by Fabien Lemercier
14/01/2008 - Nicolas Cazalé (30) is riding the crest of the surprise success of Le Fils de l’épicier [trailer] (“The Grocer’s Son”) by Eric Guirado. Hailing from the Lot-et-Garonne region, he has appeared in eight features since making his debut in 2003 in Gaël Morel’s Under Another Sky. His filmography also includes Ismaël Ferroukhi’s Le grand voyage (Best Debut Film at Venice Film Festival 2004); Régis Wargnier’s Have Mercy on Us All [trailer]; and Chaotic Ana by Spanish director Julio Medem.
Cineuropa: What have been the most significant moments in your career so far?
Making Le grand voyage was an important time in my life, both professionally and personally; it was an experience that enabled me to realise the dreams I cherished as a young actor arriving in Paris. Before that, my work was more a source of suffering. I also learned a great deal on the set of Have Mercy on Us All. Playing a difficult role, I really felt that I was pushing myself to the limits of my ability, appearing alongside eminent actors such as José Garcia, a challenge I had already faced when starring in a television production with Alain Delon. As for Le Fils de l’épicier, I knew the film had potential, but obviously I didn’t expect this level of success [350,000 admissions since its release 22 weeks ago and the film is set to be re-launched on January 23 on 150 screens].
How did you get involved in the film Chaotic Ana?
Julio Medem hadn’t found the actor he was looking for in Spain, Italy or South America. After a year, he came to France and he really liked my work. Afterwards, I tried my best to convince him; I sent him some photos of my paintings, the DVD of Le Grand Voyage with English subtitles and I speak Spanish quite well. I really wanted to go and see how things were done elsewhere and everything was completely different, with a slightly crazy atmosphere that you don’t find in France. At the end of February, I’ll be shooting La chanteuse de Tango (“The Tango Singer”) by Argentine director Diego Martinez Vignatti (La Marea, “The Tide”). And then I’m going to play the boxer Victor Young Perez in a film by Steve Suissa.
What kind of actor are you, in terms of your style?
I’m rather an instinctive actor. Some characters are more like me than others, but I believe you shouldn’t play a game of pretence. You should have the honesty to search within yourself. Other roles require research, immersion in the character or training. I don’t really have a career plan: I select the projects that interest me most. In France, there are a wealth of projects to choose from, by filmmakers such as Tony Gatlif, Claude Lelouch, Claude Miller and Catherine Breillat… But I’d also love to work with Kim Ki-duk, Kitano and Kiarostami.