Marc André Grondin: “With The Successor, Xavier Legrand made a punk film”

Marc-André Grondin: “With The Successor, Xavier Legrand made a punk film”

The Quebec actor returns to his impressive composition in his first film under the direction of a French director in more than ten years.

How do we find ourselves playing the leading role in the second feature film by Xavier Legrand, this young artistic director of a French haute couture house that the death of his father, whom he has not seen for years , forced to urgently return to his native Quebec?

Xavier Legrand: For many, thanks to… Denis Ménochet! We filmed the series together Spotless in 2015 and a very strong friendship was born between us. We became like brothers! In the process, Denis turned To the hilt. I obviously rushed to discover it when it came out and I found the film as powerful, as incredible as it which scared me so much! It was during the promo that Denis spoke to Xavier about me for the first time, telling him that he thought we could get along well. At that time, he was already thinking of adapting The Ascendant by Alexandre Pastel and was looking for a place to situate the story elsewhere than in France, unlike the novel. He wanted to increase the distance so that this young artistic director could not easily return home while remaining in a French-speaking country. As Belgium and Switzerland were too close, he opted for Quebec. It turns out that I went to Paris just before the pandemic, a bit by chance. And since we have the same agent, she made us have coffee together. That’s where Xavier explained to me that he might be making a film set in Quebec about a Quebecer working in Paris who returns there following the death of his father. But he didn’t offer me anything at that time. Several years will pass without hearing from him. Until the day he contacted me… to offer me the lead role


What memory do you have of the first reading of this script?

I had never read anything like it. I experienced it as the spectators experience it. Wondering on each page how far this character’s descent into hell will take him. But once I reached the end, I think I underestimated the level of intensity. What I imagined to be the shallows would turn out to be even deeper. Because Xavier was going to take me very far each time.

How did you approach filming?

I was a little paralyzed by the idea of ​​being Xavier Legrand’s first male role, after Denis. I was afraid he would be disappointed. But we were lucky enough to shoot in chronological order. It helped me build the character, in particular thanks to the fatigue that sets in and weakens you a lot as an actor, removing your layers of protection one by one to go into the depths where Xavier wanted to take the character. For me, while being inspired by Greek tragedy, Xavier made a punk film. Without trying for a second to please the public, even by abusing them. With this “Who loves me follows me” aspect that amazes me!

How did you prepare for it?

I watched two fashion documentaries to get inspiration from a few artistic directors. But basically, everything here was very instinctive. There is a real meeting with Xavier and I bare myself a little in a mixture of abandon and confidence. In the final scene where it says that my character is crying uncontrollably, I asked Xavier what he meant by that. He explained to me that he didn’t want any restraint, that I not be aware that I was being seen, not aware of my image. I’ve never cried so much in a film… without wanting to make people cry. Because unlike To the hilt, The successor prevents us from projecting ourselves into what my character is going through because it seems so beyond any limit. There is something wild, ugly. Xavier has taken me to places I never thought I would go.

It’s been more than ten years since we last saw you in a film directed by a French director, while between 2008 and 2011, in the wake of First day of the rest of your life, you had chained them. Is it the chance of the proposals or a desire to spend more time in your native country?

A bit of both. In fact, after filming Spotless, I returned to Montreal, I had my daughter and I wanted to stay with her and my partner. It would have taken a huge crush to make me change my mind. He has not arrived. From there, I filmed a brilliant series in Quebec which lasted two years and then films. I carried out a series of projects on site and, logically, in France, due to not being present, I was a little forgotten. I didn’t suffer from it because basically for all these years, I wasn’t available. I had two other children, I started producing series, in addition to my job as an actor. But obviously I hope there will be other opportunities in the years to come.

The successor. By Xavier Legrand. With Marc-André Grondin, Yves Jacques, Anne-Elisabeth Bossé… Duration: 1h52. Released February 21, 2024

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