The Vincent

November 1997                                                                                                                   
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We might think we Americans are at the center of world movie culture, but sometimes we're the last to notice when lightning strikes. Vincent Perez, for example, is a godling to the rest of the globe, but in New York he's hardly ever noticed on the street. 

"At times I'm recognized - I lived downtown for a year, and eventually people began to notice.  But mostly, the people here just don't care."

Actually, some people do care - those who are rabid fans of Gallic costume epics (Perez starred in Cyrano de Bergerac, Indochine and Queen Margot) and those who have formed an unhealthy attachment to the dubious sequel The Crow: City of Angels.  Of course, some moviegoers who are neither of those camps have simply noticed that Perez is good looking enough to shatter glass.  Is his receding hairline putting all that in jeopardy? 

"I can't do what some people do, putting plugs in and stuff like that. I don't worry about how good looking people think I am," demurs the dashing one. "I think more about what's going on inside, in my soul."

Perez has put his good looks and everything else to work in front of American audiences in Swept From the Sea, a tempestuous adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novella Amy Foster, in which he plays a 19-century Ukrainian emigrant shipwrecked off the southern coast of England.  The actors remains philosophical about what this role will or will not do for his recognizability in the U.S., but certainly hopes it doesn't approach his celebrity profile in Russia.  There he needs bodyguards. 

"The mafia controls everything, and everybody is drunk.  Once I stepped into my car and my eyes started burning - I realized it was because of the Bacardi wafting back from the driver.  Police wanted to pull us over, but this driver was too drunk to notice, and suddenly it was a chase, like in a movie - he had his gun out, they had their guns out.  It's a very dangerous place." 

So, one must note, is Hollywood.  This is a fact so far lost on Perez: "I've had nothing but good experiences."


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