As a 12-year-old, Clemens Schick dreamt of becoming a circus artist: this may not then have become reality, but he has nevertheless come close to it in a way with his subsequent career as an actor for film and television by travelling to different places with a production before upping sticks like a circus troupe to move on to the next location. After studies at Ulm’s Academy of Performing Arts and the Berlin School of Drama, Clemens established himself as a leading stage actor appearing in classic and modern plays at theatres throughout Germany as well as Austria and Switzerland. This all changed in 2006 when international audiences first became acquainted with him as the character of “Kratt”, the foreboding bodyguard to Mads Mikkelsen’s villain “Le Chiffre” in the 21st outing of the James Bond franchise, CASINO ROYALE.
From then on, film and television roles have beckoned and Clemens has only made the journey back to the stage for his one-man show WINDOWS: OR LET’S IMAGINE BILL GATES AS A HAPPY PERSON. “I’ve never been one to make that distinction between pop and art,” he explains when looking back at his eclectic line-up of acting credits for the big and small screens. “I’ve worked on big international blockbuster productions like CASINO ROYALE or LARGO WINCH II as well as international arthouse films like FUTURO BEACH or German-language arthouse such as HIDDEN RESERVES and then there have been parts in TV series like DER BARCELONA-KRIMI, THE BOAT or the new Stars Wars series ANDOR.”
“When I’m making a decision on whether to take a role there are various factors to consider,” Clemens says. “To begin with, the character I would play, then there’s the film’s story, who the director is and who else is involved in the project.”
“I say this, but I didn’t get to see a screenplay for DOGMAN before I agreed to take on the role!” In fact, working with Luc Besson on DOGMAN, which premiered in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, was something like a dream come true as Clemens had been completely bowled over when he saw the Frenchman’s 1988 film LE GRAND BLEU as a 16 year-old and it left a deep impression upon him. While his busy schedule working on German and international film and TV projects have not allowed him to perhaps consider returning to the stage, two of his recent films have nevertheless made it possible for him to draw upon that background of having worked in the theatre.
One of these was Christopher Roth’s SO LONG DADDY, SEE YOU IN HELL which premiered at the Filmfest München in 2022 and features Clemens as the self-appointed “King” and “Daddy” commune leader “Otto” in a tour de force performance which earned him a nomination at this year’s German Film Awards in the category for “Best Supporting Actor”.
And he was cast as one of the prosecutors in RP Kahl’s screen adaptation of the Peter Weiss play THE INVESTIGATION. The drama was shot over the course of five days in August on the sound stages of Studio Berlin Adlershof after four weeks of rehearsals with an illustrious ensemble of acting colleagues including Rainer Bock, Bernhard Schütz, André Hennicke, Nicolette Krebitz and Christiane Paul, among others.
But Clemens has other strings to his bow apart from his acting career: he has been working on writing his first novel and also used the time when filming came to a halt during the pandemic two years ago to put pen to paper on a screenplay entitled WESTLAND. “WESTLAND is a family drama, a fairy tale, a western set in the near future somewhere in the nowhere,” he says. “It’s a film about Fred, a janitor in a country gym, whose life is so quiet that it is almost unbearable, until Luki, a singer and transwoman, rehearses for her next concert in the gym. Fred sees her and is touched, which changes everything in his life, just like everyone else‘s in the village.”
Felix von Boehm’s production company Lupa Filmproduktion and Jan Krüger of Port au Prince Pictures have been brought onboard as producers and Clemens has already started building up a team. “I’ve always liked telling stories,” he explains. “whether it was on the way to school each day, later in the theatre, and then in films and for television. And now I’ll be doing it with my own screenplay.”