The Vincent

         August 1994 issue                                             

He’s tall, thin and has a bright smile, slightly embarrassed when we start speaking about his private life and his love story with Carla Bruni, the gorgeous top model, who has been able to conquer him with a typical feminine trick: "We met at some friends’place, " she said in an interview on French TV, "and I immediately found him attractive. It was the time when there were rumors about my having affairs with famous men. A journalist asked me who my boyfriend was and I just answered, 'Vincent Perez'. It was published in every magazine, so I called him pretending to be willing to apologize, and I invited him to spend a short holiday with me. He did not accept immediately…"

Unbelievable. Maybe he was still in love with Jacqueline Bisset, who he met in 1989 on the set of La Maison de Jade. He used to say, "I've rarely met a woman like her. I love women in their 40s. They make me feel more sure of myself." And what about Carla? Nowadays she speaks about wedding and many kids, but just until yesterday she confessed of loving only more mature men (‘I can learn a lot from them. I don’t get crazy over boys’).

The two lovers (Carla: "Vincent is adorable, full of good sides, exceptional;" Vincent: "I was struck by her smartness, her rich and multi-faceted personality.") run after each other from one continent to another. She’s on the most prestigious catwalks and he has been seen in both theatre classics and colossal films. In Cyrano de Bergerac, starring with Gerard Depardieu ("Extraordinary, generous, he taught me to ‘become’ the character only at the last second; otherwise, you end up playing on your own") he was Christian, the beautiful but poorly talented speaker; or as in the epic drama Indochine, in which he could hold in his arms nobody less than Catherine Deneuve; or in Queen Margot that premiered in Cannes and is about to be shown in Italy.

He was given the role of La Mole (lover of the queen) by Patrice Chereau, who discovered him among his pupils at the Nanterre experimental theatre. Vincent came there by pure chance. Born and grown up in Lausanne from a Spanish father and a German mother, at age 15 he left school and discovered photography. Then he found out that he needed a bit of fantasy in his life, and he tried to act. "I didn’t like the idea of having only one life; being an actor allowed me to live many."

Now he loves his profession and he couldn’t do without it. It's allowed him to leave his coyness aside, to follow his natural tendency towards perfection ("One must never be satisfied; one must move the objectives higher and higher"), and to feel complete. His career takes first place. ("Give up my career for a woman? It would be a mistake, because it is too important to follow one’s own passions. One loves someone also for what she/he does, for how she/he lives."). His career has allowed him to grow up ("A bad day is a day when I have learned nothing").

Tenacious, strict with himself and naturally ambitious, Vincent, at 30, is the most sought-after French actor, perfect for romantic characters of the past ("I am an actor who can easily travel in time, which is not very common in France right now"), but who has already been tempted by directing. He made a short film, L’Echange, written together with Indochine director, Regis Wargnier. In 1992 he won the Jean Gabin prize. He has been nominated for a Cesar. He knows what success is, but he gives his own interpretation of it. "Success is having a house and being able to lend it to friends. It's traveling, going to movies, writing or drawing." He loves Chaplin, Kazan, Bergman, Scorsese, Jodie Foster and his friend Daniel Day Lewis ("He’s at the top; I give it a try").

He likes cooking, the sea, Britain and love with a big L. Love made of confidences, fidelity and total commitment: "In love you must re-invent everything every day and never consider anything as given or certain. For the love of my woman, I could do anything. Passion is like fire. In order to make it last, you have to add wood to it, non-stop."

[Written by Natalia Rancati]

[With special thanks to Cinzia Masina for her Italian translation]


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