Franka Potente
Birth Date:
July 22, 1974
Birth Place:
Dülmen bei Münster, Germany
5' 8½" (1.74 m)
Famous for:
Her role as the red headed titular role in 'Run Lola Run' (1998)
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The Bourne Identity


German actress Franka Potente came to international prominence starring in Tom Tykwer's “Run Lola Run” (1998), from which she nabbed a Bambi Award, an International Biennal for Film Music Award and a Chlotrudis nomination. She won a Bavarian Film Award for her performance in Hans-Christian Schmid's “After Five in the Forest Primeval” (1995) and a Bavarian TV Award for the television film “Opera Ball” (1998). She also received an Audience Award for German Actor/Actress of the Year from the German Film Awards in 1999 and 2000. Other notable work includes appearances in “Anatomy” (2000), “The Princess and the Warrior” (2000), “Creep” (2004) and “Manhunt” (TV, 2008). After several years of praised roles in German films, Potente acquired recognition in Hollywood with her portrayal of Marie Helena Kreutz in “The Bourne Identity” (2002) and “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004). She also acted in American films like “Blow” (2001), “Try Seventeen” (2002), “I Love Your Work” (2002), “Che: Part Two” (2008) and “Shanghai” (2010) and the Australian film “Romulus, My Father” (2007). On television, she has guest starred in “The Shield” (3 episodes, 2007), “House M.D.” (1 episode, 2009) and “Psych” (1 episode, 2010). Potente received an Adolf Grimme Award for the silent black and white movie “Digging for Belladona” (2006), which she wrote and directed.

Potente speaks fluent German, French and English. She was a member of the jury at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival. She has been romantically linked to director/writer Tom Tykwer, who directed her in “Run Lola Run” (1998) and “The Princess and the Warrior” (split up in 2002) and her “Try Seventeen” co-star Elijah Wood.


Childhood and Family:

Franka Potente was born on July 22, 1974, in Dülmen bei Münster, Germany. She is the eldest of two children born to a teacher father (Dieter Potente) and a medical assistant mother (Hildegard Potente). Her brother, Stefan Potente, is three years younger than she is and was very sick when he was born. Franka was envious of the way he was treated and often acted like a clown and arranged performances in order to receive more attention. This led to her choosing acting as her career.

Franka attended German Gymnasium High School and when she was 17, spent several, months as an exchange student in Humble High School in Houston, Texas. After her graduation in 1994, she trained for two years at the Otto Falckenberg School of Performing Arts in Munich. She also studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.

Run Lola Run


Franka Potente made her acting debut in the student film “Aufbruch” (1995) while studying in Munich. Before long she was discovered by a casting agent and landed her first leading role in “After Five in the Forest Primeval” (“Nach Fünf im Urwald,” 1995), a romantic comedy directed and co-written by Hans-Christian Schmid. Portraying teenager Anna, she won a 1996 Bavarian Film for Best Young Actress for her performance. After completing her training at Lee Strasberg, she returned to Europe and worked in German and French movies.

Potente branched out to German television with a guest role in “Zwei Brüder” (1996, as Mara) and the following year, starred as Nina in the TV movie special “Coming In” (1997), opposite Steffen Wink and Helmut Berger. She then portrayed Lisa Manocci, opposite Line Renaud, Florence Thomassin, Gérard Rinaldi and Xavier Deluc, in the television film “Une vie pour une autre” (1997) and Lily in “Easy Day” (1997), a short film by Hans Horn. The same year, she costarred with Wigald Boning and Axel Milberg in Peter F. Bringmann's comedy “Babes' Petrol.”

However, Potente did not gain notice on the small screen until she was cast as Gabrielle Becker in the made for TV film “Opera Ball”(1998), which was directed by Urs Egger with a script by Josef Haslinger that was adapted from a 1995 novel by Austrian writer Josef Haslinger. Her performance earned a Bavarian TV Award for Best Actress and a RTL Golden Lion nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Costars of the film included Heiner Lauterbach, Frank Giering, Caroline Goodall, Gudrun Landgrebe and Désirée Nosbusch. Also in 1998, Potente received her breakthrough role in “Run Lola Run” (“Lola rennt”), a German thriller written and directed by Tom Tykwer that starred Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni. The film won 26 awards out of 41 nominations, including the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival, and seven separate wins at the German Film Awards. It also emerged as a popular film in Europe despite being produced on a small budget. For her performance, Potente was handed a 1998 Bambi for Film - National, a 1999 International Biennal Film Music for Special Prize of the German Phono Academy, and a Chlotrudis nomination for Best Actress. Director Tykwe first met the actress in a café and then wrote the part for her. Potente also performed the songs “Wish,” “Running One,” “Running Two” and “Running Three” on the soundtrack.

Potente was next cast as Linda in Doris Dörrie's “Am I Beautiful” (Bin ich schön,” 1998), starring Marie Zielcke, Carla Weindler and Julian Messner, starred as Peggy, opposite Teemu Aromaa and Andreas Brucker, in “Downhill City” (1999), a drama written and directed by Hannu Salonen, and appeared in the short “Winke und lächle” (1999) by Enrico Boetcher. She also had a small role in the Thomas Bahmann directed “Our Island in the South Pacific” (“Südsee, eigene Insel,” 1999) and costarred with Ken Duken and Heiner Lauterbach in the action film “Schlaraffenland” (1999), which was co-written and directed by Friedemann Fromm.

