She has known the scene since her childhood, but this is not the same song: the famous French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis is rubbing shoulders for the first time in the “perilous” and “magnificent” world of the theater.
In an interview with AFP before the Tuesday premiere of “Maman” at the Edouard VII theater in Paris, the star says she is “inhabited” by the text written and directed by the director and author Samuel Benchetrit, her husband in the city .
“In a few weeks, in a few months, I’m going to relax a bit, but now I just think about it all the time,” she says.
The 48-year-old singer and actress has loved the boards since, as a child, she took dance lessons and performed at the end of the year.
But the one who was in the spotlight from her eight years in the Fan School, a popular French television show created in the late 70s, then at 14 with a hit titled “Joe the taxi” admits “having the stage fright “.
“I had a lot of admiration for the theater actors but to have lived it, I admire them even more, it is enormous what they do”, assures the former companion of Johnny Depp, who appeared in twenty films.
“It is very dangerous to keep the accuracy of the game while projecting the voice very loudly”, adds the actress who plays without a microphone.
She waited a long time to make up her mind, until she was “overwhelmed” by Benchetrit’s text who had “confidence” in her.
“I was a little afraid of the theater before, I almost did it several times but I did not give myself time, I was in my music, films, and travel”, says the César for best hope feminine (1990) for “Noce blanche” by Jean-Claude Brisseau.
“You have to give a lot to the theater, we rehearse for several weeks and hopefully we play for several months. For half of your year, you can’t do anything else.”
But beyond the stage fright, the two-month rehearsal of the play, where she plays opposite Eric Elmosnino, Félix Moati and Gabor Rassov, “made her adore the theater”.
“I find that extraordinary (…) it’s like building a house, we start with the foundations and then one day it has a roof and a chimney and we want to be in it”, she says.
“I don’t want to diminish the performance of the actors in the cinema, but in the cinema, we play small pieces of the scene, there we play a story from the beginning to the end. To live this emotion continuously is completely overwhelming”, confides the ‘actress.
“It leads you, it bullies you and it makes you feel good; in the performing arts, there is something both exciting and dangerous. It’s beautiful but … it’s extremely hard,” laughs -she.
And to note that it was “terrifying to see to what extent we do not have control over ourselves because we let the text invade us”.
“You have to have the availability of time but also of spirit”
In “Maman”, she plays Jeanne, a woman married for more than 25 years. “It’s something to live with someone for 25 years, it’s a challenge,” said with a slight laugh, the one who had a long relationship with Johnny Depp, the father of her children.
“Jeanne is a woman in search of a child that she did not have. She finds herself waiting for a taxi in the street one evening and meets a young man who takes her for a whore. She is convinced that he is took her for a mother and is going to offer her husband something huge. It’s both real and unreal at the same time. “
Prior to the play, she had completed two films (“The Call of Duty by Hugo Thomas and” This Music Does Not Play For Anyone “by the same Samuel Benchetrit).
She would like to write new songs for her future album. “But here I am incapable of it, it is a dense piece, you have to have an availability of time but also of spirit”.