Have No Fear of Failure!

Interview with Gregor Bloéb

Whatever the Tyrolean theatre- and film actor Gregor Bloéb does is brim-full of passion – whether he plays a role, rides a motorcycle or as a father. And that's probably the reason the winner of the 2013 Nestroy-prize and top-10-finisher at the Africa Race 2013 is so successful. In his interview with La Loupe he tells us why he's good at losing anyway and why he has a crazy, second family in Zillertal.

L.L.

Mr Bloéb, you first became known for your acting at the beginning of the 1990s in the "Piefke-Saga". The series was shot in Zillertal, among other places. What was the filming like and how did you experience the discussions that followed?

G.B.

Well, apart from that fact that it feels like this was about 158 years ago I still remember that the filming was a great experience for me. I was 19 back then and hired at the theatre in Nuremberg. I always took my motorbike to get to the set and I enjoyed being able to shoot a few wild scenes where my brother Tobias (Moretti, editor's note) and I rode motorbikes. I didn't really notice much of the discussion in Germany, except that the Germans said: "Wow, you really were tough on those Tyroleans!" And in Austria we heard: "You can't deal with the Germans that way" – so, actually, the result was perfect! And even today people come up to me and want to talk about the Piefke-Saga when it's rerun on some TV channel.

L.L.

Would you say that since then tourism in Tyrol has developed in the right direction?

G.B.

Well, of course the over-the-top way we depicted it in the series has become true by now! I still think, though, that the direction is the right one, the kind of "ballermann-tourism" is concentrated in 3 to 5 places now but there still are enough huts without continuous background music etc. Not every trend is followed, there are many regions that actually spend some time on thinking what could be right for them. My absolute horror-example is Ischgl, I would not be able to stand it there. Binge drinking and partying have never been my cup of tea, I didn't even enjoy it when I was a youngster. For me Tyrol equals holiday because I usually work somewhere else. Being at home means relaxing or spending time with the family – of course that doesn't necessarily have to be a holiday.

L.L.

Aside from the Piefke-Saga, what else do you still associate with the Zillertal?

G.B.

Well, the "Family of Nutters" (the Kinigadners, editor's note) for one thing – through the Paris-Dakar thing we basically did a family reunion and now we're extremely "gleim" (i.e. tight) as we say in Tyrol. Apart from that I've ridden my motorcycle to Zillertal and over Gerlospass several times, it's a wonderful tour!

L.L.

Do you have a favourite spot there?

G.B.

Yes, the Kreuzjoch! I've been up on the plateau with my bike and skied there, too.

Gregor Bloéb at the Africa Race, © Red Bull Media House GmbH
Gregor Bloéb at the Africa Race, © Red Bull Media House GmbH

L.L.

Something we've clearly heard during this interview: Your passion for your motorbike. Where does it come from?

G.B.

I'm the youngest of four boys and everything the older boys did, the younger ones imitated. And when our oldest brother turned up with a Honda CB 750 Four a long time ago, all of us fell for it! Also, for my generation the motorcycle was the cheapest option to get from A to B. Cars were much more expensive. As a young actor you earn very little money so I really couldn't afford anything else.

L.L.

Would you sometimes rather be a racer than an actor?

G.B.

I wouldn't be able to do it because I lack that winner-gene, the absolute will to win. I do possess a certain amount of self-assertion and determination, yes, but I also don't mind losing. I simply don't care if I finish first or one-hundredth, I simply enjoy the game or the race itself so much. Bad prerequisites for a professional athlete.

L.L.

The most beautiful experience at the Africa Race 2013 and the most important thing you learned from it?

bloss-keine-angst-vorm-scheitern-28

G.B.

There were uncountable moments that are going to be with me all my life. Apart from the great friendship that now exists between the Bloéb/Moretti and Kinigadner families and apart from the beauty of the desert I can't even begin to put in words … A rally is a condensed life, really, and everyday you experience complete failure at least three times. But then, out of nowhere, you see a silver lining and you realise: The kind of fear that's always with us in all areas of our lives is completely for nothing. What's the point of this fear of failure? In a rally I really might die, on the stage the worst that can happen is that 2,000 people laugh at me – so really, I can try something new sometimes! There's a reason I was successful professionally after the rally, because I chose to go my own way.

L.L.

Does the poverty in those countries make you more humble?

G.B.

Yes, definitely. With the motorcycle you reach the most remote areas – we once ended up somewhere in the Atlas Mountains at 3,000 m above sea level, with people who live in stone huts but still invite you in for tea and bread right away. That's simply beautiful and makes you really thankful. I would prohibit club holidays by law and send people on culture- and people-tours instead!

