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Art & Culture / AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Vincent Cassel on extreme characters

Inspirational figures get personal and share a passion with us in AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Vincent Cassel and Joséphine de La Baume in Our Day Will Come
Vincent Cassel and Joséphine de La Baume in Our Day Will Come

Vincent Cassel loves to play a villain. A troubled teen thug intent on killing a policeman, a child rapist, notorious French gangster and a controlling ballet teacher. AnOther caught up with the French actor to discuss his love of...

"I grew up watching films with extreme characters. I much preferred Robert De Niro than the 'nice guy'. In fact, it was watching these extreme characters that inspired me to be an actor. Growing up I realised that the 'bad guys' are closer to reality than the rest. I've tried to do 'nice guys' but I don't really see people as nice. I think human beinga are much more complex than that. Every time I meet a nice person, I realise they too have demons and a dark side. If you portray people as polite, social and generous, it feels like something is missing. I feel that characters are deeper when there's a bit of something else. And it's more fun."

Vincent Cassel loves to play a villain. A troubled teen thug intent on killing a policeman (La Heine, 1995), a Soviet who rapes a 14-year-old girl (Eastern Promises, 2007), notorious French gangster (Mesrine, 2008) and a controlling ballet teacher who seduces his principal dancer (Black Swan, 2010). In his latest film, the directorial feature debut of Romain Gavras entitled Our Day Will Come, Cassel also takes on the role of producer. 

Gavras has a longstanding relationship with Cassel and wrote the lead role of Patrick specifically for the French actor. Patrick is introduced as a psychiatrist – one that munches on crisps whilst his distressed patient sits in his chair. Patrick meets his co-lead shortly after Rémy, played by Olivier Barthelemy – an uncomfortable, insecure red-headed young man who leaves home after a violent confrontation with his mother and sister. The pair embark on a surreal journey – physically, across northern France and emotionally, as Patrick inspires Rémy to take on a violent, confident, ruthless persona. 

Together, Gavras and Cassel create a succession of memorable scenes, which are darkly humorous, violent and poignant. Cheekily groping an older, unassuming lady in the bathroom of a bar; gaining access to a locked supermarket in the middle of the night and driving down the aisles on a €799 electric bike; starting a passionate threesome with two young girls which comes to an abrupt end. There's also a captivating jacuzzi scene and a poetic hot-air balloon ride, but they're best saved for watching the film itself.

Our Day Will Come (Notre Jour Viendra), directed by Romain Gavras is being screened at the ICA, London until August 18

Text by Laura Bradley

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