Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer et Courir Vite): An interview with Pierre Deladonchamps and Vincent Lacoste
Pierre Deladonchamps and Vincent Lacoste star in Christophe Honoré’s Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer et Courir Vite), a well-judged and affecting film about the AIDS crisis set in the early 1990s. Both actors give excellent performances, Deladonchamps as the prematurely aged tragic author and Vincent Lacoste as the too-clever-for-his-own-good ingénue.
We interviewed the pair after the film’s Cannes premiere. We talked about sex scenes, their relationships with Honoré, and their embodiment of the characters.
Hello. How was it acting in a story that was so personal for your director?
Pierre Deladonchamps: It was an honour. His name is Honoré, after all! We are Honoré!
Did you two [Deladonchamps and Lacoste] know each other before filming?
PD: We met each other a bit before, and as we started the shoot, the scene where both characters meet, we met again just before.
Vincent Lacoste: The chronology was first a sex scene in the flat, and then when Pierre touched my thigh in the cinema. That was the first scene.
PD: And then I worked on your nipples! We were happy to work with each other, there was a good connection. We had a dinner with Christophe, which was really pleasant, and after he left we decided to have a few drinks together. A few! It was really important for us to connect.
VL: Christophe didn’t want to do rehearsals, so we really met on set, similar to the characters. It was more natural and spontaneous.
PD: Sometimes as an actor you don’t have to do a lot. The audience does the work for you.
How do you prepare for a film that has a lot of nudity in it?
PD: Physically, there is nothing I can do. I’m like this, so whatever. For me, acting is not only preparing. Actors prepare too much. I tried to work on set with the director and other actors. That’s what I love – to live the moment and to try to feel what’s happening. It’s easy with a great actor like Vincent, anything comes, and it’s natural.
VL: Honoré wanted us to be really comfortable, so he spoke to us a lot about it. He wanted us to show what we wanted to show. It was joyful to shoot. Pierre was really funny because when he’s stressed he makes a lot of jokes. He was naked making jokes.
PD: Yes, because I don’t like silence when the scene is deep and hard to shoot, so I was like, “Let’s talk about sex, let’s have fun!”, to feel comfortable.
How important is it for your characters to feel pain and suffering on their own terms?
VL: When you do a sad scene, you don’t need to impersonate the feeling of sadness. It can be really joyful to play a sad scene. Pierre’s character is in a sad position…
PD: One of melancholy?
VL: No, I think there’s something more powerful.
PD: For the emotional scenes, it was hard for me to go deep inside my emotions. But Christophe was really great with us and there was no pressure. The pressure was really important for the technical team. Christophe was really focused.
How important is it that Jacques lives by his choices and decisions?
PD: It’s a story of first and last love. First love for Arthur, last love for Jacques. Somehow, Jacques takes power from Arthur’s youth and way of seeing life, his wanting to become an artist. He feels very connected to him at the same age. So for Jacques, he cannot afford this last love affair but he thinks he loves this guy.
Did Honoré prepare you for the roles through cultural artefacts of the period?
PD: We got the music just before the shooting. Vincent learned the lyrics and the rhythm of his song. We got books. Two movies: My Own Private Idaho and Happy Together. That’s all.
VL: We also had the music of the movie on an entire CD, which was great.
PD: Christophe offered us one present each, which was so clever and nice. They were fragrances that he used to wear when he was younger. So when he came to us on set he would have a memory of himself. I loved it. I put it on everyday after make-up. Christophe would smell us and know we were there. It’s so romantic. I love the idea that we are also smells.
How far were you willing to go with the sex scenes? Were they improvised?
PD/VL: No, no, no improvisation!
VL: Christophe had a precise idea of the scene. His goal was not to show too much. He wanted the scene to be romantic. It was very choreographed.
PD: I did Strangers by the Lake where there were many sex scenes but there were body doubles for that. I did full frontal but sometimes I think without showing anything you show frustration – that is essential. You have to imagine. But I knew where to place my dick on the side.
How important are the characters’ confidantes to the film?
PD: For Mathieu [Jacques’s flat mate], he is the best non-love story. There’s no attraction, but cerebral love and respect. He’s like a father for Jacques, watching the child. They are very connected. Jacques is still taking care of his son, and I’m missing a scene where he says goodbye to him. He treats his child like an adult. He respects him as a human being. Normal parents may say it’s unconsciounable, and that you don’t do that with children. I disagree.
What do you think of the depiction of AIDs in the film?
PD: AIDs was really taboo in the 1990s. Homosexuals were seen as dirty. Sex and death was dirty – that’s what people thought. It’s been a long journey to finally respect people with this disease – straight, gay, male or female. This film says it was like this and don’t forget it. It’s a tribute to all the people who died from AIDs in the 90s, all the filmmakers and artists who are no longer here to provide art to people who loved them. It’s like when you lose a friend or a parent. You read all the books and one day there won’t be anymore. It’s too soon.
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP / Getty Images
Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer et Courir Vite) does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.