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20 September 2021

 On August 23, the first trailer for the Chinese fantasy film THE CURSE OF TURANDOT was released. Directed by Xiaolong Zheng, the film is an ancient Chinese adaptation of a Puccini opera. From the trailer, you can see dramatic, sweeping shots of Ancient China and the world of swords, sorcery, chivalry and romance. Both Vincent and Sophie Marceau have minor roles but at least Sophie appears on the film's poster. I haven't a clue why this famous French cinema pair would do this film. Though there is no release date yet, it did make its debut at the 2021 Shanghai International Film Festival in early June. Screenwriter Wang Xiaoping said that although the film has a magical and magnificent ancient costume "coat", the core is still an expression of realism. The film uses traditional Chinese cultural symbols such as textiles, silk, and fireworks as carriers to express beautiful appeals for tolerance, peace and love. You can view the trailer at this link.

Back in early August Vincent posted some photos of his lockdown in Bangkok, the location for filming the Apple TV series SHANTARAM. The first photo shows him in a rather interesting vehicle with the image enhanced by the mirror view. In the second photo, he's shown with his Thai boxing trainer during a workout.

27 July 2021
From the Bangkok Post -

July 26, 2021:

The production of the Apple TV Plus series SHANTARAM will be suspended following the introduction of tightened lockdown measures, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday, saying all concerned parties are trying to find the best way out of the problem. Shooting for the series, which initially began in Australia, was moved to India early last year when the Covid-19 pandemic began. However, when the outbreak spiraled out of control there, the set was moved to Thailand with the crew arriving on July 14.

However, as a new wave of Covid-19 infections swept across Thailand, the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) issued more restrictions on activities and movement, which effectively forced the suspension of the series being shot by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content for Apple TV Plus on a budget of over US $100 million.

21 July 2021
Here are a couple photos of Vincent with cast members from his latest film project.

I found a little more history on SHANTARAM. Russell Crowe was the first to express interest but when it went into film development in 2004, it had Johnny Depp attached as the star. Warner Bros. paid $2 million for the rights to the story, and the studio had Australian filmmaker Peter Weir lined up to direct. But by 2006, Weir was off the project because 'his interpretation of it differed greatly from that of the studio and producers." Johnny Depp tried again in 2013. After losing its director, the 'Shantaram' film project stalled until 2013, when Depp brought it back to life. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, at that time Depp was attached as both star and producer, and he was courting Joel Edgerton to direct. But ultimately, nothing came of it. By 2015, Warnerís rights to the project had expired. This left the project open for someone else to scoop up. And in January 2018, US production company Anonymous Content acquired the rights. Thatís the version currently in production  with Anonymous and Paramount making it into a series for Apple TV.

Production for the TV series began in October 2019. The plan was to shoot 10 episodes split between Victoria in Australia and India. By mid-December of that year, two episodes had been shot. But in February 2020, Paramount Television halted filming and put the show on hiatus. It wasnít because of the pandemic, though. Instead, they put things on hold because showrunner Eric Warren Singer was behind on writing the necessary episodes. Singer was forced out, and then the pandemic hit. Filming finally started up again in May 2021 and will continue until the end of the year. The cast and crew were filming in Australia, and then production was moved to Thailand. The cast is headed by British actor Charlie Hunnam, Presently, Steven Lightfoot is the showrunner, writer, and executive producer. AppleTV has not yet announced a premiere date.

In an April 2020 interview regarding the 3rd edition of the Rencontres du 7e Art, which ultimately had to be canceled due to the pandemic, Vincent was asked about the festival's poster, which paid homage to Marlon Brando.

"The urge to pay him homage came quickly, naturally, as our festival was created to take advantage of the immense careers of those who gravitate to the world of cinema. I also read the book entitled 'The Last Days of Marlon Brando", signed by Samuel Blumenfeld, who will also be giving a lecture at the Rencontres du 7e Art. We will also be showing the film 'On The Waterfront' and the documentary 'Listen to me Marlon', where Brando himself narrates the episodes of his life, as he recorded tapes like others keep a diary."

"Brando has been able to shake up the codes with a completely new form of animality in the way a role is played. So from the start of his career he was revered, everyone referred to him as a genius. He certainly ruined several generations of actors, in the sense that everyone wanted to be Brando. A myth was born. This glory put him in a position that made him lose the meaning of his life, yet one made up of important social struggles - he fought for blacks, condemned the genocide of Native Americans. This brilliant, learned and humanistic man has become a sort of paranoid ogre who has withdrawn into his home, with real military artillery hidden under his bed. A house in which he saw his son kill his daughter's companion. One expression says that glory is the shining mourning of happiness, his life illustrates this perfectly. This fallen angel, overweight and rejected by Hollywood at the end of his life, voluntarily destroyed this iconic image by turning in ridiculous films, which had for only merit to be at the top of the pile of the scenarios which one sent him. Itís sad to see that fame and Hollywood have devoured such a magnificent being from within!"

"I retain the image of a genius, which marked me deeply when I first started seeing his films, around the age of 15. The movie 'Via Zapata' introduced me to director Elia Kazan, Actors Studio. By rebounding it changed my life, because that's when I decided to become an actor... For me, his masterpieces are 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in which, for the first time, carnal impulses are dramatized by sulphurous inflamed paces between exposed virility and passionate neurosis, 'Viva Zapata', a fine example of a man who has power and shares it exclusively with others, and 'On The Waterfront', a powerful and overwhelming love story, featured in our poster. We could do all the Meetings of the 7th Art on him, as his filmography is impressive, strange and iconic."

27 June 2021

Vincent's next acting project is a television series called SHANTARAM, presently filming in Melbourne, Australia. The drama thriller is based on the novel of the same name by Gregory David Roberts. The story drew inspiration from Roberts' own life and tells the story of a man on the run from an Australian prison looking to get lost in the teeming city of Bombay. Cut off from family and friends by distance and fate, he finds a new life in the slums, bars and underworld of India. The novel is described as an exploration of love, forgiveness and courage on the long road to redemption. It has been published in 39 languages in 42 territories worldwide and sold more than 6 million copies to date.

The series will consist of ten episodes, with Vincent starring in seven of them. The book's description of his character Didier Levy is as follows - "A magnificently corrupt modern dandy, infamous for his infatuations with attractive young men".  Since the novel was published in 2003, several parties have expressed interest in a film adaptation including Johnny Depp. The series will be distributed through streaming service Apple TV+.

Last year Vincent's Franco-Senegalese wife Karine Silla had her latest book "Aline et les hommes de guerre" published, and on Friday, she attended a dedication ceremony in Dakar coinciding with the official launch of "Intelligence magazine". Present were several writers and personalities from the world of media and culture as well as Vincent's mother-in-law and son Pablo. The book outlines the journey of Aline Sitoť Diatta, highlighting the bravery of the priestess of Cabrousse who led the fight for the emancipation of her people during colonization.


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