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  12 March 2007

In mid-December two men named Vincent showed up at a sprawling Long Island mansion for the shooting of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." As expected, Vincent D'Onofrio was there, playing detective Robert Goren investigating a homicide. But Vincent Perez was there as well. He had flown to the U.S. along with French actress Sandrine Rigaux and several French producers. They were in New York to study the cast and crew of NBC's drama, which is being created as a French version called Paris Enquêtes Criminelles to  be aired on TF1. The Wall Street Journal carried an excellent article on March 1 called "New Accent: NBC Faces Trials Bringing 'Law and Order' to France." As previously reported, Vincent has taken on the lead role as Vincent Revel, counterpart to the American version of Detective Robert Goren played by D'Onofrio. Vincent says the characters resemble each other except where Goren is very cerebral, his character is much more manipulative on an emotional level. He also describes the character as somewhere between Columbo and Sherlock Holmes. He accepted the role because "television finally offered me what the cinema refused me - to show another facet of my acting." The first eight 52-minute episodes of the first season are adapted American scripts and are being filmed from January 22 to March 20 in Paris and surrounding area. The above photos show filming in Place Vendome.

For US viewers, you may have the chance to see the French actors in a crossover episode in the fall, introducing them to the ten million viewers who regularly watch the series. Vincent hasn't been on American television since he did the USA film, Frankenstein in 2004. He admits he initially refused the "Law and Order" role but due to the insistence of TF1, he was touched by their strong desire to cast him and ultimately signed on for 24 episodes. He says television gave him the opportunity to play  a resolute and modern character which he couldn't find in the cinema. When asked how he approached the role, Vincent said a friend's experience with a child's murder remains very painful to him but he was able to draw from this tragedy. He was only vaguely familiar with the series but before filming, he viewed only a couple episodes to avoid being influenced by Vincent D'Onofrio. He expressed his concerns and difficulties with the actor last December when they met in New York, specifically on the techniques of interrogation which are an important element in the drama.

The French cast includes Sandrine Riqaux as Detective Claire Savigny, Helene Godec as Juge Lherbier, and Jacques Pater as Commandant Bonnefoy. Rigaux will be playing his partner, modeled after Jodie Foster in "The Silence of the Lambs". Vincent describes  her character as very pragmatic, respecting the law while he sometimes goes beyond the established order. For the French version, he's happy to report they abolished the death penalty. Does Vincent watch any American TV dramas? Yes, though he doesn't watch every season, he claims to be an admirer of "24", "The Sopranos", "Prison Break" and "Six Feet Under". When asked why he thinks film actors often move to television, he responds, "Television perhaps is offering better roles. The cinema does not always mean quality. I have become very demanding in my choice of films. I prefer to make good television than poor cinema. Quality above all."

  20 February 2007

An Italian-born heiress and a celebrated supermodel, Carla Bruni is clearly no stranger to the limelight. And both Carla and her actress sister Valeria Bruni-Tedeshi, have been longtime friends of both Vincent and his wife Karine. In 2003, Carla released her first album, "Somebody Said to Me", and her soulful brand of French folk-pop and Jeanne Moreau-style vocals quickly garnered her both critical acclaim and international success. Her first album sold an impressive two million copies worldwide. Her music is reminiscent of confessional ballads of the late 1960s and '70s, with lyrics that are both sensitive and humorously suggestive. Carla is back with her second album with No Promises singing deeply personal interpretations of the works of some of the greatest American and British poets, including Emily Dickinson and W.B. Yeats. All of the songs on this album are in English. While this may come as a surprise to some of her fans, it's no shock that some of her greatest influences include The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and she's always been equally inspired by French, English and Italian songwriters. As for her choice to set eminent poetry to music, Bruni stated in a recent RFI Musique interview that she finds "English and American poetry very hypnotic", particularly the work of some of the women poets. In conjunction with this CD release, four videos were also created by none other than Vincent for Buffalo Films. You can view these exclusive videos at Carla's web site.

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To avoid confusion, let me point out that Nouvelle France has been repackaged and renamed in a new DVD release called Battle of the Brave. The film premiered in Canadian theatres in 2004 to disastrous reviews. The title alone may conjure up visions of battles but viewers will be greatly disappointed. The film proclaims to be "an epic tale of desire, courage and destiny" but critics and audiences alike have found this overly melodramatic film falls short both as historical romance and as a period film. The one bright spot is the cinematography. It was filmed on location in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and London, and there are moments that feel "Pocahontas" in their devotion to the natural world.

