Its 10:11 pm
Welcome to a another edition of “8 Questions with……”
After I met Silvio Wolf Busch on FB and I started to get to know the man behind the artist,I discovered one thing….Silvio is a modern Renaissance Man. He is a leader,doer,learner,artistic,educated and thinker. Home on one of his horses,exploring history and always to improve himself and his craft,Silvio is one of the most interesting persons I have yet interviewed here.
His journey from being born and rasised in Leipzig,Germany to now calling Lexington,Kentucky home,Silvio has crammed in enough life for three normal people and he isn’t done by a long shot. The fact that I managed to slow this hard charging,goal oriented actor long enough to ask him 8 Questions,well,I gotta say…..thank you Silvio for allowing me to catch up……and I hope you,the reader,enjoy getting to know Silvio Wolf Busch.
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your newest project.
My name is Silvio Wolf Busch and I am an actor… well among other things for I
also write, direct and produce. As a matter of fact for one of my most recent
projects, a WWII drama called “The Last Mission”, I wore all of those “hats”. I’ve
studied WWII history since I was 12 and it was only logical that all that
accumulated knowledge would eventually lead to movie script. The story is
based on true events that took place during the very last days of world war 2
and chronicles the fate of a German convoy, consisting of soldiers as well as
civilians, that is desperately trying to evade the pursuing Russian Forces and
reach the American demarcation line in Austria. Unbeknownst they are on a
collision course with an American Recon Element of the 11th Armored Division
with a unique mission. Will the German convoy make it? Will the Americans let
them through, stop them in their tracks or worse? Will the pursuing Russians
catch up with them before they reach the (relative) safety of the American lines?
The film is as much war drama as it is a psychological thriller that goes into
great depths when portraying the individuals on both sides of the conflict. My
creative team and I are extremely excited about this project and after the recent
trailer released the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
2. What was growing up in Leipzig like? What is your fondest memory of your
Leipzig is an ancient City (over two thousand years old) and holds lots of secrets
for a young boy and I sure loved exploring many of them growing up. There were
buildings hundreds of years old, cobblestone streets that have been there well
before a motor vehicle sputtered across its polished stoney bumps, beautiful old
churches, elaborate palaces and oak studded parks and so much more. The
parental home I grew up in was only a short distance from one of Leipzig’s
largest forests and spending time in this expanse of woods, streams and hills I
certainly count among my fondest memories. My favorite destination however
has to be the “Voelkerschlachtdenkmal” (Monument to the Battle of the Nations)
a 300 feet tall stone monument dedicated to soldiers that fought and died on the
battlefield it stands on during the famous battle of Leipzig where a multinational
coalition defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and his Allies decisively. 127,000
soldiers fell in this battle and are buried on the grounds. The views of the city
from atop this monument are breathtaking.
3. What was it like being part of two very renowned choirs? What were the three
things you enjoyed about it and three things you disliked?
I sang before I walked my mother used to say and when I entered school at age
seven one of my teachers immediately recognized the quality of my voice and
set things in motion that led to my participation in two different Choirs, the
oldest (Thomanerchor) having been established in 1212! Few things gave me as
much joy as singing and being surrounded by other boys with similar talent and
drive certainly was wonderful. Being taught and performing on “hallowed
ground” such as the famous St. Thomas Church was at times surreal… you
wanted to know three things I enjoyed? Imagine this: … you are accompanied
by an organ Johann Sebastian Bach used to play on, which he used to compose
many of his most famous musical works, then after practice you quickly scoot
across the church square to a Cafe where Bach and his contemporaries used to
sit over coffee and tea (the original wood floor still in place as well as some
surviving pieces of furniture) and finally, studying on park benches famous
personalities such as Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller and Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart used to sit on, I could go on… Three things I did not enjoy?
Had you asked me then I might have found this or that to complain about but
looking at it today… nothing comes to mind.
4. What led you into the world of live theater?
Horses. I was a working student on a horse farm that happened to have an
“artistically inclined” owner with a well developed Outdoor Theater. When
approached about participating in their next play “The Gold of William’s Ranch” I
quickly found myself in the role of an outlaw that sang at every opportunity.
Horses, gun play and music … what’s not to like?
5. You were encouraged to act but not by just anyone. Who encouraged you and
how did that conversation happen?
The “incident” you are alluding to happened on the set of “Cowboy Up”, an
exciting tale set in the world of rodeo starring Kiefer Sutherland, Marcus
Thomas, Daryl Hannah, Molly Ringwald, Bo Hopkins, Pete Postlethwaite and
many more. A friend of mine brought me on board as a stuntman (I was after all
very much at home in the saddle). The world of film was still relatively new to me
and I “soaked it up”. When not working in my actual capacity as a stuntman I
took every opportunity to watch “how it’s done” and was spellbound. One day
the director Xavier Koller approached me and asked me to be the stand in
double for Mr. Thomas (who was one of the leads and Daryl Hannah’s love
interest) and after getting a quick “crash course” about being a stand in by a
benevolent production assistant I found myself standing opposite Daryl Hannah
herself, Cowboy Hat and all. The subsequent rehearsals and camera tests were
a lot of fun and Daryl made me laugh and feel totally at ease, I never wanted it to
end. But end it did and after some praise and thanks from the director Daryl and
I exited the set. At one point she looked at me and straight out asked “How long
have you been acting?” I demonstratively looked at my wrist watch and smirked.
