Helena Zengel shoots in Santa Fe 2

Helena Zengel shoots in Santa Fe

The 11-year-old actress is in front of the camera with American star Tom Hanks.

Helena Zengel shoots in Santa Fe

Helena Zengel is currently having a very exciting time. "Systemsprenger" was released in theaters in September. In it, the eleven-year-old is experienced just as aggressively as the vulnerable girl Benni. A young German Berliner has not been caught by a theater release in Germany. He has been making a new movie in the US for several weeks now. In "News of the World" she plays the lead role along with double Oscar winner Tom Hanks. The film is about a Johanna girl who was abducted by Indians in 1870. The children's side told Helena what she liked about her role:

Hello Helena, first of all congratulations, you are going through a very exciting time! How did you get started in Santa Fe now?

Thank you! Yes, everything is very exciting right now. The role, in addition to Tom Hanks, was basically about "The Sprenger System." Director Paul Greengrass saw me in Berlinale in February in this movie and then made contact.

How did you prepare for the shoot and the role?

I flew to the US on August 23 with my mother. The preparations then proceeded here in Santa Fe. Above all, I learned the language of the Kiowa Indians – not completely. Plus, I was allowed to learn how to ride west on the ranch. I can speak good English, western driving is something different. And of course, I read the script, in English and in German.

Is Kiowa language difficult?

Kiowa is a very interesting language, it sounds kind of dramatic. Much is summed up and much is said in the pictures. No, it wasn't hard to learn, of course I had to exercise a little.


How does such a day of filming go?


Recording days start at different times depending on the scene you select. I'm not in all the scenes, so sometimes I can sleep well. As exhausting as I feel the rotation at all, on the contrary, I could feel the clock turning. I mostly have school before the shoot. We have a caravan on two sides, one is a school room and the other is for me and my mother. Here I am taught daily by a teacher in the studio, it works pretty well. The girl Johanna I play lived with the Indians, so it takes a while for her hair and makeup. And then we go on set, sometimes to the desert, sometimes to the western city, depending on what he has and of course always with Tom.

Did you know movies with Tom Hanks?

For example, I viewed Captain Phillips as a preparation, which really impressed me.

What about the famous movie star? Did you initially intimidate you?

No, I was not intimidated, why so. He is – though very well known – a colleague. I asked him directly for a selfie. Tom is incredibly nice and cordial to me. I learn from him every day.


Do you have a relationship with friends in Germany?

Of course I keep in touch with my friends. We write about Whatsapp or facetimen. If I see her, I already miss her, but the weather is predictable.

What is the best in your character Johanna?

She's stubborn, very willing. I like it, so do I.