February 1, 2011

Diane Kruger, Caught in a Web of Deceit in "Unknown"

German-born actress Diane Kruger stars as a Bosnian refugee cab driver who becomes embroiled in intrigue when her cab plunges off a bridge and she saves the life of Liam Neeson’s character, in Warner Bros.’ new mystery thriller “Unknown.”

Kruger, first brought to international attention in her role as the ravishing Helen in Wolfgang Peterson’s “Troy,” and more recently as the cinematic diva Bridget von Hammersmark in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds,” was the ideal screen partner for Neeson. “We were very fortunate to get Diane, who gave such a brave performance in `Inglorious Basterds,’” says director Jaume Collet-Serra. “Diane is beautiful, sexy, stylish, a great actress. She worked very hard to create a compelling and realistic character. She had a lot of physical stuff to do, keeping up with Liam through all of the action, and she certainly kept up her end. She’s been a pleasure to work with throughout, really a team player.”

In the film, Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn’t recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run. Aided by an unlikely ally (Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he’s willing to go to uncover the truth.

Like Neeson, Diane Kruger sings praises to the script: “It’s really a movie about identity, about what makes us who we are. Is it our ID? Is it where we come from? Is it our objectives? Really, the movie is an exploration of these ideas; each character has certain things to say about that. My character, Gina, is a Bosnian refugee, someone who is running away from her past and trying to establish herself in a new country, illegally. So she’s looking for her own life and identity, much as Martin Harris is seeking his. When they meet, they bond quickly because they have an immediate problem; they’re both being chased. Their first common objective is to survive, and that makes an immediate bond. But once that settles down a bit, there’s an immense amount of conflict because she’s been drawn further away from her personal goals, and into deep trouble by Martin Harris’s situation. In the course of the movie, she grows to understand him more than anybody else, and that creates a more intimate bond.”

Kruger was particularly taken by the twists the story takes. “All the clues are there, sprinkled throughout the script,” she explains. “So, when the twist happens, you realize that what you’ve seen during the course of the film may have had a different meaning than you had first assumed. Everything shifts a bit, and now everything makes a very satisfying kind of sense. The twist in this film makes a very interesting journey for our main character, that I think helped to make Martin a very attractive role for Liam. It has action and suspense, but the action is fully grounded and motivated by character and the circumstances. It’s not over the top; it’s very realistic and grounded in the story.”

Opening soon across the Philippines, “Unknown” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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