Best known to international audiences for her portrayal of the flame-haired, hyper-kinetic heroine of Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run (1998), Franka Potente is one of Germany's fastest rising young actresses. Born on July 22, 1974, in the town of Dülmen, Potente was educated at Munich's Otto Falkenberg Schule and the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. According to legend, she was "discovered" as an actress by a casting agent who saw her in a bar restroom one night and asked her to describe herself in one sentence.
Potente made an auspicious film debut in Hans-Christian Schmid's 1996 film Nach Fünf im Urwald, for which she won that year's Bavarian Film Prize for Young Talent; she subsequently did a good deal of television work before enjoying her international breakthrough in Run Lola Run. A huge hit in Germany and a sleeper success in the States, the film featured Potente in a state of constant locomotion, running through time and fate to save her boyfriend from the clutches of his gangster employers. Her performance, which combined urgency, unflappable verve, and surprising warmth, earned her the respect of any number of critics, and she found herself -- alongside director and then-boyfriend Tom Tykwer -- being hailed as one of the European cinema's most exciting new talents.