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  20 June 2011

According to the AFP,  filming will take place in Berlin and Leipzig in May 2012 on the adaptation of the German bestseller, "Alone in Berlin". The 1947 novel by German author Hans Fallada is based on the true story of a working class husband and wife, Otto and Elise Hampel, who committed acts of civil disobedience in Berlin during World War II before being caught, tried by infamous Nazi judge Roland Freisler, and executed in Pl÷tzensee Prison. Fallada's book was one of the first anti-Nazi novels to be published by a German after World War II. Primo Levi said it is "the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis." The novel remained untranslated to English until 2009 when it was rediscovered by American publishing house Melville House Publishing and released in the US under the title "Every Man Dies Alone", in a translation by Michael Hofmann. Melville House licensed it to Penguin Books in the UK, who used the title "Alone in Berlin", following the older French translation precedent of "Seul dans Berlin". The German title translates literally as "Everyone dies for himself alone". Film rights were acquired in 2006 by both Vincent and Stefan Arndt.

Having written the screenplay and now ready to direct this production, Vincent has chosen a German cast, trusting the leads to Martina Geddeck and Martin Wuttke. Strange that their first names are Martina & Martin! Some of you may already be fans of Martina's if you saw the Oscar-winning foreign film "The Lives of Others" or the German comedy, "Mostly Martha", subsequently remade in the states as "No Reservations". Personally, I think Martina is a truly amazing actress! And you may have seen Martin on the big screen as well when he took on the role of Hitler in Quentin Tarantino's hilarious film, "Inglorious Basterds". Since Vincent's mother is German, the actor is fluent in the language of Goethe so working with a German cast presents no problems. It's been five years since Vincent first sought the rights to the novel. For three years he worked on the screenplay, seeking assistance from Spanish writer Jorge Semprun, who incidentally passed away earlier this month. For about a year, Vincent says he visited Semprun at his home in Paris. I'm sure you all share my excitement over this very fascinating and intriguing project slated to begin next year!

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It has been reported that Vincent's current film project is "Ce que le jour doit Ó la nuit", ("What the Day Owes the Night") directed by Alexandre Arcady. The French filmmaker acquired the rights to adapt the novel by Yasmina Khadra published in September 2008. This historical saga of Algeria from 1930 to the present day as seen through the eyes of a young man who grew up in the Blackfoot community. With a budget of 17 million euros, the production will film in France, Algeria and Tunisia through August 10th. The movie stars Fu'ad A´t Aattou in the lead role of Younes, Nora Arnezeder as Emily, Anne Parillaud as Madame Cazenave, Anne Consigny as Madeleine, Olivier Barthhelemy as Jean-Christophe, Nicolas Giraud as Fabrice, Matthew Boujenah as Dede and Vincent as Juan Rucillio.

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On May 28th Vincent was the guest on "Tea or Coffee", hosted by Catherine Ceylac on French television. For the occasion, the host had a surprise: a message recorded by one of his ex-girlfriends - Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. The First Lady spoke about Vincent as both actor and photographer. The love story between the actor and top model began in 1992, which fed the columns of the tabloids for years. Though each of them have since married, they maintain a close friendship. You may remember that a couple years ago Vincent participated in the 80-minute documentary called "Somebody Told Me about... Carla Bruni". British director George Scott presented a portrait of the France's First Lady with several of her family and friends contributing, including Vincent. Here's a link to a portion of the "Tea or Coffee" interview.

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Based on several interviews with both Vincent and Karine regarding UN BAISER PAPILLON, I've posted a few more interesting comments from the pair. For an interview with the couple, check out the video at and for a great movie clip, visit this link, where Vincent and co-star Valeria Golina do their own Travolta/Thurman dance to Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" as seen in "Pulp Fiction".

On casting their children in the film:
Karine - "I did not push. I wanted it to be a choice that comes from them. Iman has wanted to be an actress since she was small... I think we should choose our own road and not have it come from outside. I think they (both Roxane and Iman) do a wonderful job."

Vincent - "The best way to help them was to watch them with kindness without intervening. The advice I gave them was to be attentive to each other. It is very important if you want to achieve an exchange. Otherwise, they were well prepared. Valeria Golino, who plays Billie, the mother of Fleur (Iman) and Manon (Roxane) even came a few days to our home before shooting to get used to her role as mother and get to know them."

What he had in common with his character:
Vincent -
"Everything. I'm obsessive. I work a lot. And I'm also a father.  I tried not to build a character, I just wanted to be sincere.  I tend to lock myself in the roles of costumes, capes and swords (smiles)... For me, it was new and interesting... I have played in many historical films in costume with horses and I love it. But this is no longer fashionable."

Getting out of his comfort zone as Louis:
Vincent - "I have no comfort zone. I often put myself in danger because in my acting, it's that or death! But it is a character created for me. He is a man who lives with a certain ease, very protected by his wife. When he learns of the terrible news of his wife's illness, he sees his life change overnight. For me, this film is a powerful experience that shook my daily life."

What he finds appealing about his wife's writing - both her play and this film:
Vincent - "She's really a great writer. I love her dialogues, the way she sees people, her sensitivity, her intelligence, memory. She remembers everything. It's crazy! She possesses an impressive literary culture so when she writes, there is this history of everything she has seen or read and that richness comes out in her writing."

