role did not go unnoticed, and he soon had a full slate of projects, including the Clive Owen-starring horror movie "Intruders" (2011). In the fall of 2013, Brühl went head-to head with Chris Hemsworth in the tense biopic "Rush," playing Niki Lauda, an Austrian race-car driver determined to defeat Hemsworth's swaggering James Hunt, leading to a dramatic life-changing incident. While awards talk followed both Brühl and the movie, he had more major films waiting in the wings - another biographical drama, "The Fifth Estate" (2013), co-starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the ensemble espionage tale "A Most Wanted Man" (2013).
Cast (Feature Film)
Featured in "Ladies in Lavender"
Appeared in "Joyeux Noel"
Starred in "Salvador (Puig Antich)"
Appeared in "2 Days in Paris"