François-Xavier Demaison, itinerary of a fulfilled artist

PORTRAIT – On display at time of secretsthe marvelous adaptation of Pagnol by Christophe Barratier, and Ten wine(s)a single-on-stage as mastered as it is irresistible, the actor observes his successes with a look that is always dazzled.

How far away that month of September 2007 seems when we met him in a café on Place Balard (Paris, 15and). At the time, François-Xavier Demaison revealed his talent in a promising one-man show. Through a Proustian questionnaire, we tried to find out what was hiding in the mind of this tax expert who left New York on September 11, 2001 to become one of the new stars of the French comedy scene. At the turn of the interview, the portrait of a generous, hyper-empathetic and curious Epicurean already took shape behind the dazzled eyes of a good child who couldn’t get over having granted himself the right to try his luck under the spotlights. “I took risks and I was rewarded,” he said then.

The years have passed and, from the release of a film (about forty!) to the acquisition of a Parisian institution (Le Théâtre de l’Œuvre, where he experienced his first shock at the age of 18 in front of Eurydice, directed by Georges Wilson, with Sophie Marceau), from the writing of a new show to a tasting of the latest cuvée of Mirmanda, this cru which made him a winegrower, a bond was born.

Fifteen years after the first meeting, this sensitive and faithful man receives us, almost as a friend, in the cozy living room of his Parisian loft. Since his debut, he has not only developed his field of activity, he has become a popular artist. But his greatest success undoubtedly lies in the fact of having remained, at 48, this dreamy and humble boy who cannot believe all that life has given him. “I realized, literally, all my childhood dreams,” he justifies himself almost timidly. Latest: the role of Uncle Jules, whom Christophe Barratier offered him to form with Guillaume de Tonquédec (Joseph), Mélanie Doutey (Augustine) and Anne Charrier (Aunt Rose) the referent quartet of young Marcel in his adaptation, faithful and wonderful, time of secrets *, by Pagnol.

A pagnolesque bonhomie

As he takes us into the room of Sasha, his teenager, to show us that the books of the Provençal author that he bought for him have not yet been horned, he remembers those that his parents had given him at the same age. “It was in the burgundy leather collection of Éditions Pastorelly that I discovered Pagnol. I felt like a child was talking to me and I fell madly in love with his world. And since Uncle Jules was a cult character in my eyes, I could only be moved to embody him. Unlike the other members of the family, he is not from Marseilles, but from the Catalan country where my wife comes from and where we have a house. So I had no trouble picking up the Roussillon accent that I know well, as well as the bonhomie and good-natured side of the locals.”

He has only one desire today: to share. A quality that brings him closer to Jean-Paul Belmondo – idol to whom he had the pleasure of having his wine tasted – just like this unfailing wonder that his gaze betrays.

A style that suits him perfectly and that he also declines in Ten wine(s)a fourth dazzling and fleshy show that will intoxicate the spectators of the Théâtre de l’Œuvre until May 7, before going on tour, from October to May 2023. In the meantime, we will find the actor, on May 25, in Men on the verge of a nervous breakdownby Audrey Dana, surrounded by Thierry Lhermitte or Laurent Stocker, then on June 8, in Champagne! by Nicolas Vanier, with Elsa Zylberstein and Stéphane De Groodt. Of them “buddies movies” which correspond to the true nature of this former solitary kid who has only one desire today: to share. A quality that brings him closer to Jean-Paul Belmondo – idol to whom he had the happiness to make taste his wine -, just like this unfailing wonder that betrays his look. But eyes never get old…

The Time of Secretsby Christophe Barratier (in theaters March 23).


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