DE GAULLE - The film De Gaulle is back in cinemas on June 22, 2020. In its first outing, Lambert Wilson had entrusted her work to interpret the general. Interview.
[updated June 22, 2020 at 8: 30 am] Few actors could be believable in a role as large. Lambert Wilson was the only French player who had the middle of the case according to the director Gabriel Le Bomin. In De Gaulle, new to the show this Monday, June 22, after a first outing on 4 march (before the confinement, he lent his features to the general during the few weeks are crucial, which led to the appeal of 18 June 1940. This biopic mixes historical facts and intimate life Of the couple Gaulle to identify the motivations behind the commitment of the military man and political, encouraged by his wife Yvonne. In an interview conducted before the first release of the film last march, Lambert Wilson is back on the way he had picked up this role, no other actor had incarnated in a biopic dedicated to the cinema until then.
What was your reaction when you were asked to play Charles de Gaulle ?
When you are offered De Gaulle airport, it said at the time "this is awesome" and at the same time, "attention, there has been Abbé Pierre, the Cousteau society, it may be a bit dangerous to link the French character as famous". But what gave me the idea to do the film, it was the photograph in the first page of the scenario : we saw the couple, Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle in 1940. (Pause) And before they even read the script, I have long looked at the photograph, and they had this tenderness, something that convinced me, even before they read the detail. It is a fascinating scenario because it is a mix of intimate and historic. But it is mainly the torque, and the aspect of fiction that convinced me. There was something not trivial in this photograph, in the way that they had to look at all of the two. I said to myself, "it changes everything" : this is not the old man with the voice quivering, that embodies France, not at all ! This is a man who will fight, who is visionary, smart, but totally alone in the face of events, supported by an incredible woman. It was very different.
This wasn't the image you had of Charles de Gaulle before the film ?
No, and if I had been offered a biopic traditional, I would have ran away. I've done it with Cousteau [in The Odyssey in 2016, ed], which is not completely a biopic, either, but that was through 40 years in the life of this man. It requires hard things. Is it really necessary to see the whole life of a man ? I find that it is much more relevant with this movie, choose a month that will reveal a lot of things of who he was and what was this couple.
"It is important to give a sensation, a vibration of the character"
How did you envision that role ? How is it that one dose between imitation and reinterpretation ?
I have not tried to imitate them because I find that this is not a very interesting exercise. A perfect imitation, it is entertaining for a while, but we may miss the essential. I find that it is more important to give a sensation, a vibration of the character and to understand what moves, why it takes the decision that he takes, how he reacts emotionally and psychically with the world around him. The imitators -of which I am not part because I am unable to emulate that - to that change very often subject to imitation, as once it was de Gaulle for five minutes, even to perfection, the audience needs something else. And what they need ? The depth of the character. Otherwise, to find out how to embody it, it was very traditional : we consume pictures, images, movies, listening to the documents, we like to eat at de Gaulle, we drink de Gaulle one sleeps de Gaulle...
Have you felt a particular pressure to the idea of playing this role ?
I hope that there is a pressure to play each role ! If there is no pressure, it is that there is a problem, it is necessary that there is a pressure... Honestly there is more pressure on a film director who is going to write a thread on de Gaulle and who is going to deliver a de Gaulle, a producer who has to defend a film on de Gaulle, as the actor who interprets it.
For this role, you wore makeup and prosthetics...
Yes I had 2h30 of make-up prosthetics pure... (Thinking) all in all I had roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes of preparation.
how it has influenced your way of embodying this character ?
I like this, because it is like a mask. A mask, it can be too freezing, too fixed, it can "die" behind the mask. But it also allows you to release your inhibitions. It is not so-even at this moment, we see in the mirror, and it creates a walk that is different, a different voice, just because it has a different face. What I found fascinating, too, is the companionship with the make up, the hairdresser,... : they are there every morning for two months to build you a millimeter by a millimeter, that are attentive to the smallest detail and who you supervise. It is as if one was not only to compose the character, it really is a team work. It is more enjoyable than working all alone.Lambert Wilson plays Charles de Gaulle. © ALAIN GUIZARD / BESTIMAGE
What did you felt playing the scene of the appel June 18, 1940 ? Was this a difficult scene to play ?
It was the last day of filming, the production had come to a lot of people, I listened to side on the stage, there was a kind of staging is really impressive... But it was a bit like figure skating where it was required figures : here, it is the speech everyone was waiting. For the play, I was in the ear, the speech that he made on the 21st of June, since the June 18, has not been registered. I was immersed in this concentration, this sound, these phrases. When one is in uniform, in front of the microphone, which was probably hers at the BBC, in this kind of isolation, it is much easier to get closer to him. Where it was a lot more difficult, it was when de Gaulle was dressed in civilian clothes, because it is mostly defined by his costume of a military. And when he was in the costume of a civilian, I felt that he was leaving... It was a lot more difficult to keep de Gaulle where he is a citizen like the others.
scenes from the life intimate, therefore, were more complicated to play for you ?
in cases where it is complicated in the intimate scenes, it is that one must make decisions where there is no information, otherwise the letters, their correspondence, their son describes the family situation and the atmosphere there,...etc., But at a given moment, how is it that de Gaulle took his wife's hand ? How he kisses her to say goodbye ? How he kisses her when he finds her ? We have responsibilities, if not vis-à-vis members of the family, one is still obliged not to do anything. And at the same time it is necessary to show imagination, to invent their body language.
"It's not bad to hear a message which is to bring people together in a common effort"
And with Isabelle Carré have that you had already played...
It is very easy, it is total happiness. It's done, that's all. There was no discussion. Isabelle is in direct contact with the emotion and the situation, just that I see it to believe it. It plays so so sincere and so natural, that we forget the wigs. We knew each other well, and we liked it, it helps yes, it was not to be discovered during the filming.
Why it is important to make this film today ?
first because it has not been done before, so it had to be done. But also because I find that it is not bad to hear a message which is to bring people together in a common effort, a common direction. But this is not the project of the film, it is one of its effects ! You are in a time where everyone in France has a tendency to hate and to type on the mouth, it is in a kind of phase of love lost each other. And with the movie, it's good to hear the word of a man to whom there remains only this : the power of words. One feels that he is not politically ,to gain in a selfish way, it makes it truly a question of altruism, a question bigger than him. We were a little disappointed by the policy at this time, there is always a bad surprise out of a hat, always said "people are a little bit no matter what." In the film, we have a guy who is totally heroic. Perhaps in spite of himself, because the events are that he is the only one. So he goes there.Date Of Update: 22 June 2020, 03:58