Edouard Baer: “I have a lot less desire for comedy than before”

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Edouard Baer in The Class Struggle
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He shines in La Lutte des classes, broadcast this Sunday on France 2. Rencontre.

Released in spring 2019 at the cinema, Class struggle, of Michel leclerc, arrives in the clear on television. It will be followed by Seven, the classic thriller by David Fincher.

We see you regularly on stage. In troop as in solo. What is the difference for you between your work in the theater and on a movie set?

I am passionate about playing anywhere. Even though I don’t know how to prepare roles and characters well. The advantage of theater is that you have to because you go through rehearsals that allow you to understand the work at the same time as you learn the role. But I don’t know how to work alone otherwise. In addition, there is a whole culture born from these actors who managed to make believe that they were better by learning their lines at the last moment. Even a genius like Depardieu who says bullshit about it, like “you shouldn’t know anything”. It is too convenient after to be like him…. We let ourselves be fooled when it is completely false. You would have to play a film like a hundredth of a theater, knowing everything but having forgotten everything. By being cleansed by having directed it physically. But I’m too faint-hearted or lazy to do it. That’s why I’m always a little too frustrated with my acting in the movies. Even if a little less for some time

What exactly do you like about acting in the cinema?

I love the atmosphere of a movie set. The teams, the rituals, these families of circumstance, these lives of a crazy intensity, especially if you are filming in the provinces. We take advantage of the best because we know that it lasts three months and that suddenly we can support the hierarchy, the shouting … No one gambles his life as when you join a company for 20 years! Afterwards, the pleasure of the game comes with the number of takes. Refine, refine, refine

So you need a director who plays that game?

Yes. Because in the first take, I can’t forget the technical team, the marks on the ground… I’m too nervous, everything distracts me. It hurts me whenever a technician fixes something while I’m playing. Because I don’t play for the camera but for the technicians, the audience on the set. So me, I need sympathy on a shoot, affection …

We find it in your game where you are never as good as against partners where we perceive the strong bond that unites you like Leïla Bekhti in Class struggle

Yes because you also play for your partner. What saves me in all these brothels is always the eye of the other. Otherwise, I am lost. Leïla is one of those people who make you literally get sucked in by their emotion and the shoot itself no longer exists

So you choose your films according to your partners?

Depending on who I’m going to hang out with, yes, definitely. If I have confidence in the director and my partners, I still think that the script will work out and that we will get away with it.

Do you feel like you’ve developed a character that you carry around from film to film?

In my eyes no, but I can see that I can be seen as such. I think that prevented some directors from calling on me. I had to do so Have a good trip by Jean-Paul Rappeneau with Sophie Marceau. And I can see when I look at his filmography that in the end he only entrusts the main male roles in his films (Olivier Martinez, Alain Souchon, Grégori Dérangère…) to people in whom he recognizes himself. I probably sound too extravagant. So that I can easily erase myself. It is moreover much more fascinating. A Luchini is always much more interesting in the cinema when he is doing next to nothing. Ditto for Serrault in Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud. In my case, I have the feeling that some directors see me as someone who is self-sufficient or uncontrollable. Even Chabrol had been reluctant to turn me around because he explained to me that I was too much of a zozo like him. However, I loved working with Claude, his listening and the atmosphere of his sets. And I would have loved to work with Bertrand Blier again after How much do you love me ? on Exceptional convoy. It was considered for a long time but could not be done reluctantly. After that, there is no injustice. My own fault is that I never really gave in to the movies very much. Unlike someone like Benoît Poelvoorde for example. It took me a long time to do it. In any case, I have no complaints to make to anyone.

Does that leave you with regrets?

I understand too well why no one can call on me. Just watch my movies. I am often in the minimum union. I’m just fair. But that’s not why we hire someone. It is to transcend a role in relation to writing. I haven’t done it enough but I’m happy to see that changing. For example, I know what I was able to bring – with their agreement of course – to Emmanuel Mouret’s films (Mademoiselle de Jonquières) and Michel Leclerc.

What exactly appealed to you about your work with Michel Leclerc?

Its strength is to deal with a difficult subject by never giving the feeling of apologizing, of constantly weighing the pros and cons. He dares incredible things in the dialogues as in the comedy of situation without it being hurtful or stupidly consensual.

What explains why you manage to let go today?

It goes hand in hand with his life off the set. Obviously, you have to trust a director but also dare shamelessness which is only rarely a question of body but of feelings. Dare to do nothing when, as it is a profession, we legitimately want to do things to justify our place. Besides, I don’t know if it’s the age, but I have a lot less desire for comedy than before. I no longer recognize myself in this search for efficiency. In the cinema as on stage. This makes me uneasy. Even if I know that on stage, instinctively, I want to make the audience laugh. I think in any case that you should never force.

The class struggle: the public school on the grill [Critique]

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