‘Man of Steel’ flew in just in time for Antje Traue

June 19, 2013 | 2:07 p.m.

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue is photographed at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue is photographed at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

"Faora can’t have an inner life. She’s this machine — an engineered warrior,” Antje Traue says of her character in "Man of Steel." (Warner Bros)

Antje Traue, left, plays Faora-Ul and Michael Shannon plays General Zod in "Man of Steel." (Warner Bros)

Amy Adams as Lois Lane, left, Henry Cavill as Superman and Antje Traue as Faora-Ul in "Man of Steel." (Warner Bros)

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue arrives at the film's London premiere on June 12. (Jonathan Short / Associated Press)

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue arrives at the film's London premiere. (Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA)

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue arrives at the film's New York premiere on June 10. (Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue arrives at the film's New York premiere. (Peter Foley / EPA)

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue is photographed at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Like many performers at a crossroads, Antje Traue gave herself an ultimatum. If she wasn’t able to support herself through acting by age 30, she would stop waiting tables and start a different career.

Good thing she didn’t say 29.

Just as Traue was about to reach her self-imposed deadline, the actor landed a series of plum roles, most notably as the nearly indestructible villainess Faora-Ul in “Man of Steel,” which has already grossed more than $152.7 million in its first week of release and is just starting to roll out around the globe. Traue next will be seen as one of the leads in “Seventh Son,” a fantasy film due in October, and has been meeting with several directors about her next gig.

Antje Traue plays Faora-Ul in "Man of Steel." (Clay Enos / Warner Bros)

Antje Traue plays Faora-Ul in “Man of Steel.” (Clay Enos / Warner Bros)

As the sidekick to Michael Shannon’s General Zod in “Man of Steel,” Traue’s Faora-Ul doesn’t have much to say or emote. Her character is a Kryptonian killing machine with a straight haircut and curvy armor, able to match Henry Cavill’s Superman blow for blow.

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Faora is proof that behind every man is a strong woman; she may not be Zod’s girlfriend exactly, but she’s certainly loyal to the guy. While the character doesn’t say much in “Man of Steel,” her actions speak loudly.

To prepare for “Man of Steel,” Traue spent four months training and dieting, wearing a form-fitting costume that made bathroom breaks all but impossible. But the four months of shooting were taxing in a different way.

“As an actor, you are always looking for subtext, for layers, for what’s going on underneath,” Traue said. “But Faora can’t have an inner life. She’s this machine — an engineered warrior.”

She said she tried not to fraternize too much with her cast mates because it could make her performance more human. “You can’t interact with other people,” Traue said. “You are leading a very isolated lifestyle.”

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Born in East Germany and raised speaking Russian, the 32-year-old Traue grew up with little knowledge of American pop culture, including Superman comics. Her mother was a musician and a dancer who encouraged her daughter, who also danced and was a gymnast, to become worldly and revel in the arts.

“After the wall went down, she didn’t want us to be influenced by television,” Traue said on a recent stop in Los Angeles, soon after she completed a two-week car trip across the United States. “She’d rather take us to India. Which she did.”

"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue says. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

“It never really worked out for me in my own country,” German-born Antje Traue says of her acting career. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

When East Germany fell, Traue moved to Munich. Because she couldn’t speak German, she struggled in school, dropping out at age 16. Interested in musical theater and an accomplished guitarist, Traue started performing with a Munich company, traveling to London and New York with touring shows.

When her mother died when Traue was 23, she re-enrolled in school in Berlin, taught herself English — and waited for the phone to ring. She landed several small parts in German-language movies and television shows, but found herself largely unemployable.

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"Man of Steel" actress Antje Traue arrives at the film's New York premiere on June 10. (Peter Foley / EPA)

“Man of Steel” actress Antje Traue arrives at the film’s New York premiere on June 10. (Peter Foley / EPA)

“It never really worked out for me in my own country,” Traue said in lightly accented English. She was told by German casting agents that her face was “not classic enough — it doesn’t fit” and that she was, in an odd way, almost too eye-catching. “They said, ‘You’re not famous enough for the lead roles, and you’re too present for the supporting roles — you’d overpower the lead,’” Traue recalled.

