“I have always been a huge fan of musicals,” Weil admitted. “When I was a teenager, I fell in love with this beautiful form of entertainment. During this time, I tried to see every new show that came to Germany and I seriously thought about studying musical. But I doubted that my singing and dancing skills would be strong enough to be able to compete in this tough business. Also, I have always felt the strong desire to do films and TV, so I decided to pursue this path. Knowing this, you can imagine how excited I was when I got the offer to be the ‘Bodyguard.’ It’s not only a fantastic part – but it’s also one of my favorite musicals. I love all the songs, I love the fantastic story full of love, suspense and big emotions and I’m honestly counting the days till we finally have our opening night.”
Weil is stoked to play Kevin Costner’s character Frank Farmer. “I must have been about 15 years old when I saw the film for the first time. Frank Farmer was such a cool guy. I guess every boy my age wanted to be a bit like him. Also, Kevin Costner was one of my personal superheros during the ’90s. I loved to see his movies and really admired him for all he had achieved, as he was doing the job I still hoped to be able to do one day: acting. That I get to play his iconic role of Frank Farmer feels like a huge honor to me. It is demanding to live up to the expectations people have for this part, and to still give Frank some of my own new aspects. But I’m super excited and happy to take on this challenge,” he explained.
When he was preparing for his audition, Weil thought a lot about the Frank Farmer character. “I thought about his motivation, his inner conflict, and what moves him. And even though Frank and I are very different people, I realized that we still have a lot in common. So it felt very natural and comfortable to get in character. Talking about this I have to say: I just can’t wait to start rehearsing and to become the ‘Bodyguard’,” he said, with a laugh.
Growing up, Weil was a fan of the film. “I have seen this film like a thousand times. It is just so good. Also the soundtrack, which still is one of the most successful film soundtracks ever. All these beautiful songs feel like the soundtrack to my youth. I remember listening to ‘I Will Always Love You’ when I was heartbroken for the first time as a teenager. So this song means a lot to me. I’m super happy that the musical’s creators brilliantly succeeded in bringing the film’s spirit to stage. The film itself was fantastic, but in my humble opinion the musical is even better. I guess I’m biased, because as I’ve said earlier, it is one of my favorite shows,” he said.
On his future plans, Weil said, “The musical will be playing in the Ronacher Theatre in Vienna. I am in the middle of moving flats to Munich and Vienna. It’s a bit exhausting but I know what I’m doing it for. Also, there is another new project taking shape – but it’s too early to talk about it. This musical will take most of my time for the year to come, but I will still be trying to do some things next to it.”
Digital transformation of theatre
On the impact of technology on theatre, Weil said, “Technology affected theatre a lot. The technical possibilities we have today allow us to tell new stories, to create bigger and fantastic worlds on stage. I guess shows like ‘Harry Potter’ on West End or ‘Frozen’on Broadway wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. Some critics say there is too much technology involved in modern stage productions. I would say as long as the new possibilities support the story a show wants to tell and help to create a unique experience for the audience, it’s absolutely legitimate for producers to use them.”
For his fans, Weil concluded, “The last few years I received so many messages where fans asked me to do something on stage again. So I hope my decision to do this musical will make them happy and they’ll take the chance to come and watch the show. Vienna is a beautiful city and always worth a trip. Ronacher is one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve ever been to. So it’s clear to say: you just shouldn’t miss this musical. For those who fear that they might not be able to understand the show: the songs are in English and I think during the dialogue there are screens with English subtitles next to the stage. So all my fans should be able to experience and enjoy this show. We are opening on September 27, and will be running till summer of 2019. So that is enough time to plan a visit to Austria.”
To learn more about the upcoming Bodyguard musical, starring Jo Weil, check out its official website.