The “Legal Affairs” series of lawyers can be seen on Sunday. Leading actress Lavinia Wilson reveals surprising details.
Berlin’s political, media and celebrity scene will take center stage on the Sunday after the Munich “crime scene”. This time, however, the talk show “Anne Will” does not deal with it as usual, but the new lawyer series “Legal Affairs”. The first two of the eight episodes will broadcast from 9:45 p.m. The remainder will run at the same time on December 20th, 22nd, and 23rd.
Grimme Prize winner Lavinia Wilson (41, “Frau Böhm says no”) plays the main role of the successful and merciless star lawyer Leo Roth, who becomes entangled in a threatening thicket of political and private intrigues in the course of the series. Her cases – each episode tells a closed case – deal with current issues such as the power of the tabloid media, shitstorms, racism and corruption.
In an interview with spot on news, actress Lavinia Wilson tells, among other things, what she was doing while preparing for real Berlin media lawyer Prof. Dr. Christian Schertz (55) saw what pushed her to her limits during filming and what amazes her about shitstorms.
What did you find particularly appealing about the series “Legal Affairs”?
Lavinia Wilson: What is totally exciting about the project for me is the topicality and explosiveness of the topics: the anonymous hatred on the internet, shitstorms, hatspeech. But also the absurdity that so many people bare themselves online without anyone asking what that does to our society. And how that can be captured again. I also find it unbelievable how the reputation of people can be destroyed in a very short time – including people who never wanted to be the subject of public interest.
What do you find particularly exciting about your role, star lawyer Leo Roth?
Wilson: Leo Roth is a woman who doesn’t make it easy for you. I think that’s great at first. Although we tell a closed case in each of the eight episodes, we still have such a long stretch available that we also use to tell this character in an incredibly complex manner. However, that also means that she has sides that mean that I wouldn’t necessarily go out for coffee with her. But as a lawyer I would of course like to have her – at least if she is in a good mood. I found it really exciting that I was allowed to play such an exuberant, impulsive, manipulative and at the same time vulnerable character.
Leo Roth is extremely eloquent and speaks very quickly. How hard was it to learn these lyrics?
Wilson: Yeah, that was the horror. When I watched the first two episodes in advance, I was a bit shocked by the tempo and these lyrics. I can remember that it took a tremendous amount of energy when we shot this. But I underestimated that it would be so blatant. Before, I always said: Oh, learning text, it sticks as soon as you understand the intention behind it. It was really like that for me until Leo Roth came around the corner.
Leo’s lyrics are really long, because she likes to hear herself talk, and very complex. Above all, I had to reproduce the legal texts very precisely, otherwise the content would quickly become incorrect. That meant a lot of extra research for me. Only then was I able to deal with the other aspects of the character. Learning to read text pushed me to my limits, something that has never happened to me before … Next, I’d really like to make a silent film (laughs).
The real media lawyer Christian Schertz was there to advise you and the entire film team. Did you use that?
Wilson: Yes, I was allowed to watch him in the office and also went to court with him. I was able to see a little something there.
Is he the male equivalent of Leo Roth?
Wilson: No, I wouldn’t say that. He’s already given a lot of inspiration. For example, the cases we deal with are typical case constellations. But they are not real cases. What he always emphasized, however, is that the fast pace, the pressure, the flexibility and the constant changes that we show in the series are real.
And as far as the parallels to my figure are concerned, Christian Schertz definitely has this matter of course to take the space and such an impatience. On the one hand, he argues in the matter in a totally precise and watertight manner. And then suddenly he shows a very snotty Berlin snottiness again. I found that very interesting. I also copied this very lively signature one to one from him. And of course individual sayings, such as saying to employees: “Just do it!” But I had to think of the rest. Because in order to make a figure exciting, I have to visualize and assemble its innermost fears, desires and all that.
Leo Roth strongly bends the law in some places, for example she “pays” a tabloid journalist with spicy information about celebrities. What did Christian Schertz say about it?
Wilson: He has taken a very clear position on this: he would never use the methods that Leo Roth uses, which are on the verge of legality. That is also very important to him. This whole horizontally told story is also purely fictional.
You have already touched on the subject of Shitstorm. Nowadays that is a real danger. What did you learn how to deal with it while filming the series?
Wilson: Fortunately, I’ve never been a victim of a shit storm. In the course of researching the series, I really dealt with shitstorms for the first time and put myself in the comment columns. I was shocked at the malice that is poured out over people and how people express their dislike under the supposed protection of anonymity. I wonder if these people would say that to your face as well. I do not think so. At the same time I ask myself: where does this hatred come from? That must be a very big frustration. It’s just so sad and I can’t really explain it.
How do you think you would deal with a shit storm yourself?
Wilson: It’s difficult, but I think the only solution is not to react. Whenever I post something on social media, I get headwinds. That’s part of it. But when such a concentrated crowd rushes at a person, I actually cannot and will not imagine that. I think I’d always try to put it in a bigger context because only then have I no reason to just turn it off.
… because the internet and especially social media also have their good sides?
Wilson: Exactly. One can, of course, find the stupidity and ugliness of many of the comments posted on social media platforms disgusting. But at the same time movements like “Metoo” or “Fridays for future” would not have been able to develop so much impact if social media hadn’t existed. So I find it difficult to demonize everything.
I too sometimes have encounters on social media that surprise me. For example, when I suddenly get a long letter from someone in India who saw something with me on Netflix that really touched him. When I read something like this, of course, I think it’s great that such a form of exchange is possible that didn’t exist before. The internet actually started as an opportunity for more equality, more democracy, more freedom and more networking. In the meantime, it has also become, above all, a capitalist sales platform. But that says less about the Internet than about us.
Leo Roth is a very elegant figure. Do you also like this style privately?
Wilson: That Leo Roth is so brightly dressed, especially at the beginning, was the idea of the costume designer. We wanted a woman who walks on the edge so much as to make her look like an innocent angel. I thought that was great and it also helped me a lot to get into the role.
For reasons of sustainability, I haven’t bought any new clothes for years. Instead, I buy the clothes I wear in films and series from the productions. The result is that I have a wardrobe full of clothes from the characters I’ve played. And then I have to combine that somehow.
Since most of the clothes in this case were from the fund or second hand and were returned, I was able to buy almost nothing this time – yes, the film industry is also changing towards more sustainability. What I took away from Leo, however, are these very cool sunglasses with this great glamor appeal. I also liked to wear them all summer long.