Karim Leklou – Bac Nord: “It’s my mouth and my voice, but the character’s moral is not mine”

Cannes 2021: Karim Leklou and François Civil during the Bac Nord photocall

Meeting with one of the main actors of the film event of the week.

North Bac has just been released to the cinema, after several postponements linked to the Covid-19 epidemic. Originally slated for December 2020, the film was on the premiere cover. The opportunity to meet its main actors Gilles Lellouche, François Civil or even Karim Leklou.
By Sylvestre Picard

Bac Nord is as powerful as it is fascinating [critique]

Indispensable figure of French cinema with Jacques Audiard, Romain Gavras or Katell Quillévéré and Elie Wajeman, Karim Leklou gives us the keys to his work on BAC North.

We were afraid he would be eaten. Discreet in life, Karim Leklou is nevertheless one of the most amazing French actors to appear in the last decade. Revealed by Jacques Audiard in A prophet, he has forged himself from an impeccable CV, built on his high standards. The Anarchists Elie Wajeman, Suzanne and Repair the living by Katell Quillévéré, View of the country the Coulin sisters, Toril by Laurent Teyssier, Orphan by Arnaud des Pallières… Few leading roles (Hot shot in 2015, The world is yours in 2017), okay, but it is precisely in the background of films by powerful, even radical authors, that Karim Leklou stood out. In BAC North, he balances the duo of mad dogs played by François Civil and Gilles Lellouche while camping Yass, a cop, future dad, whose gaze carries further than the others. No question of being eaten. Met a few days before confinement, in a Parisian café (and respecting barrier gestures), the actor analyzes his character and his vision of the ” job “.


“We read the script in Marseille with Gilles [Lellouche] and François [Civil], and we received training in the handling of weapons. It was very harmonious, we spent a lot of time together, we built our group… Cédric [Jimenez] supports its actors a lot. For example, during the waiting sequence for a weed deal, we offered Cédric a scene fueled by our off-set discussions: rather than being too serious in fashion. “Alpha 5-22 in position!”, we wanted to really bring our characters and their issues to life. And even if Gilles and François already have experience in action cinema, I have never felt withdrawn. They were very generous. “

François Civil and Gilles Lellouche – Bac Nord: “I do not believe that the film is subject to controversy”


“When is Yass most like me?” I don’t know if I have enough perspective to answer this question. I know it’s me, my voice, my way of breathing, but I’m not a careerist like him. Besides, playing a cop didn’t excite me more than that. As with all my other roles, what mattered above all was to find a character, to support the film. I don’t have a dream role, I want to defend characters. Being an actor is a game and we too often forget the part of fun, fun that there is in this profession. I have no moral judgment on my characters. No. It’s me who plays, it’s my mouth and my voice, but the character’s moral is not mine. Yass is an ambitious guy who doesn’t thrive on the pitch. He wants to become an officer, he has a few flaws but he is right in the face of the politics of numbers… This is what I tried to convey through my interpretation. “


“Yass had to have a very precise figure. I worked with Mathieu Pradel, a sports coach, and I lost a good fifteen pounds in two months. I like to work on my physique. I went there cheerfully. There I finish season 2 ofHippocrates, it’s another role, so I found the silhouette of the character… Yass is a type of action, which moves a lot. Laurent Tanguy, the cinematographer of BAC North, gave us great freedom of movement, especially in the big central action scene: it was crazy, we were able to move, improvise… This freedom of movement comes from collective work. The director, the op director, the technical team, the extras… The extras, above all, gave me incredible strength. It reminded me of the filming of A Prophet: very tense scenes but in a very good-natured atmosphere. “


“I don’t feel any difference between filming BAC North and that of a series like Hippocrates: Thomas [Lilti] pays as much attention to it as for a movie. It’s the same process, the same involvement. When I play a role, I become attached to him and only to him. I try to give my all because I doubt all the time. And then I cut. Once the role is finished, I leave it to the film. A role is a truth. What motivates me is what people say. During the shooting, I dedicate myself completely to the character – no longer too much social life – but as soon as the shooting is finished, it disappears. “

Hippocrates season 2: intense dive in a submerged hospital [critique]


“I like to discover worlds of directors, to shoot with different filmmakers. For Repair the living, Katell [Quillévéré] had sent me for an internship in surgery, I had seen organ harvesting, it was impressive. I like the idea of ​​having lots of lives. I do not identify with a cinema family, with a certain type of films… I no longer really have contact with Jacques Audiard [qui l’a révélé dans Un prophète], but I go to see his films, I follow his work. With Romain Gavras, it’s different, we have kept a link. I loved doing The world is yours. In fact, I like most of the people I’ve toured with. Katell, the Coulin sisters [Voir du pays], Cédric… They all have a vision. That of Cédric is to make an action film, spectacular, with a societal backdrop, which shows the political instrumentalisation of the police. It’s cool and rare, as an approach, not to want to copy the Americans. “

Cédric Jimenez: Itinerary of a spoiled kid

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