Mylène Demongeot: “After covid and cancer, I told myself that it was not my time”

The actress, who has lost none of her zest for life after overcoming serious health problems, is appearing in Retirement home alongside Gérard Depardieu and Kev Adams. She confided in Figaro.

At 86 in the flowers, after surviving two cancers and covid “carbine», Mylène Demongeot is currently on the bill of Retirement home, social comedy well in tune with the times, nursing home scandal obliges, directed by Thomas Gilou (The truth if I lie) based on an original idea by Kev Adams.

Passing through Paris, in front of chocolate profiteroles generously served by the Closerie des Lilas (Paris VIand), the actress confides, with a banter full of charm that belongs only to her. She talks about her reunion with Gérard Depardieu and her great ambition: to adapt to the cinema Farewell Kharkovthe story of his mother and his grandmother, two womenwith incredible courageborn in Ukraine…

LE FIGARO. – During the filming of Retirement home , you have discovered Kev Adams. Did he blow you away?

Mylene DEMONGEOT. – Yes, of course, and I must tell you that I knew his writing even before meeting him on the set. He is the co-author of Retirement home and from the first reading I said to myself:This guy has something in his stomach.And then afterwards, I saw that he was also the producer of the film, which proves that he doesn’t hesitate to get wet. With this social comedy, he signs a story that is both funny and touching. It passes into another category of cinema. He was already a star for the younger generations, but there, with old tonic and virulent like Depardieu, Daniel Prévost, Firmine Richard, Marthe Villalonga and all the others, he put on an exceptional tragicomedy. All my friends who saw the movie said to me: “We laughed a lot and from time to time we had a teardrop in the corner of our eye.”

On the set, you also found Gérard Depardieu…

We have known each other since Evening dress by Bertrand Blier. It was in 1985 or 86. Both of us were very moved to see each other again. You know Gérard, he is a monster of sensitivity. Together, we talked about his son Guillaume. I mentioned Marie-Jo Simenon (Georges Simenon’s daughter), my sister-in-law who committed suicide at 25. Depardieu is a fragile giant because he suffered a lot. It makes him vulnerable and at the same time very sensitive. It is no coincidence that after Jean Gabin, he will play Maigret. I’m sure he’ll give the commissioner all the nuances that Simenon knew so well how to suggest in his novels.

You have, I believe, a film project that is close to your heart…

Last year I released the comic Farewell Kharkov (ed. Dupuis), the novel of the life of my mother and my grandmother, two Ukrainian women who, throughout their lives, had to struggle. Claudia, my mom, will have been an incredible adventurer. An adventurer who will have made a free woman, me. I want this story to be told in the cinema, it deserves it. I must say, moreover, that beyond the novel of my life, the story with a capital H fascinates me more and more. I am lucky to know Yves Coppens and Claude Douce who opened a museum on prehistory at the Château de Sauveboeuf in Périgord. Go for a walk there, not far from Lascaux, it’s worth the detour.

Retirement home it’s also a kind of rebirth for you after your repeated health problems…

Yes, it’s crazy, I had everything. The covid, cancers… But I told myself that it was not my time and that mentally, with ferocity, I was going to try to get out of it. The doctor heard me scream when he told me he was extremely pessimistic. Listen, I had to wake up my lucky stars and today, I’m crossing my fingers that everything is fine.

Retirement home by Thomas Gilou, in 2022, screenplay by Kev Adams, with Gérard Depardieu, Kev Adams, Daniel Prévost, Mylène Demongeot, Marthe Villalonga, Jean-Luc Bideau, Firmine Richard…


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