Entering the new millennium, Potente starred as Paula Henning, a medical student involved in a mystery, in the thriller “Anatomy” (2000), opposite Benno Fürmann and Anna Loos. Directed and written by Stefan Ruzowitzky, the film won an Audience Award for German Film of the Year at the 2000 German Film Awards, 2nd place for Best International Film at the 2000 Fant-Asia Film Festival and a German Camera nomination for Feature Film. It enjoyed box office success in Germany and Columbia Pictures released the film's English dubbed version in the United States theatrically. The same year, Potente also starred in the drama “The Princess and the Warrior” (2000), a reunion with director/writer Tom Tykwer. For her performance, she was nominated for a Film Award in Gold for Outstanding Individual Achievement: Actress at the 2001 German Film Awards, an Audience Award for Best Actress at the 2001 European Film Awards and a 2002 Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress. The next year, she was cast as Barbara Buckley in “Blow,” a Ted Demme directed biopic about the American cocaine smuggler George Jung (played by Johnny Depp). Scripted by Nick Cassavetes and David McKenna and based on the 1993 book “Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All” by Bruce Porter, the film was met with mixed reviews and did not perform that well at the box office. She next appeared in Todd Solondz's “Storytelling,” which was screened at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

Thanks to her good performance in “Run Lola Run,” Potente was approached by director Doug Liman to star as Marie Helena Kreutz in “The Bourne Identity” (2002), opposite Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. The film received positive reviews and enjoyed huge success at the box office. The same year, she also portrayed Jane in “Try Seventeen,” a coming-of-age film directed by Jeffrey Porter that was written by Charles Kephart. In the movie, she costarred with Elijah Wood and Mandy Moore. Potente next reprised the role of Paula Henning in the sequel “Anatomy 2” (2003, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky), costarred with Giovanni Ribisi, Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Marisa Coughlan, Jason Lee, Lake Bell and Vince Vaughn in the American psychological thriller “I Love Your Work,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 5, 2003, and starred in the German drama “Blueprint” (2003), opposite Ulrich Thomsen and Hilmir Snær Guðnason. Potente also reprised the role of Marie for “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), which was directed by Paul Greengrass. The same year, she portrayed Trixie Boudain in “The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 2: Vaux to the Sea,” by Peter Greenaway, and Kate in “Creep,” a horror film written and directed by Christopher Smith.

Potente resurfaced in 2006 when she played Annabelle in “The Elementary Particles,” a German film based on the novel “Atomised” by Michel Houellebecq. It was directed and written by Oskar Roehler and produced by Oliver Berben and Bernd Eichinger. The same year, she made her directorial debut with the short “Digging for Belladona,” which she wrote. The film brought her a 2008 Adolf Grimme Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, which she shared with Frank Griebe. The next year, she costarred with Eric Bana, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Marton Csokas in the Australian film “Romulus, My Father,” the directorial debut of Richard Roxburgh, and was handed an Australian Film Institute (AFI) nomination for Best Lead Actress for her portrayal of Christina. She was also cast in Robert Young's “Eichmann” (2007) and had the recurring role of Diro Kesakhian on the FX dramatic series “The Shield” (3 episodes, 2007). After starring with Yvan Attal in the German/French television film “Manhunt” (2008), Potente was cast as Tania Bunke in “Che: Part Two” (2008), a Steven Soderbergh film that starred Benicio del Toro. She next portrayed Elfie Bauer in the German TV film “The Bridge” (2008) and guest starred in an episode of Fox's “House M.D.” (2009).

In 2010, Potente played the supporting role of Leni in Mikael Håfström's “Shanghai,” opposite John Cusack, Gong Li, Chow Yun-fat, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, David Morse and Ken Watanabe, and portrayed Valerie in the German movie “Small Lights.” On September 8, 2010, she portrayed Nadia in an episode of USA Network's “Psych” called “One, Maybe Two, Ways Out.” She then portrayed a passenger named Hilda Smith in “The Sinking of the Laconia,” a two part TV film first broadcasted on BBC Two on January 6 and 7, 2011.

Potente will play Beate Uhse in the upcoming TV film “Beate Uhse - Ich will Freiheit für die Liebe” (2011), directed by Hansjörg Thurn and written by Timo Berndt.

In addition to being an actress, Potente released the singles “Believe” (1998), “Wish (Komm Zu Mir)” (1998), “Easy Day” (1999) and “Fly With Me” (2001). She also plays the violin and the flute. In addition, Potente wrote the books “Los Angeles - Berlin. Ein Jahr” (2005), “Der die Tollkirsche ausgräbt, Drehbuch zum Film” (2006), “Kick Ass - Das alternative Workout” (2009) and “Zehn: Stories” (2010).


  • Adolf Grimme (German): Outstanding Individual Achievement, “Digging for Belladona,” 2008

  • German Film: Audience Award, German Actor/Actress of the Year, 2000

  • German Film: Audience Award, German Actor/Actress of the Year, 1999

  • International Biennal for Film Music: Special Prize of the German Phono Academy, “Run Lola Run,” 1999

  • Bambi Film - National: “Run Lola Run,” 1998

  • Bavarian TV: “Opera Ball,” 1998

  • Bavarian Film: Best Young Actress (Darstellernachwuchspreis), “Nach Fünf im Urwald,” 1996

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