L.L.

You mentioned the risk during the rally. Do you, as a family man have to justify your sense of adventure more than others?

G.B.

I do not think that wife and child should make the difference because you're never alone in the world. If you don't have them it's your mother! Dealing with risks is always difficult. A short while ago one of my best friends was killed completely innocently while on his motorbike and he leaves a wife and three small children behind. Humans have come up with the word "fate" for that, whatever that means … The only thing I can really do here is to do everything with a certain degree of seriousness. During the rally our primary goal was to survive and we trained hard for it. At the end the risk was about as high as when you drive your car from Vienna to Tyrol – that might just kill you, too.

Tobias Moretti & Gregor Bloéb at the Afrika Race © Red Bull Media House GmbH

L.L.

After your adventure in Africa you turned your focus back to your acting. Is it possible to have a strategic plan for a successful career or do you think a certain amount of passion will make it happen all by itself?

G.B.

If it were possible to plan something like this, everyone would do it! You can only do something out of passion and because you have to. That's a good prerequisite for the job – not the desire for fame and money. Everything else will happen by itself and if it doesn't, you'll at least have done what was your great passion. And what does that even mean, career? A great audience, large salaries? A role at the regional theatre or in Hollywood? Simply do every project as well as you can and at some point the next one will come around and then the one after that.

L.L.

What role are you currently playing and what can your fans look forward to in 2015?

G.B.

At the moment (November 2014, note) I'm still playing the "Jägerstätter" at Theater in der Josefstadt and "Die letzten Tage der Menschheit" at Burgtheater in Vienna. "Der Boxer" is in preparation at Josefstadt, it's a new play by Felix Mitterer, the première will be on 29 Jan 2015, a Christmas-"Tatort". And a movie "Halbe Brüder" with Sido will come out in 2015. Unfortunately I can't say more yet.

L.L.

What's the bigger challenge for you – theatre or film?

G.B.

Well, the challenge is bigger in a theatre, of course, because you participate in the process, too. When shooting a film you're only a small cog in a huge structure. You might play a wonderful scene but if the editing, light or music don't match, it was all in vain. At the theatre though I can win the audience over with one good scene. A theatre project that goes wrong still is less fun than a successful film, of course.

L.L.

Do you still experience stage fright?

G.B

At a première there is a certain amount of tension, similar to the feeling before a race starts, I discovered this with Heinz Kinigadner: We yawn and grow very tired while others get really nervous. But when the starting signal goes off or when the curtain opens, we're right there!

L.L.

Fotos: Günther Egger
Fotos: Günther Egger

If you play role for a long time, do you sometimes adopt some of their character traits?

G.B

No, I've been doing this job for too long. "Jägerstätter" (on an Austrian conscientious objector who was executed in 1943, editor's note) is a good example because the topic is very heavy and during every performance I go through a lot – until I die. That's something that really gets to you during the rehearsals, but once the performances are on you've got it under control. Now it becomes difficult for the audience! With the right technique and experience we actors are supposed to be able to create emotions. What's more difficult is if you're having a humorous day but have to get a serious topic across in an authentic way. But that's our job and that's why we rehearse for two months to make sure it all comes across as natural.

L.L.

You regularly get involved with social projects and you're actively committed to the Wings-For-Life-Foundation which was founded by Heinz Kinigadner. What motivates you to do that?

G.B.

Apart from my personal connection with Heinz and his son Hannes, I've met many people who experienced a stroke of fate. But the only task in life is to never give up on yourself, to always take the next step and remain curious. So if fate deals you a blow, that's no reason not to bounce back. Everything somehow makes sense – that's my philosophy and that's exactly what Wings for Life stands for. And the scientific advances that can be proven are amazing and I'm convinced that spinal cord injuries will one day be curable!

L.L.

You and your family live on a farm in the countryside. Do you need nature around you to recharge and relax?

G.B.

Yes! I recharge at home by simply doing what I feel like. Being the happy person that I am there are lots of things – starting with wood chopping to gardening or cooking and of course playing with the kids.

Foto: Günther Egger
Foto: Günther Egger

Gregor Bloéb’S Wordrap

The silliest interview question I was ever asked:

The one who asked did not live to tell the tale …

I admire …

my wife because she’s married to me.

I could endlessly talk about:

my job and motorbike riding of course

For my own private entertainment:

Theatre, cinema or TV? A book!

My greatest role model:

Heinz Kinigadner (but please, don’t tell him that!)