The Vincent

September 1998                                            

He has a Swiss and a Spanish passport, in France he has been a star since Cyrano de Bergerac, and in Hollywood he is no longer a stranger. In Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train, the lady-killer, Vincent Perez, now surprises us as a transsexual.

Do you understand your difficult biography?

Why, it’s easy: My mother is German, my father Spanish and I grew up near Geneva. Now I live sometimes in Paris, sometimes in Los Angeles, but if I could, I would permanently live in New York.

And as what do you feel?

From the waist up I’m German, from the waist down I’m Spanish.

Do you still have relatives in Germany?

Yes, aunt Annelie and uncle Heinz in Cologne. But I saw them the last time when I was a child.

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For Patrice Chereau, with whom you already shot "Queen Margot," you now play a transsexual.

Some colleagues didn’t recognize me on the set. As I wore skirts and pumps, I realized for the first time how women feel when men look at them. For preparation I met a lot of transsexuals and watched how they move, how they speak. The shower was the only place where I wasn’t allowed to go with them. Now I know at least the beginnings of what it’s like to have to live in the wrong body, with the wrong sex. This is no passing mood but destiny.

You were together for a long time with your colleague Jacqueline Bisset. Do you like older women?

Absolutely. With these inexperienced young hens, I don’t know what to do.

[Interview by Christine Mortag]

Our appreciation to Annegret Höfer for sharing this interview and translating it.

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