The Vincent

  May 2000                                                      

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He is one of the great European seducers of his generation. However, Vincent Perez quickly refuses to lock himself into handsome romantic roles in order to show us the other facets of his talent. Portrait of an actor who fears nothing.

When people ask Vincent, who is irremediably classified as one of the 50 most attractive men on the planet, what he thinks about his own physique, he responds: "That's the price of glory! Throughout the years, they have been saying that I achieved success because of my face." It just so happens that a career cannot be built on just one film. It's well understood, that if at any given moment, they decree that I work only because I fit a certain prototype of beauty, I wouldn't be able to do anything!" It is precisely to break loose from this image of excessive beauty that Vincent didn't hesitate to play in Russia, as in the United States, in films by underground authors. He is even happy to sacrifice his head of hair if it will make him look more serious. But insufficient luck, it suits him well!

Speaking in several languages is the sound in France

Contrary to what people would think, Vincent Perez is not French, but Swiss. He was born in Lausanne on June 10, 1965, to a Spanish father and a German mother, the second of three children. It was at the age of 7 when he decided to become an actor. "I saw a film by Charlie Chaplin. I saw myself in him, and ever since then, I have always wanted to do what he did." However, during his adolescence, he expected to be a sculptor, painter, or photographer. "I seriously imagined all those possibilities. But, I always perceived being an artist as solitary, and I had to be very calm and reserved, and I hate feeling alone." At the age of 18, he left his native Switzerland for Paris and entered the Conservatory. In order to perfect himself, he then registered at the school of Almandiers in Nanterre, which was run by Patrice Chereau, with whom he developed an excellent rapport. He then signed on to do Gardien du Nuit, his first film. A perfect gift to celebrate his 20th birthday. He had to wait two more years before Chereau gave him a role in Hotel de France. But, it was his role as Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac that made him so well known to the public. It is also interesting to note that Christian is an attractive young man who only has this asset, and that Vincent has been battling for a long time to prove to us that he has more than that to offer! Then one sees it, among other things, in Indochine, Fanfan and Queen Margot. Besides, it is thanks to this film (Queen Margot) that another door would open for him, that of Hollywood…

He becomes "Vince Perez"

starinc2s.jpg (23230 bytes)Americans have fallen for the guy they call "Vince Perez". And when Tim Pope, director of The Crow (Le Corbeau), was looking for someone to replace Brandon Lee, who died during the filming, he thought of Vincent. "I met Tim Pope after we filmed Queen Margot. I liked him immediately because of his intelligence. He had a vision; film enthusiasts without vision don't interest me." Perez is also a visionary, for one would think that a film like The Crow would be a top grossing production, and that would please him. However, this is what he says about it: "Today, we have lost touch with our legends and our references… We don't have any more stories to tell about our history. The only way to retain this connection is with symbols, which bring back the stories of our childhood and mythology. It was this that I liked about the film." The actor, who surprised the public with his dark performance, then returned to France to film Le Bossu. Perhaps in this film, he would be lighter and more radiant…, but the screenplay calls for him to be killed within a matter of minutes! His career is evolving on both sides of the Atlantic with a disconcerting ease. He surprises again in 1998, thanks to a film by his friend Chereau. In Ceux Qui M'Aiment Prendront le Train, he camps it up as an extroverted transvestite and… ray of beauty! Completely naked in Queen Margot, replacing Brandon Lee in The Crow, then a transvestite in a film by his former teacher… This is what defines the best of Perez' talent: the taste for risk, the fear of stagnating and not evolving…

Depardieu's Rival

In matters of the heart, on the other hand, Perez likes stability, and he found it in 1998 between the actor and the model Karine Silla. It was love at first sight, and the two lived a fairy tale for four years until the day Karine met … Gerard Depardieu. The French –Senegalese perhaps saw the film Too Beautiful For You, and left one of the most attractive men on the planet for Cyrano. Vincent, however, did not lower his arms, and while comforting himself with top model Carla Bruni, he kept hoping to get Karine back. Not easy, because this last affair brought little Roxanne (Cyrano is decidedly haunting us!) into the world, daughter of Depardieu. But, tired of Gerard's impulsive temperament, she left him and returned to Vincent, to marry him in December, 1998. After many chaotic years, Vincent has finally found serenity, and Iman, born of this union on May 2, 1999, is what proves it.

I Dreamed of Africa

africa1s.jpg (30481 bytes)Vincent spent many months in Africa last summer to film I Dreamed of Africa (J'ai Reve d l'Afrique) with costar Kim Basinger. The film, on movie screens May 5th, is based on an autobiographical novel by Kuki Gallmann. It is the story of a woman (Basinger), who, after spending her childhood in Africa, decides to return there with her husband (Perez) and son (Liam Aiken). The actors had to learn how to tame wild animals, an experience which the actor loved. This film, which is predicted to have success similar to Out of Africa (Souvenirs d'Afrique), is moreover, another step towards the conquest of America for Vincent. But he will always keep a cool head, and has returned to France in Le Libertin, where he plays the philosopher Diderot. Decidedly tireless, he is also preparing to direct an adaptation of a book, which he bought the rights to. One will have reasons to dream of him for a long time……….

[Written by  Cyril De L'Epine]

[With special thanks to Janette Sylvian for her French translation]

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