Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Deeper Dish with Jo Weil
Jo Weil is best known for his role as Oliver "Olli" Sabel on the German television soap opera, Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love), which he first appeared on from 1999 to 2002. When he returned to the show in 2007, Olli fell in love with Christian (played by Thore Schölermann), and together they began heating up the airwaves as "Chrolli", one of the hottest gay couples on TV.
The actor has also appeared on the German TV series, Medicopter 117, Tatort and SOKO 5113, and in 2014, he will be making his American feature film debut in the psychosexual thriller, Installation, written and directed by Chad Darnell (you can help support this project by donating to its Indiegogo campaign). Jo even has his own 2014 calendar, JOurney (you can watch the "making of" videos below).
I am delighted to have the handsome Mr. Weil here on the Dish to discuss his career and answer a few pop culture questions.
How did you first get cast in the role of Olli on Verbotene Liebe?
I was still in drama school when I was offered a very small (extra) part playing someone in a bar who complained about a drink. The filming went well and the producers decided to give me a bigger chance and cast me for a guest role on one episode (as a different character). As this got me attention by the fans of the show, I was finally offered the part of Olli. In the beginning he was only a small part, but after four months of filming, the producers asked me whether I'd like to be one of the leads because the reactions of the fans towards my character were very good. I didn't hesitate a second and immediately said yes.
Why did you leave Verbotene Liebe in 2002? And what brought you back to the show in 2007?
As I was saying earlier, I started doing the show while I was still in drama school, so after two years of playing the same character, I felt that urge to grow as an actor by playing different parts as well. I decided to leave the show - on my own will - and immediately got cast for the lead in a successful action series, Medicopter 117. Next to that I started to play theater and do dubbing work. So basically I got the chance to improve my acting and to learn a lot. After five years I got a call and the producers asked me to return to Verbotene Liebe. At this point it felt absolutely right and so Olli came back to the show.
If I asked you to show me your favorite “Chrolli” scene and/or episode, which one would you choose?
There is one scene - in my opinion - that was very important for the whole Chrolli success, and that is the one when Christian and Olli finally give in to their emotions and have a romantic love scene to a beautiful song by SIA. As far as I know this is the most successful Chrolli clip on YouTube as well. I still think that this scene is somehow magical, and everything about it is special to me - so this would be one of my favorites. And the first wedding of Chrolli. I just love the whole episode because it's romantic, honest, funny and moving – one of the best episodes ever.
Tell us about Installation. What made you choose it as your American feature film debut?
Installation has a very strong and dark script. When I read it for the first time, I was surprised by all the plot twists, and that up until the end, I couldn't imagine the finale. That really got me into this project. Furthermore, "Charlie" is a very interesting character, and I liked the idea of how a single mistake can change your whole life. Last but not least, director Chad Darnell's last feature is a huge success on festivals right now, so I'm happy that we can work together.
Did you always want to be an actor?
As long as I can remember, I never wanted to do anything else. Even as a small child I kept saying "One day I will be an actor!" When I got older and learned how to write (at the age of seven), I wrote letters to the big German networks asking them to cast me for their shows. So acting has always been one of the few things I would and could do under any circumstances because it's the one thing that really makes me happy.
Besides Olli, what has been your favorite acting role? And is there a stage role that you would like to play someday?
The character I played in SOKO 5113 this year has been the most demanding role I have been allowed to play so far. It was very special and tough to play someone without lower legs. That was definitely the most complex role I ever had and I loved it. But doing Medicopter was great as well. I loved doing stunts and all the action – and flying in and outside of a helicopter is definitely almost as hot as sex. Stagewise I would love to play the male lead in the musical, Once.
What has been one of the most memorable and/or funniest encounters with a fan?
A few years ago I was at the Oktoberfest in Munich. We were drinking beer and at some point I needed to go to the restroom. When I was at a urinal and just about to pee, someone suddenly hugged me from behind and held a camera in my face. It was a fan who wanted to take a photo with me. Normally something I really like to do - but not while standing at the toilet! When I told him to wait for a few seconds, he didn't really understand because he was drunk. But finally he got his photo (outside of the restrooms) and I got a memory that I'll definitely never forget.
If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self a wise piece of advice, what would it be?
Always trust your gut, never regret anything (just learn from your mistakes) and don't listen to the ones who try to pull you down.
In high school I was:
Lazy as hell - as long as it wasn't about acting. I spent most of my time with my friends and did some jobs as a model.
My favorite comfort food is:
Pizza and burgers never fail to make me happy.
When I was growing up, I never missed a television episode of:
Alf, The A-Team, Baywatch and 90210.
Today I never miss a television episode of:
The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and The Following.
Three of my favorite movies are:
Love Actually, Brokeback Mountain and The Planet of the Apes.
My current favorite music to listen to is:
I'm very adaptable when it comes to music. At the moment I love listening to Olly Murs and Robbie Williams.
If I was asked to choose the Sexiest Man Alive, it would be:
If I could have anyone in the world – living or dead – be a guest at my dinner party, I would invite the following three people:
Lady Diana, Barack Obama and Alfred Hitchcock. Should promise to be an interesting and unique evening.
What’s next for Jo Weil?
I'm still filming Verbotene Liebe. Next to this I'm training for another guest role on a German crime show, which I will film in February. There are some other projects I can't talk about at this point - but most of all I'm really looking forward to coming to Atlanta to do Installation soon. This movie will be a blast!
Thank you, Jo, for getting Deeper with us here on the Dish. To learn more about Mr. Weil, visit his website at www.joweil.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credit: Christian Holthausen (and all the pics are from Jo's 2014 calendar, JOurney).