Was she or wasn’t she? This is the question that occupies the viewers in the Black Forest crime thriller “Tatort: Sara’s Confession” (February 13, the first). Actress Johanna Wokalek (46) embodies the insecure publishing heiress Sara Manzer, who seems to be involved in a murder case again just released from prison, with bravura. The Parisian by choice is a rare guest in the Sunday thriller. So far she has appeared in the two Frankfurt thrillers “Tatort: Der tote Chinese” (2008) and “Tatort: False Rabbit” (2019).
Two Grimme Awards and almost a Golden Globe
The feature film “Aimée & Jaguar” (1999) by Max Färberböck (71) with Juliane Köhler (56), Maria Schrader (56), Johanna Wokalek and other today’s top stars won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale as well as the German and the Bavarian Movie Award. In 2000, Wokalek’s debut film was even nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. She herself received three young talent and advancement awards in the same year.
And she kept getting noticed. For her role in Hans Steinbichler’s (55) homeland film “Hierankl” (2003) she was able to look forward to her first Grimme Prize, for the historical TV film “Landgericht – Geschichte eines Families” (2017, ZDF) about her second.
In “The Baader Meinhof Complex” (2008) by director Uli Edel (74) she played the terrorist RAF member Gudrun Ensslin (1940-1977). The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Johanna Wokalek also caused a stir as “Pope Joan” (2009), who, according to legend, held the highest church office in the High Middle Ages.
“I’m always up for roles that unleash a fantasy in me while reading the book. I’m looking for an openness, an encounter with something new,” said the versatile actress in an interview with the “Tagesspiegel” in 2018. And that obviously includes low-budget films or Til Schweiger films like “Barfuss” (2005) and entertaining comedies like “Wuff – Folge dem Hund” (2018) by Detlev Buck (59) or “Beckenrand Sheriff” (2021 ) meant by Marcus H. Rosenmüller (48).
Born in Freiburg (Breisgau), she is married to the conductor Thomas Hengelbrock (63). The couple have a son.