Starring in the highly anticipated Disney film “Jungle Cruise” alongside Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, Philipp Maximilian is an emerging actor and producer with classic Hollywood leading male looks. Based on the Walt Disney theme park ride of the same name, “Jungle Cruise” follows a group of riverboat travelers in search of the Tree of Life, believed to have healing powers that could aid modern medicine. During their travels, stars Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson will confront threatening animals and the jungle climate all while competing against a German expedition in search of the same tree lead by Prince Joachim played by Jesse Plemons’ and Philipp’s character Axel, a German close confidant to Prince Joachim.
We were so lucky to speak first hand with the talented and handsome Phillipp Maximilian…Keep reading on!
Do you recall the moment you knew you wanted to be part of the entertainment industry?
It’s funny, I remember playing this odd ruffian character in a stage production at a Club Med on holiday with my mom when I was 5. I was dressed in 90s-patterned sack linen, sporting a crutch and a big fake scar on my cheek. I was so nervous that I forgot all my words when I got on stage, but I absolutely loved every second of it. It was exhilarating and from that moment on I told myself that that’s what I wanted to do.
Tell us about your project JUNGLE CRUISE. How was it getting involved with such a huge project?
Being a gigantic Disney fan myself, I pretty much lost my sh** when I got the audition for JUNGLE CRUISE. So when I didn’t hear back from them, I was extremely bummed. Then three months later I get a call from my agent saying they want me and that I needed to be in Atlanta two days later. The sets for JUNGLE CRUISE were absolutely fabulous. It was like stepping into a Disney theme park. Except no lines! I was like a kid in a candy store. Even on my days off, I’d stroll through the sound stages or hang out on the epic treehouse set.
Tell us about a memorable experience on set.
One night I get a text from Jesse (Plemons) saying he had this thought that my character could sing him a song at one point in the movie and asked me to come up and memorize a popular German song from 1916…WAIT WHAT?? I was so nervous, I couldn’t sleep. I found this very specific marching song and started memorizing. Over the next few days Jesse would help me memorize the song. At point we were knee-deep in water, burning torches in hand about to shoot this big sequence and we didn’t even realize we were humming the song when Emily (Blunt) turned around and looked at us like “What is going on?”
How did you prepare to get into character? Did you face any sort of challenge in portraying your character?
For me, it’s very important to build a strong foundation for any character I play. I need to know where they’re coming from, how they were raised, and why they are where they are in their lives. With Axel, this turned out to be pretty difficult as the script offered little insight into who he was. The hardest part for me was trying to find a way to truly connect to a gruff mercenary on a submarine. I had to make that experience visceral for me. Putting on the costume for the first time was an “aha moment” for me. Paco Delgado, who designed the costumes, put us in thick layers of rubber, leather, and wool.
During quarantine, many people took upon themselves to learn a new hobby or skill? Is there one that you took upon yourself that you will continue to do once things get back to normal?
I’ve become such a garden nerd during quarantine. What started as a couple of tomato plants is now a full grown all-organic vegetable patch with zucchini, kale, eggplant, peppers, and even potatoes. I’m all about it and I feel like my next house will be a farm. I’m ready for a chicken coop!
As an actor, what do you hope to accomplish the most?
I’m currently writing two different screenplays and developing a mini-series called Dr Wunderkind. The idea of creating and producing my own content is very exciting to me and gives me the opportunity to write the kind of characters for myself that I’m really thrilled about.
What advice do you have for upcoming actors or people wanting to jump into the industry?
One thing acting programs don’t teach you is the business side of the industry. Especially in the beginning of your career, you (the actor) are your own agent, manager, publicist, editor and financial assistant. I would love to tell my 20-year-old self to take a financial management course. Oh and take Fountain (I stole that advice from someone truly great)!
What is something about you that people may not know of you?
I can tie a cherry stem in a tight knot with my tongue. No hands required.
Favorite TV show and Movie of all time?
I just started rewatching The O.C.. I was obsessed with that show and I gotta say, it really holds up. The Shining is my favorite movie of all times. It made me want to be in film, it still haunts me to this day. I have probably seen it 20 times.
As you may know, Vulkan is a style and fashion magazine. Please describe to us your style and sense of fashion.
In my daily life I’m a pretty casual guy, I love a great pair of dark-denim jeans with a white or black tee and boots. But I love nothing more than dressing up for a good occasion. In that case, I like to get creative with my outfits, I love patterns and yummy materials. I have this brown leather jacket that I bought at a thrift store in Berlin 10 years ago and it’s still one of my favorite pieces of clothing. Having a good reason to dress up is one of the things I look forward to the most once things go back to normal.
Photos Credit Normandy Europa