Diane Kruger Honors Romy Schneider and Marlene Dietrich

Diane Kruger will partner with French pay-tv leader Canal+ to star in an hour-long documentary retracing the life and career of Romy Schneider, with production set to begin next week.

Produced by Canal+ Docs and directed by Marjory Déjardin, the film is part of a larger series called “Elle parle d’Elle” (She Talks About Her), which centers on contemporary stars as they explore the lives of 20th century icons, creating echoes between the two subjects. Previous installments found Carole Bouquet retracing the steps of Coco Chanel, for example.

“[Romy Schneider] really was the reason I wanted to become an actor and to study acting in France,” Kruger tells Variety from the Marrakech Film Festival. “There’s sort of a parallel drawn to my own life and where I’m from, so that should be interesting.”

Of course, long before this documentary project – which will find Kruger interviewing Schneider’s fans and family – the “Swimming with Sharks” star had always embraced comparisons to those other German-born stars whose lives and careers swept them through Paris and Hollywood: Romy Schneider, naturally, and Marlene Dietrich. 

“Those are the people that I dreamed of,” says Kruger. “I thought I had a chance because of those two pioneers.”

And so, after she wraps the Schneider doc, Kruger will continue pushing forward on “Marlene,” a five-part limited series Kruger is developing with director Fatih Akin.

“[Dietrich] deserves another look,” says Kruger, who in fact brought the project to her “In the Fade” collaborator. “She was so badly treated in Germany and yet she’s Germany’s biggest movie star of all time. Her life is so incredible, and I think she deserves her moment in the spotlight once again. And I think th at Fatih, as an immigrant himself, has a very particular view.”

Produced by UFA Fiction, and adapted from the memoir “My Mother Marlene” by Dietrich’s daughter, Maria Riva, the five-part biopic will follow Dietrich from her early days in Berlin through her American war efforts to her final years in Paris, giving the multilingual Kruger a chance to act in three languages.

“It’s more fun, for sure,” she says. “I was a bit worried about the French, because I haven’t acted in French for two years, but it came right back. There’s a great comfort in feeling at home.”

In the nearer term, Kruger has already wrapped the bittersweet drama “Longing,” alongside Richard Gere, as well as the French-language “Visions,” which Kruger describes as a “paranoia thriller” about a bisexual love-triangle. And in the further term, the actress is setting her sights on another icon with films in French, German and English.

“I’d love to make a film with Michael Haneke,” she says. “He knows, I think! I’ve tried to approach him. I even gave him a f—- Palme d’Or! I’m not sure that really put me on his radar, but let’s hope. “