Diane Kruger has just traded a yurt in the Himalayas for a hotel suite in Africa, and for more reasons than you’d think, she couldn’t be happier. “It was a lot harder than I anticipated,” Kruger says of the four weeks she spent living in the felt-covered, tentlike structure high in the mountains of Tajikistan as part of the filming for one of her two upcoming movies, Special Forces, in which she plays a French journalist kidnapped by the Taliban. “Eighteen-hour car rides, dirt roads that are not really roads, freezing cold at night, everyone is sleepdeprived, and everything is incredibly difficult and hard. I’ve broken down crying sometimes, but so have many of the boys.”

But would she do it all again? You bet. “It was also truly breathtaking, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” When we spoke in early November, filming had just shifted to Djibouti, a small country on the Horn of Africa. “Here it’s 120 degrees in the shade,” she says. Two-plus weeks in Djibouti would be followed by two weeks of filming in the French Alps, but it was clear the overall experience would stay with Kruger long after she wrapped.

“I researched the role for four months, interviewing female journalists who were kidnap victims, and I think it’s changed me as a person,” she says. “It’s as though I felt quite ignorant before this, or maybe it’s just part of growing up. I always thought I had a pretty accomplished life: a famous model who speaks three languages and keeps a place in Paris. [This role] has certainly put me in my place a little bit.”

 

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Kruger's Unknown Territory
While Special Forces (costarring Djimon Hounsou and due out later this year) may be the most demanding of Kruger’s recent adventures, it’s just the latest chapter in a career that she’s enjoying more with each subsequent role. Next up: The thriller Unknown features Kruger opposite Liam Neeson as a coma patient who awakes to find someone else living his life. Kruger is the Bosnian immigrant compelled to help Neeson uncover the truth.

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