The Vincent

          MARCH 2002                                                                          


Vincent Perez and Guillaume Depardieu Face to Face

Vincent Perez and Guillaume Depardieu prepare for a scene
listening carefully to director Jean Veber's instructions.

January 13th, noon. Blue sky. A door opens towards a muddy path lined with trees.

A bit further, an imposing abbey. It is in this mystical place of Val-d'Oise that Jean Veber (son of director Francis Veber) is shooting his first feature-length film - Le pharmacien de garde, a psychological thriller.

The movie tells the story of the meeting of a pharmacist who kills in the name of ecology (Vincent Perez) and a policeman (Guillaume Depardieu), whose relationship with his girlfriend (Clara Bellar, seen in AI by Steven Spielberg) has come to an end. The young director compares his film to Seven and Scenes de crimes saying, "I wanted to make such a movie with a mixture of a detective story and the fantastic."

Filming started ten weeks ago in Paris and now they are coming to the end in the countryside. Close to the abbey, the chief operator imitates the camera movements. The two main actors rehearse the shot, exaggerating on purpose. Behind his monitor, the director enjoys their jokes. "They are  the complete opposite of  stars who retreat to their rooms between shots. They become a part of the entire filming process. They are very funny and this helps the whole team."

The two actors have never starred together, but they worked together a few months ago when Vincent Perez directed his first feature-length film, Peau d’ange, starring Guillaume.

"Silence, we're shooting! Action!" The pharmacist invites his guest to come in and whispers something smiling enigmatically. "I was waiting for you."

Vincent Perez as the diabolic assassin

"Cut! Very good," declares the director. "We will repeat it a bit faster." Everyone executes the order. The shot ends. Jean Veber stands up. He is happy, and while the technicians prepare for the next shot, he brings us inside the abbey, which is transformed into a true movie studio. We see then for the first time the enormous gothic room. It’s the pharmacist’s hideaway. The young director looks around visibly touched and announces,  "After many years of thinking about it, here I am in a Val d’Oise Abbey shooting my first movie! It’s like giving birth!"

The film is to be released next fall or winter.

[Many thanks to Cinzia Masina for her French translation]

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