Daryl’s eyebrows went up and she said: “No way! Well you have a lot of talent
and enormous screen presence, you should pursue this in ernest!” That was it! I
never looked back and kept watering that seed Daryl Hannah planted and today
there is nothing I’d rather be!
6. What has been the three biggest differences for you between doing live
theater and film/TV work?
In life theater you perform in front of a life audience, it’s a rush, an adrenaline
boost that takes you to the edge because you know that this is it, you must
deliver or fail, no second try. In film of course you have a number of attempts to
“hit the mark” and it is done in increments (scenes, shots etc.), there is no
audience (other then the crew and your co-stars) though it certainly isn’t without
it’s own “pressure”, you still have to hit the mark, though additional takes
shouldn’t be seen as “you doing it better” but rather of “you doing it different” to
give the director choices to work with for the later edit.
On stage the actor’s performance rests largely on his/her ability to convincingly
“project” and by that I mean the actor’s skill to reach even the furthest seats in
the audience. Being on camera however requires the polar opposite, film is all
about “less is more”, is all about subtleties and micro expressions. If you used
the stage approach on film the outcome would inevitable be comical (even when
it’s a serious drama) and “over the top” and alternately using the film approach
on stage would leave audiences found wanting.
Being on stage gives you a setting (stage design) that, even when quite
elaborate, is somewhat limiting and requires a bit more “putting yourself
mentally in that place” while in film the sky’s the limit, depending on the choice
and availability of the location one has to leave less to the imagination and get
“immersed” in the surroundings in real time.
7. How do you approach your craft?
“ There is no life I know
to compare with pure imagination
Living there you’ll be free
if you truly wish to be”
Imagination is everything for me. Whether it’s based on something I have not
(yet) experienced or drawn from actual life experience, imagination puts me in
the right place, the right mind set to “become” the character I seek to “bring to
life”. My approach isn’t so much “method acting” as I am able to snap in and
out of my character at will, though on occasion the character I am portraying is
so complex and deep that it takes me a bit longer to get in and out of it, also the
emotional toll varies and performances can leave you both, exuberant and
8. What are your five favorite films and how do they impact you as an actor?
Lawrence Of Arabia
Once Upon A Time In The West
Lord Of The Rings
While it is very difficult for me to limit myself to just five movies (there are so
many that shaped me as an actor and director) I attempted to list five that had a
particular impact on me.
I grew up with “epic cinema”, larger than life characters in sweeping landscapes.
Few films personify that for me as much as “Lawrence Of Arabia” and “Once
Upon A Time In The West”. David Lean’s portrayal of the colorful and complex
T.E. Lawrence during his WWI campaign in the Arabian Desert, captured me
instantly and hasn’t lost it’s appeal to this day. Apart from the brilliant Peter
O’Toole (also one of my all time favorite actors) and his stellar co-stars Anthony
Quinn, Alec Guiness and Omar Sharif, the film is the sheer definition of “Silver
Screen Magic” and it’s cinematography and powerful performances are very
hard to find in today’s cinema. The same can be said about Sergio Leone’s
Western Masterpiece where everything just comes together in perfect harmony,
from the larger than life performances of Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards,
Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson (and many more) over the sweeping
cinematography on to the brilliant score by the legendary Ennio Morricone. Both
impress with sparse dialogue and grandiose “telling the tale through pictures”.
Being a military man I’ve watched a plethora of war movies, though few
impressed me quite as much as Ridley Scott’s “Blackhawk Down”, the film
gathered an impressive ensemble of some of Hollywood’s finest actors and in
the capable hands of their director they BECAME the soldiers the story is based
on. The dedication of all involved, the completely convincing portrayals, the top
notch action photography, scoring and setting all culminated in a cinematic
master piece that seeks it’s equal. Movies like this one inspire me to invest the
same amount of dedication when bringing my characters to life.
If I could be born again, I want to be born in Middle Earth and live through the
terrific adventures of Frodo, Gandalf, Gimli and Legolas right by their side.
Directors rarely succeed to render epic works of literature such as J.R.R.
Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy in a fashion that resonates with the way we
experience the story while reading the books. Peter Jackson did exactly that, he
took the imagery right out of my head (and that of millions of other readers) and
put it on screen! As an actor I want nothing more than to be allowed to once,
just once, be part of a fantasy epic the caliber of The Lord Of The Rings.
