Thomas Kretschmann was born in East Germany in 1962. In The Pianist, he perfectly portrays the role of Wilm Hosenfeld, the German officer that helps save Szpilman at the end of the war.
Kretschmann himself had to flee East Germany aged only 19 so it only comes naturally he handles difficult roles well. He crossed four borders during his trek with nothing but his passport and personal possessions in an equivalent of a hundred dollars, almost losing a finger during the quest. Before moving on to do acting, Kretschmann trained to become an Olympic swimmer.
When he began acting at the age of 25, he starred in various European movies and TV shows. Stalingrad was his first full-length movie in 1993 though he only rose in popularity with his impressive role as Hosenfeld in The Pianist.
Afterward, he’s been chosen to portray other military officer roles in Third Reich movies like Downfall, and Valkyrie for which he received major worldwide approval. Other larger appearances include the remake of the blockbuster King Kong, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’s also starred in ABC’s paranormal TV show, The River and in the action thriller Wanted side by side Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.
Apart from acting, he’s also done some voice over work in Cars 2 as well as some fashion modeling, with him being featured as the face for a Hugo Boss scent.
Kretschmann currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California, and has three children from a previous relationship.