East Berlin is the coolest place to live. It's beautiful. The best restaurants are there, the best shops, art galleries. People are walking in the streets. There is all this new, new architecture that was brought into East Germany because they dumped so much money into it. It was just so amazing to see the transformation of all those years. You have this really old architecture, but there are sites that are bombed out and what they were able to do is, you have two pieces of really old architecture, and you're able to put a modern structure right in the middle, because it was bombed out. There is no place in Europe where you can do that. In Paris, you'd never be able to because of the codes.
What about West Berlin?
We shot Flightplan all over the place, but one of our locations was Charlottenburg, which is a really pretty part of West Berlin - really cool shops, beautiful old apartment buildings with hardwood floors and high ceilings, good little restaurants. Holger Maschke is a shop right next to where we spent all this time. It only sells coffee things. Every different coffeemaker you could ever imagine in the world, they sell it. Every kind of coffee.
You left Hollywood to go to college. Where in Berlin do you continue your education?
I said, "Well, I'll go to the Jewish Museum [designed by architect Daniel Libeskind] for a couple of hours, then I'll go shopping for a couple of hours, and then I'll go to work." I was at the Jewish Museum for four and a half hours. At the Jewish Museum, you have the feeling of being put on a train and being shipped away to a camp. So the way the building is designed, you have these long, long, long, long corridors that are almost like a train station. Then you see these stories of the families. Then you get to the end of this corridor, and you walk into a room, and they only let in five people at a time. This room is completely dark. There's not any light. It's all concrete, and at the top, there are two slits, and you can hear Berlin beyond, but you can't see it. It's sort of like being in a train. You'll hear fire engines going by and things happening, but you're completely blocked out of it.
Pergamon is the ancient-civilization museum. The Germans bought the ancient city of Pergamon from Turkey and hauled it back block by block by block. They took out the ancient site and rebuilt it inside the museum. If you love antiquities and all the BC stuff, it's just amazing. What I love is the Bauhaus Museum. I went there the first time, the second time, the third time, the fourth time. I always go there. It has photographs, art pieces - all from the Bauhaus school. It's in a building that was the original Bauhaus building, built by a famous architect. That's definitely worth seeing. It's just a small museum.
Where else do you have to go every trip?
I went around the city, and I just remember seeing the Reichstag, the outside clearly. The Reichstag is fabulous now. It was the seat of parliament. Before Hitler came to power, there was a fire at the Reichstag, and he blamed it on the Communists. That was his excuse for getting rid of parliament [and firmly establishing Nazi rule]. Parliament never met there again. The Reichstag remained empty. During the war, it was bombed and destroyed, then it was used throughout the 1960s, when the wall was up, for demonstrations and things like that. No one had ever been inside. Right before they renovated, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped it in silver in 1995 - they did one of those installations - and it was pretty fabulous. The renovation on it, which is amazing, was finished in 1999. It has the fabulous view of all of Berlin, because there really wasn't anything built much higher than it.
What about shopping?
One of the things I've been doing since I was a kid is going to Ka De We. It's basically like a department store you'd find anywhere, like Harrods. Then on the top they have the food halls, like they do at Harrods. They have prosciutto from Italy, chocolate, the best you can imagine, and then they have food halls, including this whole area that's only fish. You can get clam chowder, every kind of fish you can think of. And it's all right there. They make the food right there. Then you get a little glass of all the different wines - a different Riesling or Prosecco. I always get the schnitzel - veal that's fried, your traditional German meal. I always have schnitzel and a Riesling.