The Vincent

May 15, 2000                                                 

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He just starred in Le Libertin directed by Gabriel Aghion and has arrived in Cannes. Vincent Perez is the star's lover in this great nature saga filmed in Africa. He's the father of little one-year-old Iman. He travels around the world in front of the camera.

Ok, he's the ideal young romantic lover, but every one of his movies lets us discover another unknown side of his personality. This time he stars beside Kim Basinger in I Dreamed of Africa, the new film by Hugh Hudson. It's an American super production that was filmed in Africa and is premiering on May 20th.

He's 35 and the happy father of a little girl, and he's now getting ready to direct his feature-length film, written by his wife Karine Silla and Jerome Tonnerre.

This lead character in "I Dreamed of Africa" marks your comeback as a real star in the American movie world, doesn't it?

Well, I never really quit this world but, at the same time, I only worked on the other side of the Atlantic when I did The Crow II. Otherwise, the other two American productions, Shot Through the Heart, an HBO telefilm on the war in Bosnia, and Swept from the Sea were filmed in Europe.

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In your opinion, do American movies have something special?

It is a big industry and they leave nothing unforeseen. For example, an actor must support the movie he accepts right up to the end: hundreds of interviews, hundreds of film festivals. You must be interviewed on so many TV programs or by large newspapers. Generally this is not the part of my job I like most, but in the present case I like to do it. For me this film has brought much happiness.

And a big adventure as well. It was completely filmed in the African bush.

Indeed, in Kenya and South Africa. I have been touched by Africa, an impressive continent changing all the time. If you arrive during the dry season, everything seems dead. The animals die and the landscape is so dry that it looks dead, and, unhappily, people die too. Then rain comes and life begins again. Very soon the bush becomes green again and animals and people have new hope. It is also a dangerous place where you need to learn how to be modest in order to survive. Nobody can really change Africa, but if you go there, you can be sure about one thing - Africa is going to change you.

Was Africa also impressive for your co-star, Kim Basinger?

I think she was even more impressed.  She came with her husband (Alec Baldwin) and her daughter, and they stayed there in Africa during the filming. Kim wants to go back there as soon as possible. She is wonderful. A true star. A fantastic actress who still has her feet on the ground. I rarely meet someone who has so much class and human warmth at the same time. I was really lucky to share this adventure with her.

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"I Dreamed of Africa" is a nice love story between your character and Kim's.

Yes, the movie is about a couple who decide to take a second chance and to start all over again. In order to do so, they leave for Africa to take care of a ranch in the middle of the bush. It is a movie in the tradition of romantic sagas, like only Hollywood is able to produce. It's a great story in which Kuki (Kim) and Paolo, my character, want to see if they are strong enough to reach the end of their dreams. They will have to face many dangerous obstacles and find the strength to get out of them through their love. I've always dreamed of working in such a movie. It is like a gift fallen from the sky.

[Written by Alex Cusack and kindly translated by Cinzia Masina]

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