Gallic actor spurns Hollywood's 'French lover' stereotype

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

French actor Romain Duris admits he is tempted by the dream of working with big-name US filmmakers, but spurns the "French lover" Gallic stereotype.

Duris, appearing with fellow countrywoman Vanessa Paradis in "L'Arnacoeur" ("Heartbreaker"), is coy about any hopes of becoming the next Gallic star to cross over into Hollywood fame.

Following in the footsteps of Gerard Depardieu or Juliette Binoche is not part of his career plan, he said -- but did not disguise his enthusiasm for working more in English.

"It's not a goal, but clearly there are incredible producers. The Coen Brothers, James Gray -- you can dream!" he told AFP in a hotel in Beverley Hills, here for his latest movie's North American release.

"I have already made a film in English," he said, referring to the 2008 movie "Afterwards" by Gilles Bourdos, also starring John Malkovich.

"I have seen what it's like to act in a different language. It involves more work, but it is quite pleasant. The rhythm is different, there are lots of new things," he added.

In "Heartbreaker" Duris -- described as a "pint-sized French heart-throb" by the New York Times -- plays a rakish charmer employed to break up relationships deemed unsuitable by worried parents by swooping on the girl and distracting her from her intended.

But despite himself he falls for the character played by Vanessa Paradis, the real life partner of Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp.

The film garnered mixed reviews on this side of the Atlantic -- the New York Times called it "an over-long melange of romance and slapstick," although the Los Angeles Times praised it as "commercial cinema at its most successful."

But the tousle-haired Duris insisted he is more interested in pushing his acting limits than selling out for big-screen glory.

"I have acted in more dramas recently, and perhaps one of the lessons I've learned from it is that researching a character is the same for a drama and a comedy: it has to come from inside.

"You musn't take the easy route," he added.

Among those easy routes -- especially given his heart-throb looks -- would be to play to the Gallic stereotypes.

But Duris says he is fed up of being offered such roles: "the little Frenchman, the French lover or the nasty one. It's always too stereotypical. I need characters which draw me in," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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