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  09 February 2009

Avalanche (aka White Menace) is being released on DVD in Germany today as "Die Jahrhundertlawine". This disaster genre was the first for Vincent, who described the shoot as "physically difficult". He recalled how cold it was filming during wintry nights. At the end of January 2008 temperatures fell to minus 28 degrees! According to Vincent, the production team was up to the challenge of such an ambitious project. Director Jrg Lhdorff had fortunately had experience in disaster films having worked with Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day"). All recordings of the intact village were filmed in Vent, Austria and images of the destroyed village were created at Munich's Bavaria Studios. Vincent admits, "I am happy in the mountains. I feel safer and in harmony with nature. The mountain is deeply anchored in me, perhaps because I spent my childhood in Switzerland. The place where we filmed at the Austrian and Italian border is splendid. I adore mountain excursions. They empty the head and give strength and energy!"  He was attracted to the script by the story of his character, Marc Pelletier, a man who attempts to overcome nature and also by the story of the man who dies in a climbing accident and is found eight years later.  This incident reminds me of the 1982 Sean Connery film "Five Days One Summer'. Filmed in Switzerland, one of the movie's storylines is about the discovery of a mountain climber who had been dead for 40 years. When his body is exhumed, he looks remarkably well and still youthful, in sharp contrast to one of the villagers, a white-haired woman who was once his fiancee. Very eerie.

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Last fall Vincent returned to the big screen with "Tomorrow at Dawn" (aka "Loin des Balles") directed by Denis Dercourt. The film tells the story of two brothers, the youngest of whom has such a passion for historical battles that he is cut off from reality. Upon their mother's request, Mathieu, a pianist, (Perez) tries to help his younger brother Paul overcome the addiction. Because he wanted his performance to be credible, Vincent played the piano every day for six months until the instrument became an extension of his own body. "Me, who had never touched a piano in my life before. It was a role I had been waiting to do for years, one of the most beautiful of my career. I can't wait to see it. It will be released in early September." Here are a few more photos:

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Besides being an actor, director and writer of comic books, as many of you know, Vincent has had a long-time passion for photography and his artistry was put to good use when Premiere magazine (French edition) asked him to photograph three actors for their January issue. Marie-Jose Cruz, Emilie Dequenne and Denis Podalyds were his models, and there's no doubt in my mind that Vincent succeeded in giving his best. I don't have access to those photos, but I do have this link to a video of the shoot.

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On January 12 Vincent promoted his comic book La Fret on "Au Field de la nuit", a weekly magazine program on French television. The photos below were actually taken on January 8 when the show was taped. I can't say that I prefer this new look. It makes him look very French even though he has no French blood! In another  recent interview Vincent expressed his delight by the reception of his comic books. "It goes beyond my expectations because it is always difficult to move from one world to another. I was very surprised and also pleased by the reception of the writing trade." Though Vincent was an admirer of comic books as a kid, he knew absolutely nothing about modern comics and had no experience in this field. He adds, "And the people around me are not comic book fans either." And yet that didn't prevent him from taking the plunge.

He admits his second volume was influenced by a Hans Christian Andersen tale. He explains, "Strangely, I never managed to find the title, but it was a favorite of Van Gogh's, who was greatly inspired when he was sketching plants and flowers. He claimed to draw the souls of human beings, believing that the souls of human beings are reincarnated in plants. This is the theme of the second book. I talk about death, but also of rebirth." He goes on to say he wrote the second volume in a different way. "The first had to heavily pruned to fit into the comic book format. I wrote the second with a comic script in mind, but I always had a feeling of incompleteness. So I just finished writing the third in a new way, so I feel I'm progressing in my writing." He admits, "I rely heavily on the talent of Tiburce Oger (his illustrator). It is he who does the cutting, framing.... The only thing we do together is the casting. It took time to create the characters." The second volume, even more than the first, is heavily decorated with colorful drawings and full pages. Oger shares his enthusiasm with, "Collaboration is going very well. It is a beautiful rendezvous with Vincent."

  10 January 2009

A Swiss Christmas. Vincent was back in his birthplace of Lausanne over the holidays to visit his family. In an interview with Le Matin, he shares some thoughts on his body image. Apparently he's concerned with his weight. He admits to being an epicurean. "I drink wine. The problem is that it makes me swell (pointing to his face). So to deal with this, he drinks one year and then becomes a teetotaler the next. Last year he had "not a drop" and ultimately lost ten pounds. When asked if he would go with or without alcohol in 2009, he responded, "With." He also shared some personal stories about his stepdaughter Roxane and how she has felt the "presence of the dead". Once it was with Jean Carmet, a great friend of her father's, and another time in a chateau in France. Vincent explains, "Every night for a week, Roxane would repeat, 'A little girl is crying.' I would take her in my arms and ask, 'where is this girl?' She would answer, 'Here.' We went to the boiler in the basement. Roxane, who was only four years old at the time, said, 'There' near the boiler. Two years later, a man who lived in the area told us that during World War II, a little girl who lived in the chateau had died from leukemia. The only place that soothed her pain was near the boiler.

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Last month Swiss publication Tribune de Genve featured an interview with Vincent in regard to the release of the second volume of his comic book, La Fret, When asked why he had been absent from the big screen, he said the scripts that came his way did not seem to match up and he was unsure what roles he should take on. He says, "I think every decade or so, we should try to reinvent ourselves."  So, he turned to TV and became Lt. Vincent Revel in the French version of Law and Order. He admits that role demanded a lot of work. However, he didn't want to continue playing that character lest he be typecast.

He then spoke about his love of comic books - "I first read Lucky Luke and Asterix. Then I stopped reading when I became interested in photography and theater." Inspired by the Knights of the Round Table and the tales of Andersen and Grimm, he began to tell his own children epic tales as their bedtime stories. One day  he decided to put them on paper. He explains how he knew his ideas would be too expensive to be made into a movie, but he wondered if he could put them into a novel or something else. That something else became a comic book called  La Fret,  When he finally met with illustrator Tiburce Oger, there was a spark. Oger fell in love with Vincent's story of Celtic accents in which a girl is beset by various spells. At first it began as a single volume but when they played with the idea of reincarnation, the second volume evolved. Vincent explains, "Writing the story is recreation for me. I have the freedom to write what I want. There is no financial pressure as when you make a film." He is presently writing the third volume adding, "When I write, my heroes lived before me. I just have to follow them."


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