She admitted she “wasn’t brave enough” to move to the United States, and wondered if she should have studied medicine instead of acting. But in her first English-language audition for a feature film, she was cast with a leading part in 2009’s sci-fi thriller “Pandorum.” The movie was a commercial dud, but it brought Traue an American talent agent and fresh hope she was on her way.

Her optimism was short-lived. Despite auditioning “like a maniac,” including for roles in “The Hobbit” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” Traue couldn’t land any acting jobs and had to support herself working in restaurants and call centers. Asked to send in an audition video for “Man of Steel,” she hesitated.

“I was at a point where I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “I was exhausted from so many rejections, and I thought, ‘How many other girls are going to go for this?’ Maybe I was aiming too high.” She was about to turn 30, so decided to make one last push.

“And then everything started coming in.”

– John Horn | @LATHeroComplex


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23 Responses to ‘Man of Steel’ flew in just in time for Antje Traue

  1. ksbeth says:

    It's all about being at the right place at the right time, isn't it? Nice post )

  2. john jones says:

    she's like a good looking version of lady gaga

  3. KingHades says:

    Loved her in Pandorum. Loved her even more in Man of Steel. She is a BADASS!

  4. Abbby says:

    Thank goodness. We would have missed such an intense actor had see quit.

  5. I just saw Man of Steel and thought it was brilliantly executed. Faora was a great villain. I thought her more menacing than Zod who really just screamed a lot.

  6. dwane says:


  7. internetlion says:

    She was one of the best things in Man of Steel. Her character didn't say a lot, but Antje had such a powerful presence, and truly owned the role and made it indelible. "A good death is its own rreward." Like, wow.

    Not to mention, Faora battling Superman in Kansas was the best fight scene in the entire movie.

  8. SUPERMAN & THOR says:

    i'm Glad Antje Traue is Working a lot now in Hollywood, She is Very Beautiful and a Good Actress and i enjoyed Her in Man Of Steel in 3D……….Amy Adams was Good Too

  9. kevin says:

    She was fantastic in her role for MoS! Well done, Antje! You showed an icy efficiency in your character that was compelling! Should you decide to show up at a Com Con in the United States, please let us know! We will welcome you. Looking forward to more of your work. :D

  10. @Haydenfilms says:

    Man of Steel: Super Uneven – Haydenfilms Institute: http://www.haydenfilmsinstitute.org/the-slate/201

  11. Perce says:

    Man of Steel was a disaster. Too bad. 8(

  12. California Coast says:

    Yet another gawdawful movie that bombed this year. Why have entertainment when everyone is on computers all the time anyway. It doesn't make sense.

  13. Manny says:

    MOS was epic, from start to finish an amazing movie. It’s what a summer flick should be, full of action, great acting, smart storytelling. It’s Superman, the best superhero of them all :D

  14. John says:

    I am not easily capitivated, but Antje has an amazing screen presence. I look forward to seeing more of her on the silver screen.

  15. Chris says:

    Saw the movie last night with my daughters. We agreed that Antje was very good as a menacing, intense warrior. Alas, the part was too robotic and was more interesting when she had actual lines to say. Hopefully in her next movies she gets to act and speak….

  16. danp says:

    Antje ………. just gorgeous as actress and as woman.
    By far the best in Man of Steel

  17. @RobtC60 says:

    Having grown up with Superman, back in the 50's, (I know – I'm dating myself), I must say this movie hardly adheres to the original story.
    That said, I enjoyed it immensely. And Antje was one of the best parts of it.
    I read what she says about her interpretation of Faora-Ul and I think she was right. And she nailed the part.
    Perce and California Coast, I think you both ought to crawl back under the rock you came from. You don't know what you're saying.

  18. Jolly Roger says:

    thanks Superman for giving us gorgeous Antje Traue

  19. Rob says:

    I'd love to see her as Selina Kyle. I like Ann Hathaway, but Antje would have owned that role in that film. I think she and Bale would have had more chemistry than Hathaway. But if that had happened, then she wouldn't have been cast in MOS. Then again, now that Faora is done, there could be a possibility, I hope.

  20. Mad Kreator says:

    I'd definitely like to see Antje Traue in a 1980s-set Cold War thriller, perhaps starring George Clooney or Brad Pitt…

  21. BeautifuL Character,although the antagonist.

    Sweety Her smile.

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