MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schlwesig-Holstein

"My characters are Loriot types, but in a cheeky way."

27.09.2023 | Heinz Strunk's "Last Exit Schinkenstraße"

Kicked out by their band: trumpeter Torben (Marc Hosemann) and saxophonist Peter (Heinz Strunk)

Heinz Strunk has mainly emerged as a bestselling Script Writer in recent years. Now he has written a script for an Amazon Prime series in which he plays the lead role alongside Marc Hosemann. The MOIN-funded series will premiere at Filmfest Hamburg. We spoke to Strunk about his humorous role models, loser types and his comfort zone.

In "Last Exit Schinkenstraße", two unsuccessful, more than mediocre musicians seek their fortune on Mallorca, on the Ballermann. What fascinates you about the loser types?

Heinz Strunk: There's nothing about it that fascinates me at all. I've always been interested in those who are left behind, in people who have a hard time in life. I leave the world of the rich and beautiful to Instagram or Rosamunde Pilcher. I actually see myself as the literary voice of these people. Besides, it's the drama that's interesting, not what works.

Torben (Marc Hosemann) with his family. The flat was filmed near the Volksdorf forest.

You wrap the drama in humour, sometimes satire. Why do you do that?

Heinz StrunkTragedy is easy, unlike comedy. A good comedy is much more difficult than a good tragedy and I would say that nobody in Germany can do it as well as I can. It just doesn't exist. There are either comedy writers like Tommy Jaud, which is completely irrelevant from a literary point of view, and the literary literature is not funny at all. Schirach, Zeh and Fitzek are the three big names in Germany. They're not funny either. I always endeavour to achieve the highest level of entertainment in what I do.

Hamburg actor Charly Hübner also makes a guest appearance

Worn-out entertainers in depressing holiday resorts. It's a little reminiscent of Ulrich Seidl's "Rimini". How did you come up with your story?

Heinz Strunk: That's something completely different. I really appreciate Ulrich Seidl, but his film is a social drama, sad, depressing. "Last Exit Schinkenstraße" is a comedy, funny. But I can't remember how I came across it. That's how I feel about most of my stories.

Torben, played by Marc Hosemann, and your character Peter in particular are great phrase-mongers, patterers. That's also noticeable in your novels. Where do you get them from?

Heinz StrunkThese are the essence of my decades of collecting. Whenever I pick up something, I collect it, even on television. Especially Ilona, Torben's wife, who came up with almost all of Silvia Wollny's sayings. I've watched all seasons of the series "Die Wollnys". She's not so good with the German language. She comes up with unintentionally funny things. I wrote them all down. I'm probably the only person in the whole of Germany who has done that. I've now used the sentences in "Schinkenstraße".

Set visit of the MOIN Film Fund in Hamburg

What function do they have? They are often extremely stupid.

Heinz Strunk: That's what sayings are all about. They're not bon mots from the FAZ, they're what people say. And of course I've taken ones that people haven't heard before. Otherwise it would be unfunny. Mine are the result of very close scrutiny.

Who do you think you're addressing with the series?

Heinz StrunkAmazon is mainstream, you have to and want to reach an audience of millions. I would describe my fanbase as extremely exclusive and almost elitist. But not huge. It's now about reaching people I wouldn't otherwise reach. Ideally, I can do what Loriot did, namely appeal to everyone from labourers to professors. The Loriot principle could be understood by people with very different intellectual abilities.

Things often don't go according to plan for musicians who have lost their careers

What is the Loriot principle?

Heinz StrunkIt's a single mechanism: A man who is shy, inhibited towards women, who wants to go through life reasonably unnoticed, gets into situations in which he stands out and which totally overwhelm him. And my characters, Torben and Peter, are Loriot types, but in a snobbish way. They're looser types who haven't got very far and still play in a rubbish band. I hope that there are moments for the audience, beyond all the jokes, when they can sympathise with them a little.

Does that mean Loriot is your role model?

Heinz StrunkLoriot is the German figurehead of humour. If you compare yourself to him, you're always accused of being presumptuous. But why shouldn't I measure myself against him? Just like Dick and Doof, Louis de Funès. "Schinkenstraße" also has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.

Two of numerous guest appearances: H.P. Baxxter and Micki Krause

You are now considered a permanent fixture in Hamburg's cultural scene. Have you never considered living somewhere else?

Heinz Strunk: Oh for God's sake, I don't understand the impulse to leave Hamburg. Hamburg is a very liveable city. And for professional reasons alone, there's no reason for me to leave. I'm here at the theatre, we're constantly putting on productions. And of course I have the biggest audience here. Besides, I'm far too comfortable. I'm even afraid that if I had grown up in Bevensen, where I was born, I might have stayed there because I'm so comfortable.

So now it's time for the premiere of "Schinkenstraße" as Script Writer and leading actor. What's next? Something completely different?

Heinz Strunk: What else would that be? Sculpting? I'd have to learn that properly. I'm 61 years old now. No, I'm currently working on my new novel, and it's going to be completely different.

"Last Exit Schinkenstraße" starts on Amazon Prime on 6 October

Credits: Thomas Leidig
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