Guillaume Canet Interview
Guillaume Canet Interview
Were you not tempted to play one of the parts yourself?

Guillaume Canet

At the beginning I wanted to play in the film. I wanted to play Antoine. But fortunately I haven't done it, because it would have been a big, big mess. But it brought many, many good things that they'd known each other for a long time. And the time we spent in the house before we started to shoot the film was really good because I wanted them to feel the place. For the film I refused to have any flashbacks to understand the connections between them and how they met, so we had to build that before, during those three or four days they would discover the house, spend some time in it, in their rooms and get used to it. So the first day when they would start the film they would have the feeling that they know this house, like a vacation house that they come to every year.

And the other point is that during this week we rehearsed, we made some readings and I gave them a lot of information about how they met, why for example Marie and Antoine would never sit together. It gave me a lot of information and help to decide what those relationships between them are. For example, does Marie really get on well with Antoine? And we understand, if we think about it that she likes a mature guy and he's not, obviously, a mature one. And also that she's really close friends with Juliette, who is his ex-girlfriend that he's talking about a lot and she gets bored [by] him so we imagine that she doesn't really like him. That happens in the group of friends, you know, she does not have that much affinity with him. So that helps me too, to know that when I'm going to do a dinner scene, that I wouldn't sit Marie close to Antoine, because they wouldn't do that naturally.

It's all those details that helped us to decide things between them, so when we started the film they would know each other very, very well and they would know exactly what to do in the circumstances. And also in the improvisation, because I wanted them to respect the dialogue, I wanted them to be able to improvise and give life, but they would know all the time where the scene is going.
You said it was a very personal film and that there was a bit of you in each character. So I was just wondering if you'd ever been embarrassed and if you ever had to censor anything?

Guillaume Canet

Erm ... no. I mean, as soon as you start writing a script about things that are very close to you, it's true that sometimes you don't want to tell everything. And there is a part of fiction too, in the film, in the story. But you're forced to be true and honest, otherwise you can't make a movie about lies and lying. It's not possible. [Laughs]

So sometimes I was writing things but I was asking myself and saying, 'Oh my gosh, should I write about this and should I put this?' and really quickly I said, 'Okay, stop asking yourself any questions and just go and just write it, and the characters and the film will tell you if it's important to keep it or not.' And it's true that sometimes when I was in the editing room, suddenly I would see a scene and I was like, 'Oh my God, yeah, I realise now, that really exists now, I cannot avoid it.'

I finished a script at the end of last year with James Gray, the director – a movie that I want to direct, maybe next year – and he was telling me all the time, 'Put yourself in the story.' And I think he's really right because once you are creating something – a painting, a song, a film – you cannot help putting yourself into it. I think it's a part of the creation that you have to accept to give your feelings. That's the reason why it's really important, I think, to keep your private life for yourself when you're an actor. Because you give so much of [yourself] already that once you give your private life, you have nothing else and you become crazy and a jerk.
You give so much already that once you give your private life, you have nothing else and you become crazy and a jerk...
Did you cut anything out that you were sorry to lose?

Guillaume Canet

A lot. A lot. The first cut of the film was four hours. And where I was really scared is that when we had finished watching the four hours, my editor – who is a really, really good editor – turned to me and said, 'It's good.' And I said, 'What?! It's not possible! We cannot have a film of four hours.’ He said, 'Yeah, I know, but it works. I mean, it works on four hours.' I said, 'Yeah, yeah, okay, it works, but …' And I was crazy at this time because when I finished the script I told my producer and the distributor, 'Do you realise it's really long?' because I just wrote the script without stopping myself. And I said, 'Should we cut the script now and shoot a tighter version?' and they said, 'No, no, let's go. Shoot the movie the way it is and then we'll see.'

And they saw. When I said it's four hours they said, 'WHAT?' I said, 'I told you it's really long.' So they realised that they paid for nothing, for some of the things. But actually, yeah, I had to cut some scenes that I really love. But they are on the DVD, they will be in the bonus section.
How long will the DVD be?

Guillaume Canet

Very long. Very long, because I put an hour and a half of deleted scenes back in.
An hour and a half of deleted scenes? So, like, an entire other movie?

Guillaume Canet

Exactly this! It's exactly this. Yeah.
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Content updated: 20/07/2019 05:33

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