An aperitif with Damien Bonnard: “The infantilization of actors is a good way to make us completely stupid”

An aperitif with Damien Bonnard: “The infantilization of actors is a good way to make us completely stupid”


Ideally, Damien Bonnard would have preferred to find a coffee haphazardly. We would have found ourselves in a square, we would have taken the first street on the right or the second on the left, we would have wandered around for a while before stopping in a place that caught our eye. But, for convenience, he arranged to meet us in a tobacco bar in the 6th arrondissement. “It seems more and more difficult to live in the present moment ,” he regrets. Having to reserve my seat at the cinema drives me crazy! To see a film, I need to discover the room, to feel it, to settle in and let myself be guided by the moment. »

The actor from Les Misérables by Ladj Ly (2019), seen in the films of Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson and Yorgos Lanthimos, may well have been nominated four times for the Césars and be, at this very moment, mega-lit by a ceiling light twisted in a garland, he goes incognito. With his overcoat, his mustache and his dark novel, he reminds us of one of those private detectives of yesteryear, the type to stay quiet, observe and sneak away.

The aperitif really hits the spot. Discuss for hours, let yourself drift, delve deeper… “We can’t spend our lives answering interviews like “Do you prefer Beyoncé or Rihanna?” Well no, Miles Davis. Dialogue cannot be limited to choosing between A and B.” He likes the long term, like that of the programs which have disappeared: “Le Grand Echiquier”, “Cinéma, cinémas”, “Poésie sur parole”, etc. On YouTube, he watches major interviews on the “Thinkerview” channel, filmed in a minimalist setting, without showing off.

“I’m a bit old-fashioned, but I’m a modern man: I have a smartphone and even a universal remote control, capable of turning off any TV ,” he slips, pulling out his key ring. It’s very discreet, you press this button for thirty seconds and it cuts everything! You can do it wherever news channels are on loop, in all places where screens invade the silence. » We would have happily attended a demonstration, but then we realized that the café has no television and doesn’t even play music. Probably the reason why we whisper spontaneously since our first chirp. Enough to encourage confidences.

“Digging beyond the news flashes”

If Damien Bonnard chose this bar, it is because he goes there from time to time to buy cigarettes, but above all because it is called Le Québec. It reminds him of the first time he played a role, even before he was an actor. Let’s rewind. It was in the 2000s. After studying at the Beaux-Arts in Nîmes, the young man spent two or three years in Brussels with the abstract painter Marthe Wéry, worked on construction sites in Paris, and stayed a year in a lab in CNRS specialized in the manufacture of artificial diamonds and ended up flying to New Brunswick to harvest ferns. But the season is falling through.

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