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What’s the one item you always take with you to Berlin?
I never go anywhere without my Totoro plush hand puppet. This started many years ago when my daughter was little and she insisted I bring Totoro with me on trips, so I wouldn’t be lonely. Over time he’s become my travel mascot. I’ll be bringing him to Berlin. It’ll be his first time.
Your favorite thing about Berlin?
It’s all about being in a great European city so steeped in history and culture. Berlin has the extra je ne sais quoi because of the history with the wall.
Advice for a Berlin first-timer?
Stay a day longer than necessary.
The one place you have to go while you’re there is …
I would say the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial.
At Berlin you should always …
Speak some German. Learn some basic things like “Ich habe hunger” [I am hungry], “Ich bin sehr mude” [I am very tired], “Ich bin krank” [I am sick], “Was ist das?” [what is that?]. Don’t worry about the grammar — nobody would expect you to get it right anyway.
How do you stay warm in Berlin?
Oh, come on. This isn’t Sundance in January! Just bring a decent coat.
Your best “lost in translation” moment in Berlin?
Probably asking for the wine list at a beer hall.
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter’s Feb. 16 daily issue at the Berlin Film Festival.
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