Laurent Lucas • Actor
An appetite for risk
A French actor who started out in theatre, Laurent Lucas made his cinematic debut in 1994 with I Can’t Stand Love. Since then he has starred in over 30 films, notably by big name auteur directors, such as Dominik Moll, Bertrand Bonello, Arnaud des Pallières and Pascal Bonitzer. After Fabrice du Welz’s The Ordeal [+see also:
film profile], the actor is back in Belgium on the set of Manu Gomez’s Le Prince de ce monde, this time as a priest up against multiple demons (see news).
Cineuropa: What attracted you to this character?
Laurent Lucas: The fact that it’s a priest! When you’re an actor, certain roles, such as those of a priest or a lawyer are intriguing. Well, wanting to play a priest is a bad reason really (laughs)! We do things for good reasons afterwards though.
The quality of the script, the storyline and this awful life; this priest is more or less a normal guy who likes what he does but after he arrives in a small parish, he is transformed. He experiments with things that drive him crazy because he’s a priest. A dreadful sense of guilt gradually sets in because he continues believing in God. It’s a real descent into hell, nothing could be worse. Everything he has built up falls apart. He becomes nothing. For someone else, anyone with a bit of sense, meeting this woman [played by Lio] would be marvellous (laughs)! But for him, it’s hell.
How did you meet Manu Gomez?
On Fabrice’s film. He approached me about the project. But I’d never seen any of his films. I don’t really like seeing things beforehand. I rely on the script and the person directing the film. And from one film to another, directors don’t do the same thing. I’m afraid of trying to resemble something they may have already done but in this case they’re doing something new.
You’re used to playing difficult and ambiguous characters, aren’t you?
It’s just that well-written characters are often near breaking point. They’re ill at ease. I’m not really aware of that when I’m reading a text because I’m only interested in my character. But afterwards I do realise that they are coherent. Yes, it’s true my characters are always risking something.
Isn’t it the risk of madness? Like in films by Bonello or Moll for example?
Yes, that’s true. Lemming [+see also:
film profile] for example is the story of a guy that pretends everything’s fine but, in fact, he’s on the verge of a breakdown (laughs). I love these kinds of characters!
In addition to these roles, you also play the role of the perfect son-in-law.
Yes, indeed, sometimes! In Haut les cœurs!, for example, I played the very attentive husband who helps Karin Viard’s character stay alive. He was very interesting because a lot of people could identify with the situation. Someone who helps an invalid because he can no longer live himself and the other person who takes everything over, how far can he go? But ever since my first film, I Can’t Stand Love, I’ve had great roles! With many monologues. In general, this puts actors off a little. However, since I was used to theatre, it was no big deal for me. My only fear was that it wouldn’t be natural enough. In cinema, it’s the emotions, the inner reflection, the character’s point of view that are the most important. Once the shoot begins, you have to be emotionally involved in your role.
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