Norah Hoffmann is a very talented German-American actress, who was born in Seattle (WA). She grew up in Zurich (Switzerland) and Munich (Germany). After graduating high school Norah moved to Berlin and now resides in New York City.
Norah has been working as an actress since childhood. She was able to start her professional career in the musical production “A Christmas Carol” at the theater ICM-Munich. During this time, Norah also won various awards at the federal music competition “Jungend musiziert” in the categories Classical Voice, Musical, and Pop-Voice. After graduating from high school Norah moved to Berlin to study both Acting and Physics.
During her studies and after graduation Norah was part of multiple musical and film productions. Credits go to musical productions like “Feetback” and “Perfect Town” at the theater “Kupferhaus Munich” and film productions like “Silhouette”, “MyHostel” and “Alleingelassen”. After moving to New York City, besides perusing her PhD in theoretical quantum physics, Norah continued her work as an actress in various film productions including her leading role in the award winning short “Cookie Heart”.
Hollywood Insider Interview with Actress Norah Hoffmann
Hollywood World: First of all, congratulations to the “Cookie Heart” team for receiving the IFFNY Grand Jury Prize “Best Cinematography” Award in New York. How did you feel at the time when you found out?
Norah Hoffmann: Completely overwhelmed! It was a huge surprise, I guess for all of us. But I couldn’t be more honored to be part of the incredible “Cookie Heart”-Family! It was an amazing and very proud moment! Thanks again IFFNY for this great experience and the honor of the Grand Jury Prize!
Hollywood World: How did you come into acting career?
Norah Hoffmann: Well, it all started with my amazing high school back in Germany, where I saw the call for an audition of a “Harry Potter” school-musical production. I went to the audition got the part of Harry Potter – yes I know I started with boy-characters when I was a kid haha – and then the whole craziness started. I went to bigger auditions got my first professional parts, moved to Berlin to study and then decided to go to New York City to see if I can survive in the big world of the big movies. And well here I am now.
Hollywood World: Which film, was the turning point in your life and career?
Norah Hoffmann: Well, I guess I am still waiting for the THE ONE turning point – PS: Hollywood, my name is Norah and I am still waiting for your call haha. No but seriously, I think there are quite some little turning points which led me to where I am right now. One of them was “MyHostel”, a pilot for a German-American series directed by Johnathan Behr. Besides the very professional and absolutely lovely team, I had my first English speaking part in this pilot, which made applications for other movies in New York City way easier. And then for sure “Cookie Heart”. This movie was my first lead right after I moved to big New York City and I couldn’t have asked for a better start into the crazy film business in New York.
Hollywood World: Who has supported you to come into this field?
Norah Hoffmann: Oh, I met so many fantastic and supportive people in this business. I don’t even know where to start. Well, I mean first of all my family. My parents couldn’t have been more supportive and without their help I wouldn’t be where I am right now. This is for sure. Also my boyfriend, I can’t even count how often he had and still has to read audition-scripts with me – haha.
Besides family and friends I had so much support from many great teachers like Hans-Bernd Schmitz, Isabell and Hans Schlicht back in high school and Monika Lachenmair from the Conservatory Munich, Germany. Also one of the best and supporting starting points for the film business in NYC was the Stella Adler Studio of Acting – especially the class of Todd Thaler. He is an amazing teacher and really showed me how to audition in New York City.
Hollywood World: What is the film “Cookie Heart” about?
Norah Hoffmann: “Cookie Heart” is about innocent Lisa, who travels from Germany to New York City to surprise her childhood crush Fabian (Anders Geipel) for his birthday. It turns out that Fabian, once loyal and caring, lost his moral compass as a result of the omnipresent American college culture. However Lisa tries to enter and connect to Fabian’s new party world, but after feeling completely out of place during a night in the club and the painful experience that Fabian does not even want her in his new life anymore, she leaves New York City after just one night.
Hollywood World: Who else is involved in this production, director, producer, actors?
Norah Hoffmann: Oh so many fantastic people! The whole movie was led and directed by our amazingly talented director Charles Dong. The story was written by Charles Dong and Stephan Nachmann, who the whole story is based on and who did exceptional work as DP. Also Branton Choi, Gabriella Naumnik and James Qiu did an incredible job as producers as well as the unbelievably talented camera team with Clavin Falk as camera operator, who made this crazy one-take movie even possible. Anders Geipel plays Fabian my high school crush, Smitty Chai his best buddy and Arianna Williams the – from my character’s perspective haha – very mean girl who ends up hooking up with Fabian . Well and many, many more crazy talents.
Hollywood World: What makes a good scene partner? With which actor did you like working with?
