I called for the documents and I went and I discovered on the first page that she was lying. Nobody in Germany knew she lied. She said, "I wasn't distributing leaflets. I am innocent." You learn she is a human being who fights for her life. She's afraid of death and she wants to live. She's in a room with a 44-year-old Gestapo interrogation specialist. After three days, he wants to save her life. But then she says she would do the same thing over again and accept the consequences. This was so fascinating and emotional I made a movie out of it. But I only had the film's running time of two hours to capture these final days on film.
Along those lines of her lying, the film deals with her version of events from a historical viewpoint and yet we know she lies. How did you negotiate what was or is the truth?
Rothemund: I tried giving the main part of this movie to the original word and to the original action. It was important I get very good actors to bring these words to life in an emotional way. But it's all true. It's a true story.
What was your impression of Sophie Scholl before you read the script and took on the role?
Julia Jentsch: I knew about her and the White Rose. Of course it was very interesting to get to know more about what happened and the background.
What do you think you have in common with Sophie Scholl?
Rothemund: Maybe it's better if I say it: honesty and empathy. I chose actors who have empathy for other people, who are passionate about telling the story.
You played a rebel in The Edukators. Do you like playing rebels?
Jentsch: It's an accident. For me, the two roles are different. But actors change to become someone else, to feel responsible not only for yourself.
What kind of pressure did you feel playing this heroic figure?
Jentsch: I was worried what the people who knew Sophie - who were still alive - would think. How would it be seeing this person playing this person they know? If the pressure were too much I wouldn't have done it.
Recently we have seen films from Germany dealing with women and resistance movements. Why do you think those films are being made?
Rothemund: I am glad we have a movie that is not always dealing with a man in uniform. Most of the movies about that war are about men in uniform. In the 1980s, there were many films about resistance and they were very political. This generation of filmmakers does not feel guilty but responsible to keep it in the heads of the younger generations. We are the first generation who can make emotional movies about it. But to answer your question specifically, it is easier for today's audiences to identify with woman who were not soldiers, who were not eyewitnesses to the murder on the Eastern Front.
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