Interview with François Bégaudeau
How did you get involved in this project?
I met Pierre Courrège thanks to a common friend. He was looking for a co-writer to write The Statesman for which he had the general idea. I liked the man and the idea, so we got started.
Apart of your role as journalist on the movie, you are also one of the scriptwriters, how did you come with the story and what message did you want to put across?
It’s actually the other way around. I had co-wrote the movie and when we started shooting Pierre asked me to portray the journalist. I did it as a gesture of friendship, to help him. And to have fun as well, because acting is enjoyable.
The movie doesn’t convey a message. It takes note of a certain situation of the Republican game and explores what it means to be a statesman today. We simply show that in politics there’s no pure position. Even while being above petty interests, Bergman must descend into the arena and show his craftiness to defeat the corrupt candidate.
Can French politics and politicians be related to the fictional ones on the movie?
Obviously, the President reminded a lot of Nicolas Sarkozy when the movie came out. But it wasn’t really our goal. In fact, among the French politicians, Sarkozy isn’t the only deceitful one. In regards to Bergman, I’m not sure he has a counterpart in real life, whether we like it or not.
Around the world, you became famous after your leading role on The Class; how does it feel to be back in a production as a supporting cast member?
I’m not an actor and I never planned to be. Circumstances made me get back to it for The Statesman. I would have done it too if the character was only in one scene. It’s also because of circumstances that I ended up having a part in theater in 2014. I act just like some people go to skiing. It is just for fun.
Your prolific career includes writing, music and acting; which do you prefer the most and why?
I wrote fifteen books between 2000 and 2016. I am a writer. The rest is secondary (except for music, but it was in the 90’s)
What does it mean for you that, almost 10 years after The Class, you are still recognized for your role in the movie?
Those who read my works know me for what I write. The others may make up stories as they wish.
Would you be interested on adapting a new realist literature work to film?
My fourth novel, called Entre les Murs, was adapted by Laurent Cantet, who asked me to help him for the script and to play the main character. I have personally never adapted any book. What’s happening is the opposite, Kechiche is shooting an adaptation of La Blessure, la Vraie.
Are you working on any projects at the moment? Can you tell us something about them?
I am working on a theater play and a novel. Also, a movie that I co-wrote comes out this week (today is November 17th). It’s called Rupture pour Tous. I think it is a good comedy.
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