Nicolai Tegeler grew up in Berlin. He comes from an acting family, his mother is the actress Melitta Tegeler, his grandfather was the actor Ludwig F. Kerscher. At the age of 15, he joined an off-theater group. His first TV shoot was an episode lead role for the ARD in “Dr. Sommerfeld – News from the Bülowbogen”. After living in New York, he completed his acting training at the Fritz Kirchhoff School in Berlin from 2000 to 2003, which he finished with the stage. Since then, Nicolai Tegeler has appeared in numerous television, film and stage roles.
Between 2005 and 2007 he was an ensemble member of the Berlin cabaret theater “The Porcupines”. There he worked in the programs “Klassenkrampf” and “Um Haarespleite”. In 2008 Tegeler directed and produced the short film “Hochzeitstag” (leading roles: Wolfgang Bahro and Nora Jensen). In 2009 he founded together with Alexander Kiersch the film production company Colafilm.
Since 2008 he has been the good companion in the Berlin production of “Jedermann” by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, directed by Brigitte Grothum. Since 2012 he has made guest appearances with cabaret pieces at the Theater Berliner Kabarett Anstalt in Kreuzberg.
Nicolai Tegeler’s center of life is Berlin.
London Prestige Interview with Actor Nicolai Tegeler
London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.
Nicolai Tegeler: I grew up in Berlin (west) as an only child with the Berlin Wall and a divided city. But in that part of the city we had everything – I lived like on an island with special rights. Of course, I experienced that from a child’s point of view, but it was an intriguing time. That changed, of course, with the fall of the Wall – and the city grew and got bigger. Today I can no longer imagine a divided Berlin and I like the many faces of this city.
I always wanted siblings, but instead of that I always had a lot of animals around me: a dog, a cat, a bird, a hamster, a rabbit – they were like my siblings and I had to take care of my animals completely.
My mother was the actress Melitta Tegeler, my grandfather was the actor Ludwig F. Kerscher. At the age of fifteen, I joined an off-theater group after watching a movie in which my mother played a role.
With the appearance of my mother in the movie, I knew that I wanted to go to the movies and to the stage!
But first I had to finish school and high school. After that I did my civil service in an open psychiatry before I could finally visit a drama school in Berlin, getting the certificate of stage maturity.
Now it should start, I was a trained actor.
London Prestige: What are you currently working on?
Nicolai Tegeler: At the moment I am working on a few things: First of all, I am a production manager at the Jedermann Festival (for the first time) which will take place in Potsdam this year during fall and I’ll be acting in it as well.
Furthermore, I’m currently shooting for various TV and film formats in Germany. Sometimes I play a policeman, then a manic depressive family man and a walker who gets into an accident.
London Prestige: What made you take this role?
Nicolai Tegeler: I love the variety of my job. And the many areas where you can work as an actor. That’s why I wanted to be an actor – I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow. The creative and, above all, the spontaneous and varied life which I’ve built myself, is why I chose it.
London Prestige: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?
Nicolai Tegeler: Based on my current and previous roles, I can say that I play either dads, young guys who have a “bang”, or actually the bad guys. Or sometimes the classic roles as prince, etc.
My roles want to entertain, bring fun or simply hit the “clean”.
London Prestige: Tell us a little bit more about this film, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director?
Nicolai Tegeler: My last movie was a Monty Python-style comedy – very weird, funny and a bit trashy. I played with Comedy Stars from Berlin, Germany (“When Edith’s bells toll”) – I co-directed and produced this feature film.
Currently I’m shooting a TV movie / TV series, a true crime thriller in which I play a police officer who is always looking at the wrong end together with his colleague (Doreen Jacobi). It is a drama, with true events – very exciting and entertaining – directed by Hansjörg Thurn and great actor, like Harald Schrott, Dietmar Bär and Claude Oliver Rudolph.
London Prestige: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?
Nicolai Tegeler: My role in “In the Deathroom” – I got the offer to play a young man who suddenly wakes up in a dark room and was captured. Due to his powerlessness he flees to another world in his mind and tries to bring clarity into the situation.
He succeeds only at the very end and he can free himself.
It was not always easy to do the splits, to defend oneself and to be tortured while remaining totally authentic. Because the tendency to indulge in one or the other feeling was always given. To take this back and yet stay strong and weak at the same time was the challenge.
London Prestige: And the most fun one?
Nicolai Tegeler: The Greek plumber, Costa Kakalakies in the movie “When Edith’s bells toll”- who always understands everything a little differently and lives in his own world but is basically a good-natured guy.
