“I almost got turned away from the red carpet at Cannes because of a deficient bow tie”
Three months after winning the César for best actor – a prize he had already won the year before – Benoît Magimel returns to the Cannes Film Festival with three films. For the occasion, he lent himself to the game of our “autopromo” interview.
Benoît Magimel, the actor with two Césars, will climb the steps in Cannes for three films: Omar the Strawberrythe first feature film by Elias Belkeddar, starring Reda Kateb, Rosalie, by Stéphanie Di Giusto, on the story of a bearded woman in the 19the century, and The Passion of Dodin Bouffantdirected by Tran Anh Hung, which signs the reunion of the actor with Juliette Binoche twenty-five years later The Children of the Century.
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My mood from the moment ?
Serene. I’m often criticized for not opening up enough after happy news, but I’m especially delighted for the directors: being selected for Cannes shows that their films matter.
How do these three films differ?
They are three very different films. Omar the Strawberry talks about uprooting, double culture and friendship. I was sensitive to the energy of director Elias Belkeddar and I put a lot of myself into writing the screenplay. Rosalie is a love story that speaks of identity. And The Passion of Dodin Bouffantan extremely modern love story through the itinerary of two chefs.
Find Juliette Binoche…
… I may lack a bit of perspective on the event, but to find her on a set twenty-five years later The Children of the Centuryby Diane Kurys, was simple and natural.
To be happy in this profession, it is better to avoid criticism
Do I still have the sacred fire?
Over the years, I try to focus more on writing, producing or directing, but when I shoot a film, I give myself body and soul to make it a success.
Is talking about me on promo a chore?
I always prefer to talk about films, without imposing a truth, because everyone understands a work as they feel it, but it remains essential to promote cinema, especially at this time.
A question I never answer?
Questions about my private life are not necessary, but I opened up over time, I spoke very little in my early days.
The review that makes me happy?
To be happy in this profession, it is better to avoid criticism. What touches me is the recognition of my work and when people point out to me that the actor disappears in favor of the character.
At 14, I thought 40s must be the most interesting time for an actor to live, and I have to admit, it’s not bad.
What do I tell myself when I look in the mirror in the morning?
Let the years go by, and that suits me very well! At 14, I thought 40s must be the most interesting time for an actor to live, and I have to admit, it’s not bad.
The last time I was proud of myself?
When I received my second César for best actor, and when I carried out the renovation of my house on my own.
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My attitude at the Cannes Film Festival?
I feel much calmer there than most of the people around me. The Festival is a long-distance race for which you have to preserve yourself, in order to work as correctly as possible. And it is a unique place where extraordinary encounters take place.
Who did I meet there?
I ran into Leonardo DiCaprio and Benicio Del Toro in the bathroom – quite a jubilant moment! –, and it was in Cannes that I met Albert Serra, who offered me a few months later to play in Peace. Torment on the Islands (film for which he received the César for best actor this year, Editor’s note).
My combat outfit at Cannes?
An impeccable tuxedo and a solid bow tie, because I have already almost been turned away from the red carpet because of a defective model. And I remember that during my first Festival, I noticed that you had to remember to unstitch the pockets of your jacket, and also to wear down the soles of your shoes in order to avoid slipping on the steps!
Omar the Strawberry, by Elias Belkeddar. Released May 24.