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  15 December 2008

Vincent's wife is about to take her turn behind the camera next year. Karine has written a sentimental comedy called "Et si on changeait le monde" ("What if we changed the world") and she will make her directorial debut with this feature-length film. Can you guess who stars in it? Oui, c'est Vincent! The cast also includes Emmanuelle Béart, Marie Gillain, Jalil Lespert, Valeria Golino, Anouk Aimee and James Thierrée (Charlie Chaplin's grandson). Big World is producing with a six-week shoot beginning in April. Vincent previously starred with Emmanuelle in "Le Voyage du Capitaine Fracasse" (1990) and  "Le Temps retrouvé" (1999), and he also starred with Marie in "Le Bossu" (1996). American audiences can best recall Valeria as Tom Cruise's girlfriend in "Rain Man" (1988) and Anouk Aimee is most famous for her role in "A Man and a Woman" (1966). Over the years Vincent has often told journalists how his father had introduced him to Charlie Chaplin films when he was a young boy. He developed a strong admiration for Chaplin, who inspired his love of the cinema and his desire to become an actor, so I expect his working with Chaplin's grandson will be very gratifying.

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This Friday "Avalanche" can be seen on TSR 1, the French-Swiss network. The German-French-Austrian thriller has taken on several titles since production began. The story is loosely based on the avalanche that destroyed the Tyrolean village of Galtür on February 23, 1999, killing 31 people. Filming, which ran from January until March 2008, took place in Vent, Austria, and on the back lot of Bavaria Studios in Geiselgasteig near Munich. Due to the relatively snowless winter, the avalanche scenes were shot in the studios, requiring artificial and real snow to be brought in. For director Jörg Jühdorff and DOP Philipp Timme, this production provided many challenges. In addition to a five-minute sequence depicting the avalanche itself, there were numerous action elements of all kinds - from a bus driving off a bridge to crashing helicopters and collapsing buildings, not to mention hair-raising stunts on and off the edge of a 1500-foot cliff. To top it all off, the main storyline of the movie - the night the survivors have to spend in the ruins of their village, cut off from the rescue efforts with no power and virtually no medical aid - takes place in a continuously worsening snowstorm, culiminating in a second avalanche.

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Here is a photo of Vincent at Saturday's book signing at the FNAC store in Lausanne. He and Tiburce Oger also visited the Forbidden Zone bookstore in Brussels on December 2nd, but I haven't come across any photos of that event yet.

  9 December 2008

On November 26th Vincent was a guest on French TV's Michel Drucker show. With Christmas approaching, Drucker devoted his show to literature for children. His guests also included Marlène Jobert and François Rivière. This weekend Vincent and his La Fôret illustrator, Tiburce Oger, will be making an appearance at two book signings in Switzerland. Both are at FNAC stores, one in Genève on Friday, December 12th, and the second in Lausanne the following day. It's the second time the pair has done a book signing in Vincent's birthplace. In September 2007, Vincent was accompanied not only by his illustrator, but also by his mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, making it quite a family event as well. In the first photo, you can see him kissing his niece Lydia with her father and brother looking on. In the second photo he's with his mother, and the third photo shows  his sister Estrella (native of Vevey) with her two children. For more photos, visit the Special Events page. It'll be interesting to see if his family joins him on Saturday. When he was interviewed by Switzerland's 20 Minutes, he explained that as a child, he loved reading the French comics - The Adventures of Asterix, Lucky Luke, and The Adventures of Tintin. His father was actually an amateur drawer and Vincent made sure he introduced his children to drawing. When asked if he would consider a second home in Switzerland, he replied that it was not an option as long as his children are enrolled at their international school in Paris.

A fan who attended the Lausanne book signing last year described Vincent as looking very relaxed and natural wearing a black T-shirt and smart white jacket. She related how he first greeted his family and friends and then warmly said "hello" and "thank you for being here." There were many photographers and TV journalists present. She noted that he was always very kind and approachable. When it came time for her book to be signed, she asked Vincent, "You played in my favorite movie, 'The Crow', so can you please write me a special dedication about it?" He responded, "Of course!" and proceeded to do some doodling of a crow.

I also came across a couple articles relating to the book's original release last year. One appeared in the May/June 2007 edition of La Cigale magazine, in which Vincent admits it was love at first sight when he visited the forests in Brittany as a ten-year-old child. It's no surprise that he chose to settle his family in the Yvelines area, southwest of Paris and close to the Rambouillet Forest. He also explains how he fashioned his heroine, Titiana, after his own daughters. Illustrator Tiburce Oger sold this poster, pictured at the right, of Titiana at an auction in May. The second article appeared in Swiss publication 24 Heures in September 2007. Apparently some of Vincent's fondest memories growing up in Lausanne was playing with his childhood friend, Jean-Michel Martin. He would often stay at the boy's milk farm and Jean-Michel's mother recalls how Vincent visited the farm from the time he was six years old. She shares her memory of him, "As he was quite small, Vincent was often teased by others at school. My son Jean-Michel had just taken him under his wing. They became inseparable. I am very proud of the path Vincent took But for me, he will always remain a little boy with this beautiful softness in his eyes. Whenever he returns, it feels like a party and one has the impression that he has never left."

