Riccardo Simonetti (31) can be seen in a guest role in “Dream Ship: Phuket” (March 31, 8:15 p.m., ZDF) on Easter Sunday. For his role as an employee at an elephant sanctuary, he had to get along well with the pachyderms before filming. The entertainer and “Free Hugs” podcaster explains how he did it in an interview with the news agency spot on news. He also revealed what significance the popular travel TV series (since 1981) has for his family.

Riccardo Simonetti: My mom and I used to watch “Dream Ship” whenever we got wanderlust and it just felt good to see these beautiful places, even if only on TV.

Simonetti: My mom knew how much I wanted to be able to play there, so she felt like it was a gift from the universe.

Simonetti: I had been to Thailand before and was able to experience the country’s warm culture. This time I was in a different part of the country and even had the opportunity to see a Thai drag show after filming was over. I really liked that.

Simonetti: I was welcomed warmly and warmly by my colleagues and throughout the entire shoot I really felt how professional and committed everyone was to working on this project. Even though every now and then an elephant wanted to do its own thing and started asking us for bananas with its trunk while we were filming a serious dialogue (laughs).

Simonetti: I had to move very confidently between these large animals. So I should build a relationship with them beforehand. To do this, you feed them a banana and gently blow on their trunks. This way they remember your smell and don’t question it later when you get close to them because they store you as a positive association. As already mentioned, it can happen that a trunk comes into the picture during filming and asks for more bananas. The young animals in particular underestimate their strength, a bit like people do (laughs).

Simonetti: I watched a couple of elephants playing with a cub. It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my life and I am so glad that there are such elephant sanctuaries where these wonderful animals are protected.

Simonetti: The mask time for my character was about five minutes. This is something that is definitely not the norm in my life (laughs).

Simonetti: I will be at our home in Mallorca. This is my happy place.

Simonetti: This is supposed to be a full circle moment – I used to watch it with my mom and that shouldn’t change now that I’m there.

Simonetti: About new episodes of my podcast “Free Hugs” with Anke Engelke, in which I will tell more behind-the-scenes impressions from the “Dream Ship” shoot. Small spoiler: If you want to know what Florian Silbereisen looks like in his underwear, you should listen (laughs). No really, the weekly conversations with Anke Engelke are balm for the soul and I’m happy that we can share that with people every Friday.