The Vincent

January 15, 2001                                                   

Moderator:  Hello and welcome to this chat with Vincent Perez who is here in Montreal and is impatiently awaiting your questions. Hello and welcome to the channel, Monsieur Perez.

VP:  I am very happy to be in Montreal, a city of charm and warm welcomes. I am glad to be able to talk about "Le Libertin" with you over the "net."

Aurore:  Did you appear in any films before "Cyrano de Bergerac" with Depardieu?

VP:  I was in two films, one directed by Pascal Chereau called "Hotel de France," a small film directed at the Amandiers Theater School. Later I appeared in "Queen Margot" with Patrice Chereau.

Julie:  Hello, Vincent! How many films have you made?

VP:  I don't actually know the exact number, but I believe I've been in about thirty films, which would make an average of two or three a year.

Chantal:  Hi Vincent! I would love to know what age you were when you started acting. Thank you.

VP:  I started acting at the age of 18. I attended drama school for 5 years, and really started my professional acting career at the age of 23.

Aurore:  If you were offered to play the role of Christian in "Cyrano de Bergerac" again, but this time in the theater, would you accept?

VP:  No, I would not accept the offer because doing the film was a very powerful experience for me, and I would like to protect the wonderful memories. Also, the role of Christian wouldn't interest me today. Besides, I am too old for the role now."

Marcelle Labreche:  If Besson, Lelouch or Tavernier each proposed a film to you, and the role was similar in all three cases, which one would your heart lean toward?

VP:  I would choose Luc Besson, mainly because he is a young director and because he is a genius. He is a man I like very much, whom I would consider now to be a friend. But I wouldn't be against working with Tavernier.

Josiane:  I would like to congratulate you on your work, and I would like to know what you like the most about Quebec.

VP:  I really like the kindness of the people and the warm welcome they give me each time I visit. I also like the architecture in the city, as well as the climate.

Martin:  Do you have any projects currently in the United States, and if so, what are they? Thank you.

VP:  I have two projects about to be released. The first is "Bride of the Wind" by Bruce Beresford, which you should be familiar with since he directed "Black Robe," in which I play Oskar Kokoschka, the painter. I have another project called "Queen of the Damned," based on a novel by Anne Rice. It is a film in which I play a vampire called Marius, the one who created Lestat. The film should be out in the United States next fall.

Marilyne:  Hello, Vincent Prez:. I have to congratulate you for your great work as an actor. You are very attractive. I would like to know which actor you admire the most and why. Thank you for responding.

VP:  Thank you very much for your compliments. They went right to my heart. I admire actors in general. I am a big fan of Michel Simon, Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gerard Depardieu and many others.

Martine de Laval:  Hello, Vincent. Bravo to your beauty and your work. My question is whether you would like to direct your own films someday.

VP:  I am in the process of starting to prepare for my first full-length film. But it's top secret, I don't want to talk about it now. I will talk about it enough once I show the finished film.

Huguette:  Are you uncomfortable doing nude scenes in the film?

VP:  Yes, it's always difficult to do a nude scene in one way or another. But, in the case of "Le Libertin," it is a useful provocation for the character and the story he is telling. It's the naked philosopher who talks about nature and his desires."

Lucie Forest:  Hello, Vincent Prez! How do you prepare yourself in composing your characters? For example, some actors would do an apprenticeship in a hospital if they were playing the role of a doctor. How did you prepare yourself to play a libertine?

VP:  By reading the thesis of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, the author of the scenario, and relying a little on certain novels by Diderot.

Marie-France:  Hello, Vincent, I work in cinema and I love to be on stage watching the actors. I would like to know if you have any projects in Montreal, and what you enjoy the most during a day on the stage. Thank you.

VP:  Unfortunately, I don't actually have any projects in Montreal. What I like about the stage is to see all the different trades working toward the same goal, telling a story of setting, mechanics, and hairstyling. The lighting, the costumes, the actors working with the director, etc., etc… All these trades and I forget about them to create a little dream. That always provokes a real excitement in me and stimulates me to give life to a character.

Serge Tremblay: Hello! I saw you in "Queen Margot" with Adjani. It's a shame that you weren't in the film from start to finish. What was it like to act with Adjani, whom they say is difficult to work with and capricious?

