August Diehl of 'A Hidden Life' Discusses The True Story of Hero Franz Jägerstätter | NowThis

- August Diehl, I have a question:

so, "A Hidden Life" is based on very tragic, true story

around World War II.

So, what was the most challenging part

of stepping into the shoes of Franz?

- The hardest, also the most strengthful part

was actually the whole prison scenes because

and I remember that was really also doing something,

you know, after a while

And also, being in the real prisons

and you see, on the walls, like

all these little signs.

with tools from this period of time.

We met a group of farmers

who taught us how to use all these tools,

and I remember they were pretty strict with us.

But I didn't really feel the difference

between working and the weeks before,

and then entering the shooting.

That was a very smooth change.

We kind of chronologically shot the whole movie.

Which was very helpful

because when I was later then, in prison,

- It sounds like you lost yourself in this role.

Would that be a fair statement to make?

- It was more, I would put it that

Like real journey from the whole arc.

And although we didn't shoot so long,

it was like, I think, eight weeks, or something,

it felt like a half a year, or something.

That must be rare.

- It was more like a journey into a

I remember that, during the whole shooting,

I went more and more-also privately-more and more silent,

and not so much speaking anymore.

- And I want to talk about one of the more harrowing scenes

for me to watch, which was the court room scene.

What was it like to film that,

given that this was the real courtroom

where Nazis actually sentenced people to death?

- Actually, when I look back on the whole shooting,

also the farms at the beginning were

the prisons were

the courtroom was a

The whole time, it felt very, very real, the whole thing.

Of course, it was special to be in the real courtroom

where Franz Jägerstätter got sentenced to death.

- That's so eerie, to even hear about that.

Did you feel Franz's energy with you,

while you were shooting?

I can imagine how extraordinary it would feel

to be in the exact places where he was.

- The craziest thing, actually, was to be in his

That was also the time where the daughters

were attending us on set.

They were still alive, and when I'm talking about this,

I remember that an old lady was looking through the door,

looking at me, I didn't know who she is,

and then she was smiling at me,

and then Terry said, "That's Martyr Jagerstatter

And I was like "oh God, okay."

- My God, I just got chills.


And I know you only use German and Austrian

characters on set,

so how else did you try and maintain the authenticity

of this story?

- I was a bit irritated, at the beginning,

that we're doing this whole thing in English,

but that was only a short moment.

After a while, it was completely out of my head,

and I felt completely natural in this,

because we were all speaking English on set.

- How did you stay truthful to these people and their story?

This couple was very known, also, in their own village

as people that were showing their love,

and that was not normal in those days.

Remember the day when we first met?

My best dress.

You looked at me, and I knew.

- And then there are these letters,

between Franz and Fannie,

which I really recommend to read

because it's a very touching documentation, actually,

of a couple who were very, very close

in a very complicated time.

- Why do you think it is so important,

particularly for young people,

to learn about these type of films?

Why do we need to be reminded

of what happened during the Holocaust?

- Well, this, the thing is not so much about the Holocaust,

it's more general.

And that's very interesting

because that was something that was in my head

the whole time.

It's about

If God gives us free will,

we're responsible for what we do,

what we fail to do.

It's lacking an our society, more and more,

because I have the feeling that

This was in my mind, and our story with Franz Jagerstatter

you know, he's not having a political clan,

like Gandhi or like other people who saved Jews,

or did a real act.

He was just saying, like a child, seeing that this is wrong,

and saying 'no,'

because he felt it's wrong.

And it creates a political thing.

You cannot say 'no'

to your race and your home.

You are a traitor.

- Although, he doesn't want to be political.

That's the nice thing about Franz Jagerstatter,

in my opinion.

And that's also the bridge to our society today,

because this is lacking.

And it creates something.

I can't do what I believe is wrong.

(dramatic music)

We have to stand up to evil.

(dramatic music)

Whatever you do,

I'm with you.