The Vincent

Film Interview - Je Reste!
Fall 2003                                          

How did you get this project?

Alain Terzian sent me the script, and I immediately liked the humor in the plot and the originality of my character, so I called Diane Kurys, whom I really wanted to work with, and we discussed it. Moreover, Sophie Marceau was like the cherry on the cake for me! I was really looking forward to working with her again.

Could you speak about you character, who is quite different from your usual ones?

jereste4f.jpg (8847 bytes)I am a son-in-law, but very far from the ideal one! For the first time, indeed, I won’t play the lover, but the boring husband, stuck in his routine, a true burden for his family. He doesn’t think about anything else other than his job, and becomes detestable to his own wife and child. He is very egoistic, doing nothing more than bouncing his feet on the table when coming back at night; he needs everything to follow his routine: his wine, his meal, his bike-training…all these elements make him a true pain-in-the-neck. I had a lot of fun playing this kind of ‘golden boy’ who crushes everything when he passes by.

How did you prepare for this role?

As it was really well written, I just had to look into myself. As I’ve been doing in past movies, I tried to keep on being the character even outside the set. I became a boring and irksome person; but I also tried to laugh about it and find some humor in someone who apparently has none, who complaints the whole time, who criticizes everything…who becomes, all in all, quite funny.

In the beginning, this character is an ‘ordinary nasty guy but, little by little, you succeed in making him somehow likeable…

I think Bertrand is lost and has become pathetic and touching by trying so hard to be successful. He has lost his identity by trying to do everything to please his boss: this is risky because without identity one cannot be nice. Even though one should try to keep some humor – this was the hardest thing to play: I prepared a long time in advance and worked very hard on the script to be totally confident: I wanted to know it so well as to be able to concentrate only on the actual playing part, on the attitudes, on the looks, on my new skin. I did not want to act by mimicry. I really wanted the character to come from inside.

In the beginning your character rules and imposes his laws, but he loses control when Marie-Do re-takes the initiative…

Bertrand is never really in control, even when he tries to persuade people to the contrary. This is quite funny and I liked it a lot. All the lies he tells will make him lose his wife and child and everything really important to him, so at the end he holds on to pieces of furniture! I liked this image of a man holding desperately to things in order to prevent his wife from getting rid of him. His ‘Je reste!’ (I stay!) is a war cry and a love cry at the same time. People will laugh first at all his weaknesses, then at his cowardliness, then at his fragility.

How was your relationship with Sophie Marceau?

We had already worked together in Fanfan by Alexandre Jardin some years ago and got on along together very well, so I was happy to be able to work with her again as I like her very much.  We have many things in common: for instance, we follow our instincts. She is very good as this repressed woman who, all of a sudden, decides to wake up and re-take her own life in her hands. She is fresh, stylish and passionate. She can play anything. Sophie is a true heroine, in the romantinc meaning of the word.

How was your relationship with Diane Kurys?

It was our first time together, and I think she was afraid that my positive side would prevent me from really getting into this unusual character. We spoke about it and I tried to give my best. She is a good director. She had many good laughs while we were on the set…and when Charles arrived, the movie really found its base and started to exist.

Did you know Charles Berling?

We had worked together in Those who love me… but without one single shot in common. I had a kind of "professional love at first sight" for him. We are both daring. We just tried to stress the surrealistic side of the situations. During our first shot played by the three of us, things really started to go well and we had this flame that never went out until the end of the shots. We were having fun working together, and I think the public will feel it when they see the movie.

Were some shots more difficult than others?

For me, the first shots with Sophie were more difficult. I natually tend to be nice to her, so it was hard to play the guy treating her badly, the husband who cannot see her beauty nor her beautiful soul anymore. Being bad toward her was really tough!

Diane guided me, little by little, until my character became what we wanted. Then, in the shots with Charles, my character is sly, and he knows that in order to keep some control of the situation, he needs to get closer to the enemy and become his friend somehow.

How do you feel about this movie?

I received the pleasure one gets from a comedy.   It is my first comic role! I've never done so much before in this field – one makes fun of my character a lot! I did not have to make up, nor change the time…I just had to wear my cyclist suit!

Where does this movie take its place in your career?

With Peau d’ange, my first movie as a director, I felt I was opening a new chapter in my career and in my life, maybe because I got proposals for more interesting roles. As an actor, I’ll be able to play more different characters, for instance in the Pharmacist, this scary guy becoming a serial killer who was believable. Then, Fanfan la Tulipe, light and never-in-place! And now Bertrand. I hope I will surprise the public!

Do you have one particular image that will stay with you of this experience?

jereste8f.jpg (10677 bytes)I have an excellent memory of shooting in the house on the beach…some summery air even though it was not exactly summer. We were so happy to be working on this movie! During the dinner shot, I let myself go into improvisation for the first time in my life, discovering that I love it! Once you really are into a character, you can let yourself go and forget the script for a while in order to make him really spontaneously alive for a few moments. The atmosphere was good for that. Diane’s energy pushed me towards this, as did the complicity of my colleagues. All of them helped me in giving birth to Bertrand; With them, I looked deep inside myself…maybe, after all, I really am a bit like him…one should ask my wife…

[Many thanks to Cinzia Masina for her translation!]


squig2a.gif (488 bytes)