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LOS ANGELES -- Thomas Kretschmann has a Cross to bare in Wanted. As the greatest assassin alive in Wanted, his character isn't exactly who he appears to be when he first shows up in the movie.

The exact identity of his character turns out to be a major twist in Wanted, which brought in $134.7 million domestically and $341.6 million worldwide over the summer and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Without giving anything away, it's safe to say that Cross is the target of James McAvoy's Wesley throughout the film. And whenever Cross appears on screen, there's usually a lot going on -- over-the-top car chases, bullet-curving shootouts, trains plummeting stories, etc.

Kretschmann, a former Olympic-caliber swimmer from East Germany whose credits include King Kong, Blade II and the upcoming Valkyrie, is always up for the action.

"Being German, Išm usually thought of as the bad guy, right?" Krestchmann says. "Well, that's the nature of the beast. My character has to appear as cool, precise and confident, so there's no drama involved in what I'm doing -- in an acting sense.

"We're taught to keep acting simple, and I always try to explain anything I can with as few words as possible. In this film, I barely talk at all. It can't get more simple than that."

Cross has to stay a step ahead of the Fraternity members, who have targeted him after he takes out Mister X, whom Wesley is told is his father.

"You've got to be cool, you know," Kretschmann says. "I trained a lot with the weapons. I wanted to be up to date, especially with Angelina (Jolie), who's such a pro with weapons and fighting. She seems to be made for everything. She looks so cool and moves so cool. As her adversary in the film, you've got to be on the same level at least. That was my major concern. I did weapon training and I did it extensively."

Kretschmann said the weapon training was tough.

"I was hired quite late in the game, so I was quite nervous about the fact that I didnšt have much time to train," he says. "I had no earthly idea how I was supposed to turn myself into the world's greatest assassin in just one week. I felt like I needed at least six months to prepare."

But he pulled it off. Kretschmann says the action scenes weren't overly demanding for him physically.

"It looks out of this world because the way they cut them and with the special effects," he says. "It's all stuff that if you're relatively sportive -- and I am -- that you can do that easily. You just get lots of brusises and stuff like that."

Early in Wanted, Cross has a memorable car chase, pursuing the Viper containing Fox and Wesley with a big delivery truck.

"They don't let you drive as much as you want," Kretschmann says. "We had the truck on a truck and they were going really fast. And I couldn't lean out to shoot as much as I'd like. And I said, "Let's take the seat belt off, right?" They go, "No way!" I go, "But I'm fine, I'm fine." And they go, "Well, we are not."

Kretschmann met Wanted creator Mark Millar on set in Chicago and did look at the comics, but really focused on the script for the role.

"I figured out over the years that sometimes it's easier to keep it simple and do what you're doing and not to have too much information in your head," he says. "Just go straight forward with what you're doing. That's what I did, listen to director."

Kretschmann says Wanted delivers what the filmmakers intended.

"You can never tell with these kinds of movies," he says. "When you're shooting them, there are all these ideas and they tell you it's going to look like this and like this, and mostly it doesn't. Mostly, your fantasy is bigger than the result. But in this case, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe what I saw."

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