More than a question of origin: Julia Malik, Heiko Ruprecht and Gila von Weitershausen on a turbulent search for number 108 and love
Bookseller Karen (Julia Malik) is happy! Her new boyfriend Daniel (Heiko Ruprecht) has just moved in with her in Brooklyn. But unfortunately, Karen’s son Luke (Finn Fiebig) is not very enthusiastic about it. The 13-year-old just can’t get on with the garden architect who provides a bit of nature on the roofs of New York skyscrapers.
Luke’s role model is more his hard-nosed hockey coach Todd (Matthias Ziesing) – not a flower picker, but a real guy to rub shoulders with. Todd serves as the boy’s surrogate for his biological father, whom he has never met and knows next to nothing about. That’s because Karen has led her son to believe his father was a Swedish exchange student. But Luke’s questions about his origins are becoming more and more urgent, and so Karen finally has no other way out than to come clean with him: Her son is the result of an anonymous sperm donation! Horrified, the teenager flees to his grandmother Rebecca (Gila von Weitershausen). Much to the chagrin of Karen, who fears that her mother – as is so often the case – is only just starting to put her finger on the problem.
In order to save her relationship with her son, Karen decides to search for Luke’s donor, against all her convictions. But finding out the identity of the donor initially proves to be an impossible task. It is only when Daniel helps her with her research by posing as sperm donor number 108 at the agency that Karen gets on the right track. But this leads her to a man whom the bookseller considers completely unfit to be a father. But doesn’t Luke have a right to know the truth about his roots? In the end, Karen has found three fathers for Luke, but only one of the men is the right man for her.
The melodrama “Katie Fforde: My Son and His Fathers” takes up a highly topical and explosive subject and tells the emotional journey of a well-rehearsed mother-son duo that has functioned well for 13 years with a lie and no father. But now, as the truth comes to light, Karen struggles to regain her son’s lost trust and attempt the impossible: to find her son’s biological father.
“Katie Fforde: My Son and His Fathers” is the 27th film in the series. The series is produced by Network Movie Hamburg, Jutta Lieck-Klenke, Sabine Jaspers. Verena von Heereman is the editor at ZDF.
“I can’t lie at all” – Interview with Julia Malik
You spent a few weeks in New York and the surrounding area for the filming. What are the biggest differences between where you live in Berlin and the Big Apple?
Compared to New York, Berlin always seems like a tranquil little village to me. New York is very noisy, there’s always someone on the move, new, unexpected things are happening all the time, and everything happens at a much faster pace. There are also a lot of similarities, such as the openness, that all places tell so many stories, the inhabitants have a lot of ideas and also implement them, but in New York everything is just bigger, faster, louder and more.
What are your insider tips for a trip to New York?
I love a pedicure after long walks or a quick pedicure in between and then spring rolls in Chinatown, a walk along the Highline, a visit to the “Whitney Museum of American Art”, food in the market halls behind it and aimlessly wandering around Williamsburg where you can find great cafés and vintage stores.
In “Katie Fforde: My Son and His Fathers,” you play a bookseller. What do books mean to you? What are your favorite things to read and where is your favorite place to read?
Books have actually always been a huge passion of mine. Even as a child, I used to follow my parents on long walks, reading Karl May. And even now I read in every free second, sometimes even on escalators when it’s particularly exciting. But I love reading most of all in quiet, beautiful places, on my balcony between the flowers, in bed or in the shade under palm trees. The main thing is that no one disturbs me, it’s quiet and smells good. I devour a wide variety of books. From Scandinavian crime novels and Russian novels of the last centuries, great American storytellers to German authors of the present.
When I was shooting in London this summer, I used every little break to read the latest book “Ach, diese Lücke, diese entsetzliche Lücke” by Joachim Meyerhoff and had to laugh the whole time, which is why everyone always wanted to know what was so funny. Some of my favorite books are “Das Herz ist ein dunkler Wald” by Carson McCullers, “Tender is The Night” by Scott Fitzgerald and everything by Jörg Fauser. Currently I’m reading the Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgard again with his novel “Loving” and the writer Lucia Berlin. Before the filming of “Katie Fforde” I also worked for a week in my favorite bookstore, right downstairs from our house, and we spent the whole time just talking about books!
In the film, you play a mother who keeps a big secret from her son. “I was going to tell you when you were old enough,” your character Karen Wood says when son Luke finds out about her. When is it okay not to tell children the truth?
I generally can’t lie at all, or rather I don’t like to. My family, whom I love, has to know how I am doing and how we are doing together. I see it the same way with my character Karen. It was these very special circumstances and how everything happened that it came to this and it was not her wish or her decision to lie to her child. Anyway, I can’t imagine a situation where I wouldn’t tell the truth to my children unless it was actually absolutely necessary for their safety.
The questions were asked by Dagmar Landgrebe
Further interviews with Heiko Ruprecht and Gila von Weitershausen on “Katie Fforde: My Son and His Fathers” can be found in the ZDF press kit.