London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
Nicolai Tegeler: In comparison to my work, this was certainly among others:
I played in Berlin in a cabaret house as an integral part of an ensemble. At the same time I shot near Vienna. I had two days of shooting – but every evening at 8pm I had to play a show in Berlin.
That was the longest day of my life.
In the morning I flew with the first machine from Berlin to Vienna and in the evening back to Berlin. On the first day of shooting in Vienna everything went well and I was on time in the theater. The second day of shooting was different. The shoot took longer than expected. And the plane was late. Finally, I landed in Berlin at 07:40 pm – at 8:00 pm I had to be on stage and I was miles away from the theater. Luckily, a friend picked me up. I was in the theater within 10 minutes and on stage at 08.05. Phew, just managed everything and played a nice show.
London Prestige: What training / education do you have? How has your training prepared you for you acting career?
Nicolai Tegeler: Before I went to the acting school, I already made the first films or participated in feature films and television series. At the same time I took private acting lessons, singing lessons and language lessons. Then I started playing off – theater and visited, always with a longer stay, London and New York and had a look at the drama schools and their education over there. Ultimately, however, I completed my acting training in Germany.
I was good at school. But after finishing, I didn’t get jobs right away. It was a process and I realized that you have to be persistent and always believe in yourself. Never stop! Always go on. I quickly realized that I wanted to be independent but I was kind of dependent on who occupied me. So I looked for ways that allowed me to work creatively, in front of and behind the camera or the micro.
London Prestige: Is there any academy or professional in the field that you enjoyed working with that you would like to recommend in your city?
Nicolai Tegeler: To be honest, there are a lot of international professionals with whom I would like to work with, but we also have great professionals here in Germany and I have been able to work with some of them – that’s always good, because you can learn from and with them.
London Prestige: Who is your favorite director to work with and why?
Nicolai Tegeler: There are some directors I love, for example Christopher Nolan – because he brought the best ‘”Batman” in the cinemas – totally cinematic, great pictures.
or, unfortunately, no longer among the living: Billy Wilder – for his courage and his creativity and wit.
Or Clint Eastwood – for the way he tells films and captivates the viewer on the screen.
London Prestige: Have you ever considered branching out into directing or screenwriting?
Nicolai Tegeler: Sure! I’ve been doing that for a while. Also a lot about my production (www.colafilm.com) and in conversation with decision makers! The last film was “When Edith’s bells toll” – www.edithsglocken.de.
Currently I’m shooting 3 clips for an exciting company as a director.
London Prestige: Where have you played a lead role? What was the character about?
Nicolai Tegeler: For example, on a TV series in Germany – I played the brother of my very successful sister, who was an ace in everything, unlike me who didn’t get his stuff done. My role was the “bad one”. But in the end though, my part saves her and brings her back to life.
London Prestige: Do you have any theatrical experience? What plays have you performed?
Nicolai Tegeler: Yes, I have! In addition to engagements on stages such as the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, the Theater Magdeburg, die Stachelschweine and the Hansa Theater in Berlin, I participated in many films and television productions, e.g. in “The Tunnel”, “Alarm for Cobra 11”, “Practice Bülowbogen” and the movie “Three Star Red” (directed by Olaf Kaiser). I was allowed to work with directors like Carmen Kurz, Patrick Winczewski, Rüdiger Nüchtern and Roland Suso.
London Prestige: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
Nicolai Tegeler: I would probably look for something where I am likely to flourish in a good working environment. Something with media or journalists – or I would try to work as an Entertainer or as a host of a major TV show.
London Prestige: What have you seen lately that’s inspired you?
Nicolai Tegeler: The Etruscan smile – Brian Cox in the leading role, really great and our Earth part 2 – impressing, the pictures and of course: our Earth.
London Prestige: What television shows or show would you love most to be on?
Nicolai Tegeler: I like the show “Wer wird Millionär!” and here and there sometimes a crime series, “our teacher” and “alarm for cobra 11”
London Prestige: What’s your goal for this year?
Nicolai Tegeler: To make more movies again! To anchor “Jedermann” successfully in Potsdam and still make a movie of my own.
London Prestige: What is your advice for aspiring actors?
Nicolai Tegeler: Keep going! Never give up and always have your goal at heart. There are good and bad days, but you should never stop, go on and on.
Be curious and stay that way. Feel like a child once a day. Do something crazy and do not be too customized – go your own way! Let yourself be inspired by actors who have made it in your opinion – read their biographies. Go to the cinema and theater. Have a circle of friends that have nothing to do with acting. Be always yourself – that is a development. But the older you get, the clearer things get – enjoy every moment, even the bad ones.