In a new interview last weekend in the Swiss publication, Le Matin, Vincent talked with journalist Camille Destraz about his success as a comic book writer and how it releases the child in him. He comments about his latest film project - Denis Dercourt's "Loin des balles" and the work involved. Taking on the role of a piano teacher, he says he played the piano every day for six months. Vincent doesn't seem as enamoured with television, but because he has become picky in what cinema roles he will accept, he has resorted to doing television.

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Here's a new batch of pictures taken from a photoshoot during Vincent's visit to Los Angeles in September 2006. Some of them appeared in an article written for the French-American magazine SavoirThe photographer was Faye Sadou.

  29 November 2008

Volume 2 of  Vincent's comicbook "La Fôret" was released on November 7th. The first volume hit the French bookshelves in May 2007 with great success. The story, with gorgeous illustrations by Tiburce Oger, mixes enchanting characters with humor and surprise and has the same wonder and charm as some of the great European tales written by Grimm and Charles Perault. Vincent admits, "I like tales very much. They reflect my adolescence and the giddiness one can feel about life. This kind of tale enables me to speak about all of that. It also makes it possible to use metaphors to convey certain ideas. My attraction to the stories of Celtic origin is enormous. I really fell in love with Brittany." The 56-page comicbook can be read independently of the first volume, which ended with the death of Merlin. In this second volume, life and death remain intertwined. With the death of the great Druid, magic has disappeared in the world and it is up to the heroine, Titiana, to discover the power to create magic once again. The quest begins...You can watch an interview with Vincent discussing his latest book at this TF1 link.

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On Wednesday evening Vincent and his wife Karine attended the Terry Richardson exhibition opening for Vogue Calendar in Paris.

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Much to the disappointment of fans, France's TF1 announced that  it was discontinuing  its "Paris Enquêtes Criminelles" series. Vincent starred in 20 episodes over three seasons.  Back in July 2005, NBC Universal sold the format of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" to French channel TF1 Alma Productions to launch a localized French version of the drama. Vincent played Vincent Revel (same character as Vincent D'Onofrio). Filming began the following year with the show premiering on May 3, 2007.  It became a major success for TF1. When ratings eventually began to drop, co-star Sandra Ringeaux was replaced by Audrey Looten. During its third season this fall, low ratings became a problem once more forcing TF1 to cancel the show. Season 1 is available on DVD (Region 2 format) and Season 2 will become available on January 8, 2009. For more information as well as photos from the series, visit this page.

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It looks like Vincent's wife attended the 8th Marrakesh Film Festival by herself this month. The first two photos were taken on November 28th in Morocco. The third photo is dated June 4, 2006, and shows Vincent's nine-year-old daughter with her mother and  half-sister Roxane (fathered by Gerard Depardieu). Iman was conceived in Kenya in 1998 during the filming of "I Dreamed of Africa."

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Speaking of the Depardieu name, I found more photos of Vincent attending Guilllaume's funeral last month. In a Times (UK) article, a few more details were given about Guillaume's last days while filming in Romania. Apparently  he was coughing blood and it seemed as though something was seriously wrong. He was taken to one specialist hospital in Romania and then another. They seemed unable to agree on a diagnosis, seeing a shadow on his lung as possibly either a tumour or pneumonia. He was airlifted back to Paris on Saturday, October 11, and died of pneumonia two days later at Raymond-Poincaré hospital. When Guillaume wrote his autobiography, Tout Donner (Giving Everything), he related his love/hate relationship with his celebrated father. He explained how his father kept his personal life private from him, only telling him that he was going to have a half-sister on the day Roxane was born back in 1992.

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Here are some photos  taken just around this time last year. The first one shows Vincent and Karine at the premiere of "Enchanted". The next two photos were taken during the weekend of November 10th at Disneyland in Paris. Celebrities were invited to help launch the Christmas season by bringing their families to the fun resort. When asked if this was the first time he had come to Disneyland during the holidays, Vincent replied, "No, no, no..." When asked if he had brought along his children, he stated, "I always come with my children." Sorry, no photos of them! However,  the last photo does show Vincent with his twins Tess and Pablo at the same event four years ago.