On his temptation to intervene with his experience as a director:
Vincent - "I was intimately involved in the project while keeping a respectful distance. For a movie, there is a boss on board, who has their own vision. My job was to accompany Karen to let her do her part while managing my own. Sometimes I feel a bit like a midwife who was there, not too far away, who was preparing some things, but she was the one who had to do the work!"

Here are more production photos showing Karine and her daughters Iman and Roxane:

  12 June 2011

French-Algerian actor Kad Merad made his directorial debut on June 1st with his comedy MONSIEUR PAPA. Marius Vallois is 12 years old and needs a father. His mother Marie, played by Michele Laroque, attempts to rent a dad for her son. The surrogate Marie turns to is Robert Pique (played by the director). Vincent, in the role of Marie's cousin plays an unstable sort with mental health and alcohol issues. Reviews indicate that this role does not advance the plot and is an indispensable add-on with Vincent miscast. One has to wonder what Mr. Merad had in mind when it came to casting decisions. And furthermore, it is very unusual that Vincent is not included in the trailer and not one of the movie production photos or movie stills!  Perhaps the producers thought Vincent's name might create interest. Certainly, the unappealing Merad, who's an exceptionally uncomely man, does not create any screen presence. Whatever the reason, this film will most likely be quickly forgotten by Perez fans.

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Here's a link to a Belgium RTL TV interview with Vincent and Karine presented on "Face to Face" last week in connection with the release of UN BAISER PAPILLON. Note that Vincent's hair looks terrific!

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Here's a short Q&A from L'internaute (5/26/11):

Q: Do you remember a female celebrity that you particularly noticed?

VP: Yes, I immediately think of Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth or symbols of absolute femininity to me.

Q: What is an enjoyable evening for you?

VP: An evening with friends, good food, children. There must be a touch of madness. It is necessary. And dancing. I love it!

Q: Are there any specific designer brands you're fond of?

VP: I particularly appreciate the Armani style, but I also like Ralph Lauren.

Q: What is the thing you dream of doing but don't because of lack of time?

VP: A vacation definitely! My wife and I still have not had a honeymoon. It's about time! I'd love to go to India to immerse myself in their culture, come out different. I am in Asia a great deal, but I also really like Argentina, and I plan to go to Burma...

  09 June 2011

Yesterday Vincent once again participated in the annual film event, "La Fete du Cinema" held at the Cinema du Pantheon in Paris. The first photo shows Vincent with Isabelle Nanty,  Marc-Andre Grondin, Deborah Francois, Ariane Ascaride, Claudia Cardinale, Audrey Dana and Jean-Paul Rouve.

  06 June 2011

A week later, film critics have now had the opportunity to review UN BAISER PAPILLON, the first feature-length film, directed and written by Vincent's wife, Karine. The film opened in France at 194 theatres on June 1 to mixed reviews as evidenced by this chart, which indicates an average of 2 stars out of 5.

The following is a summation of the positive and negative critiques. First of all, by no means should Karine's directorial debut be considered a bad film. Far from it. Considering this is her first attempt, she deserves much respect for her ambition and her courage to bring her ideas to fruition. She wrote a script about love, life, and the complexity of human relationships and chose a talented cast to inhabit her characters. Careful attention was paid to the visual and auditory effects she employed. Each character has a special aura and a specific color that reflects their personality which works well to create bridges between scenes. The music, as well, by Angela Badalamenti is also important in the cohesion of the sequences. The title is well chosen, because as the director explains, the butterfly evokes "the metamorphosis of the characters who open and close to themselves and others. It evokes words like ephemeral, life, motion, flight and grace.The filmmaker obviously knows what she wants. Though her efforts reveal a mastery and a lot of intelligence in its construction, it doesn't have the kind of inspiration that can transform a film from "ordinary" to a "masterpiece".

On the negative side, there appears to be some stylistic clumsiness and is weighed down with dialogue heavy with honeyed sentimentality. As far as the plot, some complain of the unlikely scenarios and unconvincing twists.

In an interview, "miracle" and "hard" are the terms used most by Karine and Vincent to explain the preparation of the film. It tooks 2 1/2 years to establish the budget and even a week before shooting, they weren't sure if the project would begin. Amazingly, the music was composed in just five days. Vincent said he "harassed" people "by calling every day for a permit to shoot. I learned with this film that when someone says no, you should never take it as a no!" Karine expressed how one must be daring. She said, "For me, life is a mixture of drive, work and miracles." The film was inspired by true life stories, which she has lived and knows very well. When Vincent was asked about the similarities between himself and his character, he replied, "Everything!" Karine wanted to make "a film about what unites us, not what divides us." She wanted to "tackle the big and small roles in the same way" because she "loves being surrounded by people... even "blending into the crowd at rush hour in the subway."  She is already planning her second film called "Santa Claus is African"

At an advanced showing on May 24th, the Bordeaux Gazette reported an interview. Karine stated that she began writing the script as a tribute to people who were part of her life but no longer present. She explained, "I made this film with great passion, enthusiasm and work and was surrounded by artists who supported me." Vincent added, "Karine started writing a screenplay without telling me. She embarked on this writing and then later there was a version and she continued  until I read a draft of the script when I was literally shocked. I was shocked because I knew it had a resonance for many people close to us. What is beautiful in this film is that it is a story that speaks to everyone."


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