“Thank you Jean-Pierre”: the moving letter from Valentin Morel, the former driver of Bacri

Son of François Morel, Valentin rubbed shoulders with the actor and screenwriter for two years, led him on three shoots and recounts their friendship in The Parisian.

We know François Morel, the comedian of France Inter and interpreter of Michel Vidal in Black baron. We discover the son, Valentin, author, whose imposing beard and non-existent hair are the antithesis of his father’s epithets. Together, the two Morels signed, in 2020, a Useless Love Dictionary, praise for seemingly uninteresting moments and objects. Doubtless the profession of driver – the former career of Valentin – could figure there. Except when the passenger’s name is Jean-Pierre Bacri.

In a letter addressed to Parisian , Morel fils looks back on these special moments with the actor. Two years of friendship, during which Valentin and Jean-Pierre traveled kilometers together. “Ah! Do you know Bacri? So how is he in life? Not too hard?” The kind of question the author answers soberly: “No. At all. Jean-Pierre was an upright man. Of those, when you meet them, whom you immediately want to become a tutor. “

A boss, a mentor and a friend

Bacri, a grumpy character but full of surprise, spontaneity and frankness. The day of their meeting, the apprehension of the young driver flies away: “The only thing I ask of you said the actor, it’s to roll me a little firecracker for the end of the day. And let me put on some Snoop Dogg on the way home… ” Valentin does so and the idyll is born.

A relationship of master and student, that the two friends weave on the three shoots where the son Morel is engaged. Of The very private life of Mr. Sim at Sense of celebration, Passing by Extreme cold, their journey – almost filmic – leads them to Italy, and even to Poland, where they are arrested and detained for an hour and a half at the Ukrainian border. Jean-Pierre does not like the plane, he says so and is proud of it. “The only person who could get me on the plane is Tarantino if he asks me to come and see him ”. “Is that so ?! Tarantino? “exclaims Valentin, who describes himself as “Doubtful”. “You will admit that it is a guy who has leaves. He has a taste for dialogue, he knows how to write!», Retorts Bacri, masterfully.

Lessons, Morel drew from his boss and friend. Lovers of debate, Bacri forces the duel, pushes the arguments to their climax, listens to his interlocutor. But he knows that ultimately he will have the last word: “So, come on, let’s talk about this [le complotisme, la bien-pensance, les journalistes, etc.], because, you fall badly, I have already thought about it a lot … ” The young driver is unsettled, walking on eggshells. But is never upset. “Jean-Pierre gave you straight ideas when you tended to lean”.

Jean-Pierre, the gentleman

Modest, elegant, respectful. The actor could not stand vulgarity, refused the ridiculous. In a restaurant in Bourg-en-Bresse, says Morel, while “The manager thought it was good […] to slip behind Jean-Pierre, towards the end of the meal, and put on a ridiculous green wig with curls on his head. Big anger of Jean-Pierre, who takes his coat, adjusts and leaves“. Justified outbursts, based on a generous desire for reciprocity. “Jean-Pierre often gave his definition of a gentleman:” Do not be unbecoming with the person in front of you, never make them uncomfortable.“.And vice versa.

Bacri had, finally, ordered Valentin to make “Better than that in [sa] life”. “I will no longer take you as a driver”, he had decided. The two friends nevertheless met again, at the actor’s home, in his apartment near the Luxembourg Gardens. In 2018, Morel discovered, “Flattered and moved, in a movie theater, the conversations we had had and which he had reproduced between his character and his driver in Public place, his last film with Agnès Jaoui. Tears came to my eyes. ”

SEE ALSO – Death of Jean-Pierre Bacri: return to the unforgettable films of the actor and screenwriter


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