Powerful and limber, German actor Heino Ferch had an early career as a gymnast that prepared him for the physical demands of taut thrillers and kinetic action dramas. After landing an early lead role as a frenzied drug runner in the gritty urban dramedy "Wedding" (1990), he found something of a niche portraying shrewd, sometimes sympathetic German soldiers and citizens otherwise affected by wartime proceedings. In 1997, he starred in nine separate movies, breaking out with headlining roles in the rollicking a capella biopic "The Harmonists" and director Tom Tykwer's indelibly snow-covered revenge thriller "Winter Sleepers." He also appeared in Tykwer's much celebrated and manically entrancing time-and-space exercise "Run Lola Run" the following year. In the '00s, he starred as a swimmer attempting an escape over the Berlin Wall in the harrowing docu-drama "The Tunnel" and as Hitler's architect in the sterling "Downfall," an Oscar-nominated fly-on-the-wall account of the Nazi dictator's final days in a bunker. Those two highly praised films presaged Ferch's popularity as a frequent lead actor in a series of TV specials created for the express purpose of dramatizing events from Germany's history.