Real name: Franka Potente
Birthdate: July 22, 1974
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Franka Potente (born on July 22, 1974) is a German film actress. She began her career in the comedy It's a Jungle Out There (1995) and gained critical recognition in the action thriller Run Lola Run (1998). After half a decade of critically acclaimed roles in German films, Potente gained Hollywood's attention by playing the role of Barbara Buckley in Blow (2001) and the female lead opposite Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity (2002). An accomplished dramatic actress, Potente received Germany's highest film and television awards for her performances in Run Lola Run and Opernball. Potente performs predominantly in supporting roles in a variety of low-budget and major studio films, ranging from romantic comedies and drama to science fiction and action thrillers.
Potente was born in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, and raised in nearby Dülmen, the elder of two children. Her father, Dieter Potente, is a teacher, and her mother, Hildegard, is a medical assistant. Her family name derives from her great-great-grandfather, who was from Sicily. She spent her last year of high school, at age 17, as an exchange student in Humble, Texas at Humble High School, where she loved to go to dances and sketch her classmates.
When Potente returned to Germany, she enrolled at the Otto Falkenberg School of Performing Arts in Munich. She took acting jobs outside school time and appeared in her first film in 1995, a student film, called Aufbruch. She was spotted by a casting agent and appeared in the film Nach Fünf im Urwald (It's a Jungle Out There), which was directed by her then boyfriend, Hans Christian Schmid. She received the 1995 Bavarian Film Prize for Young Talent for her work in this film. She undertook her last year of training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Manhattan.
Potente returned to Europe and worked in many German and French films. She was cast as the lead in the film Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) after meeting the director, Tom Tykwer, in a café. The part was written for her and although the film was a small-budget, art house film production, it was a big success in Europe. She also sang the main songs used in the film. She made several more German language films, including the horror film, Anatomy and the romantic thriller, The Princess and the Warrior. Her first film in English was Storytelling in 2001, as the narrator. This was followed by a role in Blow, opposite Johnny Depp, and the female lead in The Bourne Identity, with Matt Damon, which she later reprised in The Bourne Supremacy. She has written and directed Der die Tollkirsche ausgräbt, a silent comedy.
Starting on May 22, 2007, Potente had a three-episode recurring role in FX drama The Shield, where she played Diro Kesakhian, the ruthless Godmother of LA's Armenian Mafia.
When not working on location, she lives in Berlin. She previously dated American actor Elijah Wood and Director Tom Tykwer.