Last but not least, “Schindler’s List”. People that know me on a bit more
personal level, know that about 300 books out of our 2500 volume library are
about WWII and the historic period of the Third Reich. I dedicated a great deal of
my life to the study of these topics. Partially it’s my interest in Military History,
partially it is the fact that this conflict affected so many people from all around
the world and has shaped the world we live in like few, if any historic events of
the past. Though even more than that it is the personal mission to discover how
a nation as intelligent, cultured and artistic as Germany could spiral into an
abyss of violence, injustice and criminality as it did over the course of this
conflict. Schindler’s List resonates with me because it’s director Steven
Spielberg masterfully manages to give us a glimpse into the mindset of both, the
victims and the perpetrators of the holocaust in a realistic, organic and
believable fashion. Spielberg had the courage to show all aspects of these
individuals, the good, the bad, the ugly. Apart from the story and the brilliant
execution of the film, the powerful performances of the cast, in particular Liam
Neeson and Ralph Fiennes (both are actors I much admire and try to emulate),
left a lasting impression that to this day influences my development and growth
as an actor. Most recently I was cast in a WWII drama where I portray a very
similar character as Ralph Fiennes’ “Amon Goeth” and for that I drew
tremendous inspiration from his portrayal.
9. What has been your best experience so far as a actor and what made it
It is really quite difficult if not impossible to single out a particular experience, so
I am trying to formulate it in the form of an “amalgam” of sorts. Things become
special for me when working on a film project, when there is a clear and
effortless “chemistry” between my co-star(s) and I, when there is an unspoken
understanding, not just of the story and the characters but of each other. That is
when magic happens, that and the ability of the director to not impede that,
perhaps even further elevate it instead with intuitive fine tuning of the story, the
actors and the set as a whole.
10. What do you like to do on your down time in terms of
Downtime? What is that? I am saying that with a smirk of course, though I am
only half joking. When you embrace film as much as I do, down time becomes
increasingly rare. On the other hand some of my favorite pastimes often times
directly or indirectly contribute to film, which gives me an excuse to continuously
pursue them 😉
I read, a lot. Did I mention the 2500 books in our (constantly expanding) library?
I have several books I read at any given time and they are spread strategically
around the house , in the car and in my daypack.
I am an avid marksman and spend time with tactical firearms training whenever I
can. Even though I am no beginner, I constantly seek the experience and
wisdom of experts in the field of Military and Law Enforcement and frequently
have the opportunity to put that experience to work in film projects.
Tying into that a bit is my passion for Martial Arts where I hold a Blackbelt in
Taekwon-do though in addition I practice other martial arts such as Hapkido and
The outdoors always held and continue to hold great appeal to me and,
schedule allowing, I spend time downhill skiing, mountaineering, hiking, scuba
diving, horseback riding and generally enjoying nature where and when I can.
Photography has also been a constant companion since childhood and usually
go few places without my trusted Canon.
My wife and I also have a tender spot in our hearts for our Military Veterans
(being one myself helps) and try to stay involved in programs and events that
raise support and awareness for the soldier’s plight returning home to a civilian
life. I also have close friends and a brother that are on active duty and deployed
around the world.
11. Do you feel typecasting still occurs in Hollywood and if so,what steps can be
taken to change that mindset?
Yes I am afraid type casting is alive and well. There is hope on the horizon
though. Hollywood increasingly has to share the pedestal with streaming
networks such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime and that offers opportunities
for actors to “break out” of their type cast by pursuing increasingly numerous
film projects. In addition I recommend seeking opportunities that allow you to
“showcase” your acting spectrum be it in smaller Indy productions or even
“made for the reel” clips that you can add to your video resume (actors reel or
demo reel). Though there is a surprising number of actors that don’t much mind
being type cast, as long as they get a steady stream of work and are
appreciated for the unique skill set they bring to the table.
12. The cheetah and I are flying in to watch your latest stage play but we are a
day early and you are our tour guide,what are we doing?
Not sure if I could be a good host to visitors a day before a play so perhaps you
come to the final performance and allow me to be your host the day after 😉
I call Lexington the biggest small town in Kentucky. It has a unique charm and is
surrounded by sweeping horse farms, some measuring in the thousands of
acres. First time visitors I’d definitely take to see some of them (I have
connections hint hint) followed by a visit to one (or more) of our famous Bourbon
Distilleries. There is a number of great restaurants in town I like to frequent such
as “Carson’s”, “Tony’s” (best steak in town), A.P. Huggins Bar and Grill or Bella
Notte for those that love authentic Italian Food. One of my favorite places to
have Breakfast though and hands down the best coffee in town would be
“Magee’s Bakery”, a family owned and operated business that makes everything
in house. Another “horsey visit” worth making is the “Kentucky Horse Park”, a
vast complex dedicated to the Equestrian Sports and host to some of the
world’s biggest competitions such as the FEI World Equestrian Games. If you
are a social butterfly a must stop would be the downtown pavilion on a Thursday
Night, lots of people, life music and good eateries and Bars 360 degrees around
you. For the nature lovers, if time permits, a quick trip to the “Red River Gorge”
will surely leave memorable impressions with it’s deep canyons and forests and
historic sites once frequented by legends such as Daniel Boone.
I like once again to thank Silvio for taking the time to answer my questions and
we look forward to seeing “The Last Mission” in the near future. When we do,look for our review of it to follow.
To see what Silvio is up to next,visit his IMDb page.
You can follow Silvio on Twitter.
You can also follow him on InstaGram.
Thank you for your continued support!