Günther Maria Halmer plays a grandpa in the new film. He is also expecting his second grandson privately. But how does the role work in Corona times?
With "Rosamunde Pilcher: Stadt, Land, Kuss", ZDF will start the "Pilcher" season on Sunday (January 17, 8:15 pm) due to the corona problem. Günther Maria Halmer (78, "Munich Stories") was also involved in the filming in England. He plays Sir Henry, a lousy ornithologist who has fallen out with half the village and unexpectedly meets his previously unknown grandson Luke (Leonard Artur Conrads).
In an interview with the news agency spot on news, the popular Bavarian actor explains among other things what, in his opinion, makes a good grandfather. He also talks about the difficult shooting conditions on the island.
Mr. Halmer, what do you think makes a good grandfather?
Günther Maria Halmer: I would like to be a good grandfather, but at the moment I can only be on the phone. First and foremost, a good grandfather is characterized by a very big heart, with an understanding of everything that moves children and young people. The grandfather no longer has to bring up, he leaves that to the parents. Instead, he can be benevolent, loving, and generous. That of course makes the grandfather very likeable.
Are you already a grandfather?
Halmer: Yes. I have a granddaughter who is two years old and at the moment we are expecting a new grandson from my other son every hour. It's going to be a boy and we're really looking forward to him. In the Corona narrows that is the exciting element in our current life and every time the phone goes off, we suspect the good news …
How do you keep in contact in times of corona?
Halmer: Unfortunately, we haven't been able to go to Berlin for months, where the two sons live with their families. We will probably not be able to visit our new grandchild for the time being either. Fortunately we can skype. We always do that with our granddaughter. She probably only knows us from her cell phone screen and doesn't even know how we are otherwise. We always get a lot of photos of her, which we are very happy about. Of course, it does not replace personal contact.
Is that a reason for you to get vaccinated as soon as possible?
Halmer: Yes, I will get vaccinated immediately if I can. I'm now relatively close to the 80-year-olds – although they aren't really vaccinated yet.
What do you do during lockdown when you're not spinning?
Halmer: Well, you're locked up and go for a walk. What else can you do? But it's the same for everyone.
Despite the corona pandemic, you were able to shoot "Rosamunde Pilcher: City, Country, Kiss" in England last year …
Halmer: Yes, it wasn't quite as bad then as it is now. After some back and forth, the shooting was allowed 14 days before the start. Everyone had to fill out a three-way visa for England and prove a negative corona test. Over there we were tested again immediately.
How do you like the tests? Very uncomfortable or is it okay?
Halmer: It's not pleasant when they run up through your nose to your brain or down your throat until it chokes you. But well, I've endured worse.
What happened after the Corona test? Did you shoot smoothly?
Halmer: Yes, but of course a mask was required everywhere on the set. They were only allowed to be removed when turning, eating and drinking. A fever was taken every morning. Everyone was driven to the location in their own car. In the hotel we had to wait in the morning until we were called and breakfast was brought to our table. The changes were felt everywhere. At the moment, it's not exactly the carefree life of an artist that you might imagine. We couldn't meet our colleagues in the evening either; instead, everyone sat alone in their own room.
Nevertheless, I am very happy that we pulled through because it would no longer be possible again.
You play Sir Henry, a rotten ornithologist who has fallen out with half the village and unexpectedly meets his previously unknown grandson. What do you think of your role?
Halmer: That's probably why they immediately cast me for this character: lousy, in a bad mood, whiner – that's Halmer! I liked the role. And I actually understand him too. He is an old man whose wife died early and who has become a misanthropist. But at least it has a character and is developing. I liked that. The story is based a little on "Der kleine Lord" (1980, Christmas classic, ed.).
Have you visited a real local lord?
Halmer: Yes. And it had a completely different status than that in the film. He was practically dressed and if you hadn't known you wouldn't have realized he was a lord. We first drove ten kilometers through his park to get to the house. He used to have 40 gardeners, now there are two. He owns the whole area, but he's not a rich man. He needs the income from filming and tourists. Many come to the region because of the Pilcher films and then drive from one location to the next.
What is your next film?
Halmer: "Die Vergesslichkeit der Eichhörnchen" (The First) with Emilia Schüle (28), Anna Stieblich (55), Fabian Hinrichs (born 1974) and many more. It is a very important film because it shows the disease dementia seriously and properly. He also addresses the work of young people from the Eastern Bloc who have to leave their families and children to look after old people in this country. I was very happy to be part of this low-budget flick because I think the subject is so important.
You most recently played in two of your colleagues' last films: with Hannelore Elsner (1942-2019) in "Long Live the Queen" (2020) and with Joseph Hannesschläger (1962-2020) in "Unadorned" (2019). Does that affect you, your attitude towards life or death?
Halmer: At my age you have many friends who have already died. In this respect, it doesn't flare up again, but one always realizes that we are finite. And it becomes more and more clear that it can happen at any time. On the other hand, we all know where it ends for us anyway.