David Kross, or David Kroß, (born 4 July 1990) is a German actor. He began his career at a young age with a small role in the 2002 film Hilfe, ich bin ein Junge and worked sporadically, mainly focusing on his school work. In 2008, he won the starring role of Michael Berg in the critically acclaimed film The Reader. For his part, he was nominated for various awards and went on to win the Sierra Award at the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards for Youth in Film.

Kross has since worked in both German and English speaking film roles, including War Horse, Race and Into the White.

Early life

Kross was born in Henstedt-Ulzburg, 20 miles north of Hamburg. He grew up in Bargteheide, where he attended Eckhorst High School[1] until 2007. He has two brothers and one sister. He played basketball at the professional club TSV Bargteheide between 2004 and 2006.


His career started with a small appearance in the 2002 film Hilfe, ich bin ein Junge (English: Help, I'm a Boy!).[2] In December 2003, he joined Blaues Wölkchen, a small group from a children's theatre in Bargteheide. His first major theatrical appearance was in Hilfe, die Herdmanns kommen.[citation needed]

In 2005, Kross came to the attention of Detlev Buck through his daughter, Bernadette, and he auditioned for Tough Enough;[3] Buck hired Kross to play the lead,[4] a 15-year-old boy who moves with his mother from a rich neighborhood of Berlin (Zehlendorf) to the Neukoelln area, known at the time for its high number of Turkish immigrants and high crime level. Kross not only won praise at Berlinale in 2006, but also won Best Actor in Nuremberg at the 11th Filmfestival Deutschland/Tuerkei.[5]

In 2006, Kross worked again with Buck in the film Hands Off Mississippi (Hände weg von Mississippi in German), playing a baker apprentice. In the fall of the same year, he started shooting a film by Marco Kreuzpaintner, Krabat (The Satanic Mill in English). In this version of Otfried Preußler's children's book, Kross plays the title role, one of the apprentices of magic, with co-stars Daniel Brühl and Robert Stadlober. The film was released on 19 September 2007 in movie festivals and in October 2008 in theatres.

In September 2007,[6] The Reader began shooting in Berlin, Cologne,[7] and Görlitz. In Stephen Daldry's adaption of the best-selling novel by Bernhard Schlink, Kross plays the lead role of Michael Berg, opposite Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, and Bruno Ganz. He had to learn to speak English to appear in the film.[8] The world premiere was at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on 3 December 2008. The film was presented in the 2009 Berlinale but did not compete. In May 2009, Kross was honored for his performance in The Reader at the 62nd Cannes Festival, winning the Chopard trophy. Kross was nominated for a European Film Award as best actor.

His next work was in Same Same But Different (2009), again with Buck directing. The script is based on an autobiographical article by Benjamin Prüfer.

In July 2010, it was announced that Kross had been cast in Steven Spielberg's film, War Horse.[9] Filming started in August 2010, in Dartmoor, Devon, U.K. and the film was released in December 2011.[10]

Personal life

In 2009, Kross started a three-year course of studies at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).[11] His plan was to improve his acting skills and his English. However, he dropped out at the end of the same year to concentrate on films. Since then, he has been living in Berlin-Mitte. Kross has expressed no desire to move to Hollywood, preferring to reside in Germany and continue making both German and English language films.[12]


Year Film Role Notes
2002 Hilfe, ich bin ein Junge Paddy Help, I'm a Boy!
2003 Adam & Eva Adams Sohn Austrian film
2006 Knallhart Michael Polischka Tough Enough
2007 Hände weg von Mississippi Bäckerlehrling Bröckel Hands off Mississippi
2008 Krabat Krabat Adapted from a German language novel Krabat (The Satanic Mill in English) by Otfried Preußler
The Reader Young Michael Berg Las Vegas Film Critics Award for Youth in Film
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Performer
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actor
2009 Same Same But Different Ben Received Variety Piazza Grande Award at the International Film Festival organised in Locarno.
2011 Das Blaue vom Himmel[13] Young Osvalds Kalnins
Rio Blu German Voice
War Horse[14] Private Gunther Schröder
2012 Into the White[15] Josef Auchtor
Measuring the World Eugen Gauß
2013 Michael Kohlhaas The Preacher
2015 Boy 7 Sam
2016 Race Carl "Luz" Long


Kross in 2008


  1. ^ Ruth Kastner: Bargteheide conquered Berlin. Hamburger Abendblatt, February 14, 2006.
  2. ^ "Hilfe, ich bin ein Junge (2002)". IMDb.com. 
  3. ^ "Knallhart (2006)". IMDb.com. 
  4. ^ "Teenage Talent of the 2000s". Spiegel. 6 January 2010. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived February 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Principal photography begins on "The Reader" in Berlin". Studio Babelsberg. 1 October 2007. 
  7. ^ vgl. Meldung at WDR, March 3, 2008 Archived February 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Kaminer, Ariel Translating Love and the Unspeakable. New York Times. December 5, 2008.
  9. ^ Exclusive: War Horse Cast Announced. Empireonline.com. Retrieved on 2012-01-13.
  10. ^ Spilligan, Mike. (2010-08-03) Steven Spielberg pictured filming new blockbuster War Horse on Dartmoor. Thisisplymouth.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-01-13.
  11. ^ http://article.wn.com/view/2012/02/19/ICM_Exclusive_Interview_with_Rupert_Grints_Into_The_White_co/
  12. ^ http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/58131777.html
  13. ^ "Das Blaue von Himmel (2011)". IMDb.com. 
  14. ^ "War Horse (2011)". IMDb.com. 

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