|INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
May 16, 1998
THE NEW LOOK OF VINCENT PEREZ
In Patrice Chereau's Ceux Qui M'aiment Prendront le Train (Those Who Love Me
Can Take the Train), a famous artist dies and a group of old disciples, friends,
former lovers and their wives, take the train to Limoges to bury him. One woman misses the
train and appears later as they have never seen her, in a wig, spike heels, makeup.
''Definitely, it was a risk, but that's the only way to grow, to make the
work personal, and that's what I've always been looking for. The trouble is, when you
start as a jeune premier, they put you in a little box and want you to stay there.''
''Viviane is a richer role than the part I played in La Reine Margot,
but Patrice always knew that I was looking for ways to stretch."
''I had done work as a clown and in commedia dell'arte, but I wanted to
get out of the classic mode and felt that he could help.''
''Valeria plays the woman Viviane admires. She wants to be her because
she's a real woman, she has beautiful breasts and she's going to have a baby. You see,
Viviane knows she'll never really be a woman or raise kids. She's in between, but she
prefers being in between to being really wrong.''
''It was a secret for a year. There was no Vincent on the set, just Viviane.''
He came on the set three hours early to make up and find the right pitch to his voice.
''I needed time to explore. Working in English taught me to immerse
myself myself in a character.''
''Patrice said we don't want to do an actor's number, we want something
deeper and we haven't found it. I needed a lot of self-confidence and trust in Patrice.
One day it was all there: magic something violent came out of me, and we all saw that
Viviane really existed.''
''I did a photo shoot and I enjoyed the character that came out of me, but
the movie didn't get made. Then when Patrice told me he was writing a new script and
wanted to put me in the movie, I showed him those pictures. Six months later, he called
and said, 'Viviane is born.' I was like, 'Oh my God!' I thought, maybe I can't do it
but I kept my doubts to myself.''
''See I'm really a man they just glued those breasts on. But I played the part as a woman. I talked to women a lot, and my girlfriend helped. I talked to transsexuals too, and watched tapes.'' Yet, for weeks after the shooting stopped, he says he woke up feeling feminine, sleeping on his side, not his usual position."
The story of Dana International, the transsexual singer who recently created a scandal in Israel when she won the Eurovision song contest, draws a passionate response from him.
''Can you imagine her solitude? She must be so proud, scared and lonely. Viviane is like that she' s really very pure; she's a good girl. The idea of becoming a woman was impossible for me too, but this kind of challenge brings out new things in my acting. I used to feel you had to show, to bring things to people, but it's good to let them steal from you. With Viviane I decided not to show, just to be.''