The Vincent

March 30, 2000                                                                    

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Thursday, 4:30 pm. The film by Patrice Chereau, Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train, in which Vincent Perez figures prominently, has just finished showing. He is currently meeting with the public. Relaxed and smiling, he answers the questions willingly and with humor. He is actually here for the screening of Le Libertin by Gabriel Aghion, and has presented his short film, Rien Dire.

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You have said that Patrice Chereau has marked your career.

I have had the bug for a very long time, the desire to be an actor, to be in cinema. The stories I saw secretly at the midnight movies is what made me dream. At the age of 15, I was sick of school. I took two years of photography, and then while taking a chemistry class, I announced that I wanted to make a career out of acting. Everybody made fun of me. I left for Geneva to go to the Conservatory, and then to Paris. It was then necessary to lose my accent."

What direction do you think your career is going in? Is there any message want to transmit?

There is a message in all the stories that are told. In any case, there is a link between all of my characters, which is very strong idealism and romanticism.

What effect will it have on you to have your plaque on the Champs Elysees next to those of Faye Dunaway, Oliver Stone, Claude Lelouch…?

I am very honored and very flattered, but I find myself just the same, a little too young for such a tribute. I am thus discrete about it. In fact, it is just a way for me to support the Festival.

Can one play a character without even liking the character?

You would at least have to be intrigued by the character to feel a presence. Then you can project yourself. The most dangerous roles are the ones you think will be the easiest.

What role had the greatest effect on you?

The role in Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train had a significant effect on me, for example. The Duke of Nevers in Le Bossu, also. I hope, in fact, that it will be the next role I play, without even knowing what it will be! Actors must have a lucky star, because they are bound by the desires of others, the directors, producers. They have a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

How do you get through your nude scenes?

You always play the scene with a mask. It is still an actor's disguise, like in the Commedia dell'Arte that I like so much. You feel more free that way. If not, then I have a lot of modesty.

Which actor would you like to work with?

Jack Nicholson! To me, he is one of the greatest.

And which director?

Stanley Kubrick! He is an absolute genius. Bergman, Fellini, but also Milos Forman, Scorsese, Blier, Rappeneau, Godard, Truffaut… the list is long!

[With many thanks to Janette Sylvian for her French translation]

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