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Interview d' Alan sur le site officiel du "Parfum"
You play the merchant Antoine Richis. What can
you tell us about your character?
The most important fact about him is that he’s the father of a daughter. Actually, he’s father and mother to Laure because his wife has died. As a rich merchant he leads a privileged life, living in a big house. But his main characteristic is that he’s too protective of his daughter. As he always says, “She is everything I have.”
What happens to his daughter during the film?
Everything that happens in the film is related to the story of Grenouille. Richis will personally meet the main character only at the end, though. Until then he only knows that there’s a serial killer in the vicinity who kills beautiful young girls. Since Richis’ daughter is among the most beautiful girls of the town, he assumes – quite rightfully – that his daughter is in danger. And so he becomes a Sherlock Holmes of sorts. The other influential men in town only react to the danger by making a fuss. Only Richis does use his head and try to outwit the unknown, lethal power.
Can you sympathise with Grenouille’s strange inclination to find the all-dominant perfume by all means?
Actually, I can, but the situation gets problematic when Grenouille turns into a murderer. Then it becomes impossible for someone to justify their inclination. But I think that generally one should try to put oneself into a serial killer’s psyche in order to understand why the react this and not that way. If not, such a person would remain incomprehensible to us. Most certainly society influences an offender as well. The character in our story was left on his own as a baby and misused during his childhood. Therefore he doesn’t have another choice than to develop an inclination that he, as the greatest expert, is absolutely convinced of. It doesn’t surprise me really that a person like Grenouille, who lives in his own reality only, gets obsessed by an fixed idea.
What impressed you most about the plot?
I can only speak about the script because I haven’t read the novel. But when I heard that Tom Tykwer would do the film, I instantly wanted to be a part of it. I like stories about obsessed people. (laughs) And I think that Richis – like Grenouille – shows a kind of obsession, aiming to protect his daughter from the eerie murderer.
Did you actually know Tom Tykwer’s previous films?
Of course, I did my homework! (laughs) Almost everyone knows Run, Lola, Run. I’ve only missed The Princess and the Warrior. And then there’s this wonderful short film True, which I liked very much. Tykwer is a remarkable film-maker, who not only controls every detail (of the picture) but every millisecond within. He’s understood it to make use of this short optical power that only lasts for a blink – when the eye is opened and closed again right away. This fast-paced technique is part of his mode of narrating. Therefore, for an actor it’s always exciting again to completely trust such a film-maker.
Therefore, would you describe him as an actors’ director?
He’s very certain in the way how he realises what he has come up with in his imagination. He already has it all in his mind, each shot, each scene, yes the entire film. That doesn’t mean, though, that it wouldn’t be possible to change things. He has a sunny disposition, as we Englishmen say. This is rather rare in this business, particularly in a film director who suffers from an enormous pressure due to the budget and the limited production time. To have someone on the set who smiles even in the most stressful moments is very special and provides a lot of power for all staff members.
What was the collaboration with Bernd Eichinger like?
I would say Bernd lives in constant danger of bursting one day because he’s so passionate about film-making. He’s so enthusiastic, and even more so with such a huge production like this. But he fought so hard for the film that it can only be a success. Apart from that, I witnessed how amicably he and Tom interacted with each other so that Tom could feel very supported. Therefore, Bernd’s presence was noticeable even when he wasn’t at the set for once.
The set designers did everything to make the film look as authentic as possible. Contemporary furniture was used; costume and other accessoires were recreated. How did you feel among these “antique” pieces?
I think that above everyone else the set designers did a incredibly god job. But I have to point out that when the film was shot everything around us looked slightly different than it will look like on the screen. Especially the fish market, which was recreated in Barcelona, looked awful with all this waste. And one pan shot to the side, you suddenly were in this beautiful house with this nice marble floor, where Richis and Laure live. The set designers just had to paint the walls, erect incredibly valuable old furniture and finally see to that special kind of film magic so that a fascinated member of the audience will ask himself, “To whom belongs this enchanting place?” Everything a rich man needed in the 18th century was there: a beautiful terrace for the birthday scene and right beside a maze, where Laure could get lost in. That definitely was a little miracle!
Traduction par Vera.