Christian Clavier: “I have always loved interpreting French people”

What we did to God returns Sunday evening on TF1.

On the occasion of the rebroadcast of What did we do to the good Lord, this weekend, we are republishing some extracts from our interview with Christian Clavier, we met in 2016 to talk about Visitors 3. The actor had returned to the great success of Philippe de Chauveron’s comedy, when his suite had not yet entered filming. Note that it is now number 3, What have we all done to the good Lord? which is currently in the process of being manufactured.

What we did to the good Lord 3: the shooting is over

Your relationship with the French is very particular and we feel that this is what who you likeîabove all else.

Yes. I have always loved interpreting French people. I am passionate about the ironic, critical and extraordinarily empathetic outlook I have on them – and that they have on me. It’s a round trip. There is nothing pretentious in what I am telling you. It is my report to the public. However, there are more and more people overseas who are enjoying these films. Visitors was revived by the extraordinary success of What did we do to the good Lord? in the international market. German, Greek or Italian audiences have the same type of relationship with my characters as the French. French comedy, very French, works elsewhere.

How do you explain that you are crossing borders in this way?

In What did we do to the good Lord?, Claude Verneuil, my character, is very “center of France” and, at the same time, his problematic is universal. The boss and employee relationship can be found everywhere. But it’s weird. I find your question curious. I have the impression that you have a strangely reductive point of view on the French. And on our country. I could be wrong but I don’t think so … Whether we are talking about its values, its principles, its history or its culture, France has a very important influence. It is not surprising that a French character works abroad. I find your astonishment amusing, because I have the impression that it expresses a complex vis-à-vis who we are. We sold the film around the world just because we called it Bastille Day.

Christian Clavier is the only actor to have passed the 10 million box office tickets 4 times

Do you really compartmentalize the profession of actor and author?
I love to improvise. I do not separate the professions of actor and author. I bring something and the director keeps it or not. Answering questions about my life bores me, talking about my job excites me. It is not a posture, it is not to slip away. I tell you sincerely. This is what interests me. This is how I work: I always bring the little author thing that I have in my head and then the director does whatever he wants with it. At first, Philippe (de Chauveron) was surprised and finally he kept a lot of ideas in What did we do to the good Lord? I try to find something jubilant to go to the end of the character. That’s what I like the most: going to the end of the character, as I would like, as an author, to be served by the actor. With Jacquouille, I created a character who no longer even looked like me physically. My complicity with Jean-Marie and with Philippe was built on this. And the fact that they are customers.

How is the meeting between a character and an actor?

This is complicated … Interesting but complicated. Everything is a matter of technique. The costume is very important for example and everything is played out when I see myself in the mirror. After you have to be. To go inside. And trust the author. Because as an actor, I only know how to do one thing: “learn the meaning of sentences” (my teacher Tsilla Chelton said it). The basis for me is to know my text completely on the first day. My text and that of others. I worked a lot and I arrive on the set. And when I arrive, I am empty. I forget everything. I’m so into it that it allows me to improvise. I’m going to give you an example. When we turn the Good God, Philippe asks me if I want to meet the actors who play my sons-in-law. But I refuse. I think they have the chips to go around with me and if they see me, they’ll find out I’m not a bad guy, they’ll relax. And we must not … Suddenly, the first day was hell. When making up, after a long hesitation, Medi said to me in a very small voice: “… You are very handsome.” “And I answer:” Thank you my little one, that’s nice. We left on the exact tone of my character with his sons-in-law. I brought the situation to them. This is the game. The jubilation of this profession is there. And I prefer to talk about this subject rather than being asked if I am unhappy to meet with failure. Am I? Obviously. Am I happy to be successful? Yes … but not as long as you imagine. If success is fun, it’s just because it makes it possible to shoot a new film. When a film doesn’t work, it’s complicated to follow up, contrary to what people say … We did a decent result with Operation Corned Beef, but when just after we proposed Visitors which costs 15 million francs more, Gaumont must think about it. And that seems quite normal to me.

[Exclu] What did we do to the good Lord 2: “The film will be controversial”

During this river interview, Christian Clavier also returned to his cult films Les Bronzés, Father Christmas is a junk and The Visitors. You can read it in full below:

Christian Clavier: “A lot of people find it complicated to interview me”

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