The Vincent

February 1, 1998                                                            

Multi-Cultural Actor Understands Role All Too Well
Click! That's the sound that Vincent Perez has to hear before he decides to work on a film, whether its Queen Margot, in which he appeared as the romantic temptation for Isabelle Adjani, Cyrano De Bergerac, in which he played Christian to Gerard Depardieu's Cyrano, or Indochine, in which he played opposite Catherine Deneuve. And now - Click! - he's the handsome hero in Swept from the Sea, a period romance in which Perez portrays Yanko Gooral, a passionate Ukrainian who is washed overboard in Cornwall, England, when his ship is destroyed by a storm on its way to America. Yanko, who is received with hostility by the villagers, falls in love with an independent woman who feels like an outsider herself.

At a press gathering last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, the actor says he identifies with hero in the film, directed by Beeban Kidron.

"I've always been an outsider and I relate to the character of Yanko."

Perez, who is the son of a Spaniard and a German who grew up in a small village in Switzerland speaking French.

"When faced with a stranger and differences, people are generally curious or afraid."

In his own case growing up "in the tiny island of Switzerland, which is quite separate from the rest of the world," people were generally afraid of the differences.

"It was like racism or xenophobia."

As someone who acts primarily in French films, does he feel like an outsider in Hollywood as well?

"Oh, yes, but for me, Hollywood is not life. It is a factory."

Perez, who lives in Paris and Los Angeles, had a taste of the star machinery when he played the title role of The Crow: City of Angels last year.

And his career certainly didn't suffer when People Magazine named the 33-year-old actor one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."  He says jokingly:

"Are you impressed by that?  It's fun. We're talking about it now and we all can have a good laugh. But it really doesn't change my life. And next year, they'll have to find 50 new people."

He says he is now considering many offers.

"I'm just trying to make the right choices. I've been refusing big movies to do small movies and I'm trying to stay honest with myself and to do really good work. If I don't hear that little click, I don't think I am able to play a part."

His next role will be playing Mexican hero Emiliano Zapata in Alfonso Arau's film. He also has two French films, Le Bossu, opposite Daniel Auteuil, and Those Who Love Me Take the Train, on his roster.

[Written by Frank Rizzo]

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