By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 23, 2013 at 2:08PM
Meet another master of accents.
Spanish/German star Daniel Brühl not only co-starred with Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Fifth Estate," the opening night film at September's Toronto International FIlm Festival, but with Chris Hemsworth in another international story based on real people, "Rush," directed by Ron Howard. When "Rush" debuted in Toronto, also grabbing a round of applause was the man Brühl was playing, legendary Formula 1 racer Niki Lauda, his face still scarred by a near-fatal 1976 racing crash.
In “The Fifth Estate” Brühl plays Berliner Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who falls under the sway of Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Bill Condon's timely and ambitious portrait of the many ways that the Internet has changed the way information--even classified documents-- has boosted Brühl's profile stateside, where he is best known for his role as a Nazi hero in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" and a supporting role in "The Bourne Ultimatum."
But "Rush," written by Peter Morgan (Howard's "Frost/Nixon") and produced by Imagine and Working Title, could make Brühl a star, especially if he nabs awards attention for his portrait of the fiercely competitive Austrian Formula 1 driver. In fact a supporting actor nomination and possibly such tech nominations as makeup, sound and VFX (a very competitive category) are the film's best Oscar shots at this point. The well-reviewed movie could get a boost from critics groups; it topped out at $43 million worldwide.
Brühl leaned on Lauda for advice on how to make his portrayal ring true. See my flipcam interview below.