Norah Hoffmann: I really like working with scene partners who have and give a lot of energy. This helps me a lot to push a scene to its limit. But I mean for me there is no description of the perfect scene partner. I love working with all those different people with different backrounds and acting techniques. And I just can’t say this often enough: The “Cookie Heart” cast was just incredible. It was such a pleasure to work with those crazy talents Anders Geipel, Smitty Chai and Arianna Williams – they were such inspiring and fantastic scene partners!
Hollywood World: What are your favorite projects you have been part of?
Norah Hoffmann: Well, I was quite lucky I guess, most of the projects I did so far were really great and interesting for me. Cast and crew have always been so nice and lovely. But if I have to pick some, I would say “MyHostel” (the pilot for the German-American series, directed by Johnathan Behr), because this was my first English speaking role. “Cookie Heart”, because it was my first lead in New York City and crew and cast were just the best. And also “LeBriefcase”, directed by Leon Wu. This is an upcoming short I did this spring in NYC and it was so far the craziest shoot I’ve ever done. From dancing in Grand Central to running through the subway, it was just crazy and I loved it!
Hollywood World: Can you please tell us about your upcoming film/festivals/projects?
Norah Hoffmann: One of my upcoming film projects is “LeBriefcase” directed by Leon Wu, a very funny Pixar-style short movie about a hunt for a briefcase through New York City. Also, “Some Like It Raw” directed by Rico Colley, an action-comedy short movie about cannibalism and a funny horror-movie style commercial from NYU, directed by Julian Santos for a life insurance.
Hollywood World: What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
Norah Hoffmann: Uh where to start … I learned so much from working with different directors. I guess the biggest thing I learned through all the film projects is the difference between stage acting and film acting. I come from a very stage-oriented education and the work on set is actually very different. Also, I learned a lot about being flexible on set. Often the scene is planed in a certain way, but something happens and you suddenly have to adapt the whole scene to whatever happened. In the beginning I was always afraid of such changes, but (thanks to all the great work and short-term ideas of those talented directors) I am now starting to be disappointed if everything works out like it was planed – haha.
Hollywood World: What has been your biggest achievement in the field of acting?
Norah Hoffmann: I think, so far standing on a red carpet in big NEW YORK CITY at IFFNY was one of the greatest experience for me. Really, thanks again IFFNY! Also, “Cookie Heart” being accepted for the Short Film Corner at Festival de Cannes was super exciting. However, I would say the overall biggest achievement for me so far was actually moving to New York City and being able to live the dream as an actress in this amazing city!
Hollywood World: What do you think is most important in the field?
Norah Hoffmann: I guess most important in this field for me, is perseverance and passion. I mean, for sure, without passion you can’t be an actress, but sometimes only passion unfortunately does not work. There are so many occasions where you go to an audition and think ‘well I thought I did quite a good job’, but you don’t get the part. This can become very frustrating after a while. However, if you always come back and audition again and again and again it works. I don’t know how or why but it does …I guess it’s just statistics -haha .
Hollywood World: What was your most memorable role? Why?
Norah Hoffmann: This might seem ridiculous but I guess my part as Harry Potter in our little high school musical production. Not because it was successful or so – no, just because this little musical started everything for me and showed me for the first time the beauty of acting and creating your own parallel world and character on stage.
Hollywood World: Any tips about how to be a successful actor?
Norah Hoffmann: Haha – well I guess I am not in a position to give any tips to anyone right now, as I am still really at the beginning of everything. But so far I can just say: Have fun in what you are doing and don’t be frustrated if things first don’t work out as you thought they will. This is just how it is and it happens to everyone … but no one puts their failures in their CV, so you mostly just don’t read about it – haha
Hollywood World: What do you want to be remembered for in life? What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today?
Norah Hoffmann: Happiness – haha !!! I love to laugh – often too much and too loud – and if people would just remember me as a crazy person who always tends to laugh about everything that would be great.
Well, I guess the most valuable lesson I learned so far is: Do not listen too much to other people. I mean everyone has really great advise for you and sometimes they think they know what’s best for you. However, as an acting theoretical physicist or a theoretical physicist who acts – what ever you prefer – belief me, there were sooooo many people who told me this is a quite an impossible combination – I think it is not. Sure, I did not win an Oscar yet and also wasn’t awarded the Nobel Prize in physics yet – but hey, at least it is still on my To-Do list right?! – haha. Anyways, perhaps sometimes it is good to just listen to yourself and especially belief in yourself even if everyone tells you it’s impossible.
Hollywood World: What’s next?
Norah Hoffmann: Who knows – I surely don’t. Hopefully a lot – haha! Well as I more or less just started in big NYC, I guess my next step is finding a representation – So: Hi there agencies and managers out there, if you are searching for a German-American actress, call me – haha. No but seriously, let’s see. I am super excited for what could come next in this amazing city and I am just so thankful that I am able to live this dream!
*Cover Photo Credit: Norah Hoffmann (Nico Stank Photography)