  November 2, 2008

According to Screen Daily, Baltasar Kormákur's latest film, "Run for Her Life", has been renamed "Inhale". The Icelandic director spoke about the film at the Reykjavik International Film Festival (Riff), earlier this month. Described as a thriller, the film is about the international trade in human organs. No release date has been set yet. The cast includes Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger, Rosanna Arquette, Sam Shepard and Vincent in the role of the doctor. The following is the official synopsis given by distributor Echo Bridge Entertainment: Every day, rising L.A. District Attorney Paul Chaney and his wife, Diane, wait for word that there's a donor for their daughter, Chloe. Diagnosed with a rare degenerative condition, Chloe is on a long list to receive a rare double lung transplant. As her health worsens, Paul becomes desperate to save his young child, so desperate that he'll risk everything he has to organize an operation. When Paul learns of a Dr. Placer who performs transplants in Tijuana, Mexico, he heads south in a frantic search for the only man who may be able to save Chloe. But after arriving, he realizes Dr. Placer's medical ring runs deep into a criminal underworld where his patients aren't donors they're victims. With his career, his family, and his life on the line, Paul finds himself at a critical crossroads: expose a massive, illegal harvesting operation and save the lives of hundreds of children, or save the life of his daughter.

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Vincent and his "Loin des balles" co-star, Jeremie Renier, attended the Paris premiere of "Quantum of Solace" at the UGC Normandie on October 30th. 

  17 October 2008

Today mourners attended Guillaume Depardieu's funeral service at Notre-Dame Church in Bougival, west of Paris. Among the mourners was France's First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Many tributes were given by family and close friends. His mother Elizabeth spoke as well as his sister Julie. His father Gerard, who avoided photographers, read an extract from "The Little Prince" by Antoine Saint Exupery. In an interview on Wednesday with the Swiss edition of 20 Minutes, Vincent shared his thoughts on Guillaume. He said he remembers a man who lived in his world away from the superficiality of the celebrity world. He described him as "tender" and "generous" with a great talent for playing the piano as well as for writing beautiful poems.

(Updated 2009) Guillaume's father, Gerard Depardieu, shared his thoughts on his son's death: "Guillaume's life was not easy, I accept. He was my first son, from my first marriage to Elisabeth, by whom I also had a daughter, Julie, who is an actress. I was away a lot during his childhood, and I had my own battles with alcohol. I met Elisabeth when I was 17 and we married three years later. I had a difficult childhood myself, and left school at 13. Yet we stayed together for 25 years, until my mistress, Karine Silla, gave birth to my daughter, Roxane, who is now 17. It was a surprise for everyone - and the end of my family. The divorce was horrendous, and clearly affected Guillaume. He experimented with drugs, and then had a bad crash on his motorbike. He had 17 operations, then contracted a hospital infection, which led to the amputation of one of his legs. He was always fragile, and then, suddenly, he contracted this virus, and then pneumonia, which killed him."

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Karine's name has come up in the news a couple times over the past month. On September 18th she was among the guests that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy had invited on the Canal Plus show, "Le Grand Journal", hosted by Michel Denisot. On October 2nd, she attended the Chow Tai Fook Chinese Jewelry Party at the Hotel Pozzo di Borgho in Paris.

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Vincent is presently in Paris filming "Loin des balles" ("Far from the Gunshots"). Shooting began September 22 and will continue for nine weeks wrapping up in November. This is Denis Dercourt's fourth feature, which focuses on two male protagonists, played by Vincent and Belgian actor Jérémie Rénier. Co-written by the filmmaker and Jacques Sotty, the film explores the relationship between two brothers. In response to the insistent demands of his cancer-stricken mother, a piano teacher (Perez) tries to cure his younger brother (Rénier) of his strange obsession with historical – and in particular Napoleonic – battles. The older, “model” brother discovers this mysterious passion for which Dercourt has called on battle reconstruction specialists (in particular those in Boulogne-sur-Mer). With cinematography by Rémy Chevrin, the film is being produced by Michel Saint-Jean for Diaphana Films. It  has a budget of around €5.5m. This includes co-production backing from France 3 Cinéma and a €480,000 advance on receipts from the National Film Centre (CNC). The movie will be released theatrically by Diaphana in the second half of 2009. Here are a few production photos:

  13 October 2008

Guillaume Depardieu, son of French actor Gerard Depardieu, died today at the Raymond-Poincare de Garches hospital in Paris. He is survived by his father, his mother, Elizabeth, sister Julie and half-sister Roxane, daughter of Karine Sylla and stepdaughter to Vincent. A spokesman for Artmedia said the 37-year-old contracted a virus that developed into a "devastating case of pneumonia." Guillaume and Vincent worked on two projects together. In 2002 Vincent directed him in "Peau d'ange" and then a year later they co-starred in the film, "Le Pharmacien de garde". It was reported that Vincent was emotional when he spoke with the media today about Guillaume - "I regarded him as family and someone who was absolutely magnificent. He possessed a light, but also a dark side. He lived a full life. People do not know it but he was a great poet. He wrote absolutely incredible things and was a true artist."

  5 October 2008

Here are some added photos from the November 13, 2006 party celebrating Premiere magazine's 30th anniversary. That's Vincent with French actor Samy Naceri, notorious for his run-ins with the law.


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