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Point of view... Benoît Ameil, Director, Screenwriter & Producer


Nicolas Buchoux is the first actor I met, and the only one in fact. We initially met once to speak about the project and then another time for the audition. Motivated by the part, he gave the line to all the actresses come to the audition. But with Aude an alchemys directly set up. As the choice of the actors is very important and that I didn't want to make the choice in the haste, I needed a second round. So we met again, and what owed to be a forty-five-minutes audition changed into a two-hours-and-a-half repetition. I felt they were really the characters of my film, when we started to repeat a sequence for which I had no idea how o shoot it. Both of them said: “Then the camera is there. Good, then you stand there, I'm there, I take that and well… We're ready. Say ``Action' 'when you want… ”. In thirty seconds, they solved a problem of direction which I thought I would need days to find a solution.

Aude Roman

In an interview* he has given, Jean-Pierre Jeunet explains that casting accounts for 90% of directing. As “A Juicy Turkey” is my first short film and because I had never approached the actors direction, I had chosen to keep that in mind during the audition. It's the reason why I spent time choosing Aude and Nicolas definitively. I wanted to be sure of me.... and also sure of them. And on this point, I haven't been disappointed. Jeunet also explains that for him “the biggest error a young director can make, is showing an actor how it is necessary to make”. It is also something I had in mind but which was more difficult to respect… At the beginning, I always had that in my mind, but then sometimes it became stronger than me: I had necessary to cross this rubicond. Sometimes consciously by granting me a kind of "exemption”. Sometimes I realized that just by seeing the rushes of the making-of… In fact, I believe that it's necessary to try out this kind of thing by oneself. It' s as if one says to a kid “do not go on other side of the forest, there is a ravine. You could fall!”. No one could certainly be able to prevent this child from crossing the forest to see how much the ravine is deep. The autonomy which it is necessary to give to the actors, in my case, came more by necessity.

First Aude and Nicolas started by rebelling against all the acting indications the screenplay included because they constrained them. So I removed the maximum of them. And then, because I noticed it was the way how the characters shaped. During the repetitions, Aude and Nicolas asked many questions about their character, but I couldn't answer to all… And like I profited from the repetitions to find my frames and to prepare my shooting script, I were physically recessed compared to them, a little like an observer. So when one of them had a question, the other answered. It's a bit like that, I think, Aude and Nicolas gave birth to their character and built their couple. They gave to the characters their own dimension.

I've finally understood that working with an actor, it's a bit like working with a director of photography. With a director of photography, you talk about the photographic atmosphere, about the colors… But you don't tell him which projectors he must use, where he must put them and which filters he must use. With an actor, I believe it's a bit similar. In fact I think it's necessary to give the director of photography's work the same importance one gives to the actors' work, because for me the atmosphere counts as much as the characters. Conversely it's necessary to give the actors the same autonomy than has got a director of photgraphy. But for me it is always a “work in progress” field, Indeed, if I can very easily give an importance to the the image work since it's a field I know, to give autonomy to actors is something which I have discovered with the Turkey… It's something about which, I know, I must keep working.

*Leçons de cinéma by Laurent Tirard

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