PORTRAIT OF A STAR
Tim Wilde (b. 1966) apprentices as a heating engineer and tries his hand at diving in the People’s Navy of the GDR. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 he works in Frankfurt am Main, initially as a caregiver for the elderly. Then come the odd jobs: Wilde works as a groundskeeper, a bartender, and a leaflet distributor. In the mid-1990s he has a career crisis. Theater acting turns his life around. He trains as an actor and makes his first inroads into TV and film. The married family man appears in such films as the ‘Die wilden Kerle,’ ‘Ossi’s Eleven,’ and ‘Traumschiff Surprise – Periode 1’. This is followed by roles in ‘Weissensee’ and as Fahri Yardim’s and Til Schweiger’s boss in the Hamburg episodes of the ever-popular police procedural ‘Tatort.’ The amateur boxer’s trademark is his rakishly crooked nose.
There are places that exert a strong magnetic force on people, if for no other reason than that they are so incredibly beautiful. Divinely idyllic, like the world of a perfectly composed postcard. And yet real. One such place is the Burg Schwarzenstein hotel. Built by the Mumm family in 1876 in the hills of the Rheingau region, the estate offers a unique panorama guaranteed to make every visitor rub their eyes in wonder. The view is of the vineyard landscape between Wiesbaden and Rüdesheim, cut through by the stately curves of the Rhine.
In the midst of this reverie a voice suddenly asks: “Should we talk here, or should we rev up the engine and drive around a bit?” The question comes from Tim Wilde, actor, amateur boxer, and Opel enthusiast. Wilde has just finished posing for a photographer with the new Zafira and his fellow actor Fahri Yardim. The Burg Schwarzenstein serves as a backdrop for the media launch, which offers journalists a chance to learn about the current version of the compact van. Celebrities such as Wilde and Yardim talk to representatives of lifestyle magazines and answer their questions.
“I’M NOT A HOT-RODDER”
Opel Post is grateful for Wilde’s flexibility in the choice of interview locations. With all due respect to the beauty of the castle and the Rheingau panorama, there is only one place for a conversation about a vehicle advertised as the Opel Travel Lounge: inside the new Zafira itself. Wilde nods, grins, and settles into the AGR-certified (Aktion Gesunder Rücken) ergonomic seat of a ‘lava red’ Zafira. “Wow,” he says just a few meters into the spontaneous test drive. “I like it. It’s the 200 horsepower version.” The first thing Wilde, 50, pays attention to in a car is the engine. “I’m not a hot-rodder, but I still like to have plenty of horsepower under the hood, just so I know I could if I wanted to.”
“Man, this van really is a little like a lounge. I like how comfortable it is.”
– Tim Wilde –
Tim Wilde on…
…the brand with the lightning bolt
“I go with Opel, because we’re a lot alike. Gutsy, yet self-deprecating and prone to understatement.”
…his Opel in everyday life, an Insignia OPC with automatic transmission
“No way do I have to use the 325 horsepower engine to its fullest. But I enjoy the feeling of not having to change gears and I like listening to the sound of the engine in ‘sports’ mode.
…the new Zafira
“It’s networked, comfortable, and equipped with a top-quality engine. For a family man like me with a job that requires driving tens of thousands of kilometers a year, this compact van is an excellent option.”
…his unconventional way of dealing with his extreme fear of flying
“I went with steamroller tactics and decided to get a pilot’s license. Today I fly in amazing ultra-light planes.”
…long trips with his ten-year-old son
“I get to choose the first ten songs, then it’s his turn. They’re two very different musical worlds. But thanks to this compromise we’re able to reach our destination as a harmonious team.”
And so the new Zafira is very much to his taste. This is partly due to the vehicle’s cutting-edge IntelliLink infotainment system. As the road winds past vineyards and the sun lends St. Marienthal Abbey a golden sheen, Wilde connects his smartphone to the system and plays what is currently his favorite soundtrack for driving. There’s the melodious hard rock stylings of Foreigner, followed by ‘Mei Heaz,’ a pop ballad sung in the Bavarian dialect by Gudrun Mittermeier, the wife of a well-known comedian. “The song is so different, yet so emotional and powerful, that I absolutely had to play a part in the video,” says Wilde.
OPEL ONSTAR IS REPRESENTED BY STEFFEN
Distracted by all the shop talk from the music industry, the new Zafira suddenly turns down an unknown lane in the middle of the Rhine-Taunus Nature Park. Where is the castle? Should we turn on the GPS? “Oh, typing is so uncomfortable,” says Wilde. He presses the Opel OnStar button located on the back of the rearview mirror. “I press it almost every other trip, whether I’m looking for a dry cleaner’s or the nearest gas station.” Within seconds, the personal online and service assistant connects him with a consultant who works at OnStar headquarters in Luton, England. “Hello, this is Steffen. What can I do for you?” Wilde: “Please show the route to Burg Schwarzenstein on the screen.” OnStar Steffen: “Coming right up.”
“HOP OUT, PAL!”
With this brief dialogue still underway, the route appears on the seven-inch touch screen. Wilde uses the Wi-Fi connection to quickly check his e-mail on his cell phone. And before long we’re back at the place with the breathtaking view. The plan here is for Wilde to hop out and let fellow actor Fahri Yardim take the wheel. “I’m curious to see how he likes the vehicle,” says Wilde as he gets out – or rather, as he starts to get out, because he hesitates for a moment and lingers in his seat. “Man, this van really is a little like a lounge. I like how comfortable it is.” Yardim interrupts him and says with a wink in his casual Hamburg way, “Hop out, pal, I’m driving it to the airport now. You still have the castle.”
Music clip: Tim Wilde in ‘Mei Heaz’