Most television viewers know him as chief of police Thorsten Lannert in ‘Tatort’, Germany’s most popular detective drama series. That he sometimes chases criminals in a Porsche is no coincidence: Richy Mueller, 55, loves fast cars. The passionate motorsport fan has previously raced cars and bikes himself. At the 200th race of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, the popular and versatile actor is a guest of Porsche this weekend at the Nuerburgring.
Mr Mueller, what experience made you a motorsport fan?
“I grew up in Mannheim, that’s close to the Hockenheimring, and I always watched motorbike races. It was incredibly fascinating. But I never even considered giving it a go myself.
But still, you gave it a try.
“Eventually, about 20 years ago, I remembered my old motorbike enthusiasm and started to race – at an age when others were retiring. I quickly noticed though that it was much too dangerous for me as an actor. The risk of falling off and breaking bones was simply too high.”
But your passion for racing didn’t diminish totally.
“I wanted to continue racing, but not with the motorbike. So I approached Zakspeed at the Nuerburgring and attended a couple of courses for race drivers. That was fun. I got my international C-licence and raced cars, including drives in the Porsche Supercup. My last Supercup race was in 2003 in Hockenheim. I finished 17th, which wasn’t at all bad for someone who only drives every couple of years.”
Would you dare to do it today?
“It still appeals to me, even though much has changed over the years. Everything has become so much more professional, the Porsche is now a real race car and it’s not so easy to handle at the limit. But then again it wasn’t easy back then to race against the likes of Patrick Huisman. It was a fantastic experience.”
What interests you the most these days – Formula 1?
“Less so. I actually find the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup or the GP2 more interesting because the drivers play a much more important role. In Formula 1, they largely depend on the technology. Timo Glock is a good example, he’s driving with the back-markers with inferior material. If he had a good car he’d probably be up the front.”
Have you ever played the role of a race driver?
“No, I’d be reluctant to do that. It’s always a little embarrassing. Earlier there were good race driver films, for instance with Steve McQueen or Paul Newman, but that’s a long time ago. Afterwards there was only trash. A while ago there was a film with Till Schweiger and Sylvester Stallone, they were driving Formula cars wheel-to-wheel at racing speed, wearing helmets and for the entire time they were yelling at each other. That’s impossible, totally unrealistic rubbish.”
Are there any exceptions?
“Sure, the documentary film about Ayrton Senna that is currently playing in cinemas. It’s a film that I personally found very moving. If you want to know how it really is to be a race driver, what motivates them and what they think, go and watch this film. Then you’ll know.”
What project are you working on at the moment?
“I’m shooting a comedy with depth. I play a pianist. It’s an adaptation of the non-fiction book “Anleitung zum Unglücklichsein”. Interesting material. It’s about a woman who attracts disaster. And it’s about people who make their own lives difficult. They become distrustful after three days of happiness, thinking it can’t be possible that I’m happy for so long.”
And when can we next watch you chasing criminals?
“My next ‘Tatort’ is on 9th October.”