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On Monday evening, February 12, Vincent and Karine attended the "La Môme" (La Vie En Rose) premiere at the cinema UGC Normandy in Paris. We've seen this look before. What do you think?

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I recently came across this photo from the fall of 2005. It shows Vincent with Florian Zeller, the critically acclaimed French author and playwright. Both men were invited to the Telfair Golf and Spa Resort in Mauritius from October 24 to November 3 in collaboration with the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. Vincent brought his family along stating that "it's the luxury and family spirit which is attractive." Other guests included Samuel Bihan, Emma de Caunes, Helen de Fourgerolles, and Marine Delterme.

  06 February 2007

The latest word on Apocalypse Code, starring Vincent and Russian actress Anastasia Zavorotnuyk, is that it will be released sometime this fall in Russia. Check out all the new publicity and production photos. Vincent was back in the Crimea in mid-December for the final film shots. Director Vadim Shmelev explains that working with Vincent was excellent. "He's a good guy and a very disciplined artist especially when it came to filming in Norway in a small village with minimum accommodations." And when it came to Vincent's physical capabilities, Vadim claims the actor was "striking in this regard. We shot one long scene and he had to fall nine times in a row!" Producer Sergei Zhigunov said the Swiss actor had to weigh many things when making the decision to do this film. For one thing, it meant he would be away from his family. Reuters said, "I am pleased that he had faith in us." The two men immediately found a common language and became friends. Vincent's last visit to Moscow was four years ago with his wife Karine when they attended a French Cinema Festival.

In interviews with Russian journalists, Vincent said he agreed to do the film because "I liked the script and the relationship between the heroes. There is also that challenge to find the dark side within ourselves." He describes his co-star Anastasia as being in the same class with Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau. "She is a great actress. She has that elegance that makes an actress a star. It's been excellent working with her. On the one hand, she's very professional, but she also enjoys having fun. I think her work in this film will surprise her fans as it is something radically new for her compared to what she has done before." And what did Anastasia have to say about working with Vincent? She described it as "just wonderful" adding that he "doesn't cling to the role of a star but works very hard." And how did he stay in shape for such a physically vigorous role? He claims he did yoya, played tennis and worked out at the gym. Was filming a positive experience? He believes so with a good director and a production team that operated at the highest level. He adds, "The film should be a smash." How does he compare it to Ligne de Vie (1996) also made in Russia? He replies, "That was a more intimate film whereas this one is a large-scale project. But, in both cases, I took pleasure in working with the Russians, who are very impassioned. And they love the festivities. I love them too. It's a pity that with the busy schedule, it didn't leave time to walk in Moscow. I did manage to go to Don Monastery." Interesting that when he was asked about his favorite role among his many films, he responsed with "All films with Patrice Chereau including Queen Margot. And being such a multi-cultured actor, how does he define himself? "A European. I have found a country where I can live and work. Do I feel like a Frenchman? Yes and no. It's complex. But know this - I am a citizen of the Old World. But it will be even more difficult for my children in the context of all these issues."

Another Russian film, another white hat...
(the b&w photo is from "Ligne de Vie" filmed in Russia in 1995)


There are some interviews with Vincent from Russian TV that can be viewed at this web site.

  30 January 2007

Here are a few photos from three events this month that Vincent attended. The first set is from the Sidaction Gala. Hosts Alber Elbaz and Nathalie Rykiel helped wrangle some of the biggest names in French fashion to the Sidaction Ball at the Pavillon d'Armenonville in Paris on Thursday, January 25. Among those present were Sofia Coppola, Asia Argento, Isabelle Huppert, Zoé Félix, Elsa Zylberstein, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Clothilde Courau, and Christian Lacroix. The event raised roughly $850,000 for the country's most prominent AIDS charity.

The second set features Vincent at the Armani Fashion Show in Paris the night before, January 24. Armani's collection was part of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2007.

The third set is another Parisian fashion show with Vincent sporting a new look as well, a bit like John Lennon. Here he attends the Francesco Smalto Fall/Winter 2007-2008 Men's Collection on January 29.


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