The Vincent

September 19, 1995                                                    


More than a few industry pundits are speculating that the 1996 release of The Crow: City of Angels will fly its leading man, France's heartthrob Vincent Perez, straight in the direction of global stardom. So we decided to sit down with Perez, the star of Queen Margot and the film which brought him to our rendezvous in Venice, Michelangelo Antonioni's Beyond the Clouds, for a sneak preview of his Hollywood breakout role.

"It's my first American story and project," says the actor who's actually not French at all, but Spanish and German. "My role is kind of a cross between Jim Morrison and Hamlet. It flirts a lot with the idea of death, with the idea that a father's ghost is always surrounding his son."

Beyond that, he smiles, "the script is a secret," but he's already a fan of its producer: "I love Ed Pressman. He listens. He takes things in. He's always learning."

Perez learned a lot himself recently in Russia and Uzbekistan, where he shot most of Pavel (Taxi Blues) Lounguine's new film Life in Red, and he has a busted hand in a bandage to prove it.

"Moscow is like a gangster land and the Wild West all in one. Everyone carried a gun. My driver carried a gun. The hotel clerk carried a gun! After two weeks you start slipping into their style and you get angry, so one day I just banged my hand into a door, pow." He pauses to inspect the damage. "It's nothing. I broke a bone. A small one."

His reaction to Italy was far less physical, but more potent. "I've never had such a strong relationship with any director as with Antonioni. One morning he was begging the cameraman to put the camera closer to our faces - piu vicino!  But the DP said the lens wouldn't go any closer. Antonioni was fighting everyone on that set to get that shot. It was 5 a.m. and he was all alone. It was amazing."

Perez himself would like to direct someday (he made a short film a few years ago) and he's finishing his own script, "a modern-day fairy tale influenced by (psychologist) Bruno Bettelheim." In the meantime, he's prepping for his role as a Hollywood denizen. "I finally stopped smoking last month - I guess I'm starting to become an American."


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