VP:  Reputations are often deceiving. Isabelle is a powerful woman who has magnificent talent as an actress, an astonishing career. I was very proud to be able to work with her with the greatest of ease.

Claude:  Do you believe that France should be at a higher level in national cinema - on par with the American cinematographic empire?

VP:  France produces 140 films a year, the majority of national films. Talent is as rare in France as it is in America. The French system is extremely well protected. How long will it last, though?

Amelie de St-Pie:  What memories do you have of your participation in the film "Swept from the Sea?" Your interpretation really touched me. Thank you, and have a nice visit in Quebec!

VP:  I am glad to know that Yanko touched you. I will retain the memory of the experience of filming in a magnificent country, in the South of England, in Cornwall, land of stone circles, druids and old fishing ports, land of crystal.

Marie-Line:  Hello Vincent, do you share the same vision of love as your character in "FanFan" did?

VP:  No, I do not have the same fears. The daily grind of a couple does not frighten me. My trade allows me to reinvent my years, thus surprising my wife. I have the chance now to have a child. Nothing is more marvelous for a couple than to have a child. I avoid building partitions between myself and those I love, unlike Alexandre.

Laurent de St-Paul:  Hello Vincent Perez! With which director have you had the most pleasure working with?

VP:  I love working with Patrice Chereau. But I also love working with Antonioni, Beresford, etc…

Ariane:  What do you think about Diderot's morals?

VP:  I think Diderot was a genius, that he was a powerful man. His power was in the force of his analysis and his taste. There was certainly something monstrous about him, monstrous in the bulimic sense. He had a need to touch everything, explore everything, taste everything. It's not for me to judge another man, but I would have loved to meet him.

Evelyn:  Welcome to our snowy island, Vincent! If you could reincarnate one of the roles you played previously, what role would it be and what crazy thing would you do with it?

VP:  I would never play a role again that I have already played.

Alain Posteur:  What actress fascinates you the most right now?

VP:  I really like Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Juliette Binoche, Bjork when she's acting. I also like Sandrine Kiberlane a lot. The list is quite long…

Manon des Sources J:  Dear Vincent, of all the films you have done, which role did you play that had the greatest effect on you?

VP:  I was most moved by "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train".

Julie:  Hello, Vincent. Can you give us a brief overview of your new film "Le Libertin"?  Thanks and Bravo.

VP:  As Denis Diderot, desires cross over me, women pass by me. I am nothing but a crossroads of forces which pass through me and form me. The libertine gives himself without holding back to carnal pleasures, with a certain refinement. The libertine is a strong spirit, a free thinker. The libertine doesn't follow the laws of religion. The libertine would like to be all of that and do everything to become like that.

Paul-Etienne:  One often speaks of the long, grueling promotions that actors have to do when a new film comes out. What do you think about these promos? Are you disappointed by the questions that journalists ask you? Is it that the actor (his mouth) is more important than the play itself or the talent?

VP:  No, I think the actor is an accompaniment to his films. He tries to accompany them all the way to the end. The actor's image is useful, when an actor who is a little more known is in a film, for helping to get more attention because he talks about the film. Now, there are actors who only do it if they think the film is worth the trouble of making. In the case of "Le Libertin," I find that it's worth the trouble. Promoting a film is a very trying experience, people ask you the same questions over and over, but it's enough if just one question that has never been asked makes your enthusiasm even greater."

Steve Pelletier:  Hello, Vincent Perez! One has the tendency in Quebec to look at the French cinema as something static, which doesn't really evolve. Are we deceiving ourselves?

VP:  I think cinema all over the world is changing. In America as much as in France, cinema is repeating itself. It's hard to find exciting new films today. One always returns to the same rule, we need stories, new stories. I like Asian cinema, directors like Edward Yang, or also Ang Lee, Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, Ho Yim, etc… In France, we have people like Luc Besson who give freshness to French cinema. From America, my last great memory is "American Beauty" by Sam Mendes.

Moderator:  Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for this chat. Thanks to all the people on the Internet who came and participated. And thanks to you Vincent Perez, for accepting our invitation. We'll see you in "Le Libertin."

VP:  I am very happy to participate in this chat. Your questions were very interesting. Unfortunately, I have been called to do other interviews, or I would stay here longer. To you I say so long.

[Kindly translated by Janette Sylvian]


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