Photographer Nadia Krawiecka
Interview By Kyra Greene
How has your career changed over the past 10 years?
It has been crazy. Starting from short films shot in Martinique and now being one of the main cast of an HBO show! So, yes we can say it has dramatically changed and when I look back at all the hassle and challenges I have to face to be where I am know, I am very grateful and I can’t wait to see what’s going to come next.
Being from Martinique is a very unique experience, how has it shaped you as an actor?
Martinique is a French Caribbean Island where we speak French but also creole. Fom a very early age I was used to switch from a language to another. Surrounded by English and Spanish speaking islands, Martinicans are at a crossroad of civilizations, rhythms that influences my performance as an actor. When I get into character, I always draw my inspiration from that unbelievable mix of cultures to bring a unique performance
You worked on season 5 of the BBC’s hit show Luther, how was working on the cult show?
That was a fantastic! I have been a big fan of the show from the beginning and to be part of it was a crazy experience. I had been telling myself that I had to be in it…and I finally did. To reach what that was one of my objectives in my career spurred my ambition to bring me to the experiences I am living now.
You’ve worked in independent endeavors as well as big productions, which do you prefer?
Big productions are financially comfortable and come with the visibility you need for your career. Independent projects usually give the opportunity to have an intimate context to express your craft and sometimes more artistic freedom. I love alternating with these two kinds of productions as I feel that it first grounds my career and then pushes me to be more creative, curious, open to unknow areas of the acting art. I strongly believe in Balance. Different things complement each over and create a virtuous circle on the long run.
HBO Max in the staircase is chocked full of veteran actors, how has it been to be able to work with that caliber of talent?
It was beyond expectations! There is a reason why they’re such big names in the industry: they’re simply amazing actors! They come on set so prepared and focused to get the best of each scene so that you are in perfect conditions to perform your art. The exacting but considerate work atmosphere they created throughout the show made feel I belong from the very first day. That type of experience changed me as actor but also as a man.
What can you tell me about this true crime thriller? How do you enjoy your character?
The Staircase is an upcoming American true crime drama streaming television miniseries created and written by Antonio Campos and Maggie Cohn, based on the 2004 true crime docuseries of the same name created by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. The series stars Colin Firth as Michael Peterson, a writer convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette), who was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their home. I play Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the documentarian who followed Michael Peterson throughout the entire judicial proceeding.
I enjoyed playing that part as my character had to find the perfect distance with his movies’ protagonists. As a documentarian the hardest thing is to catch true life all the time. In order to do so, you have to make people forget that your cameras are all around them so they can be truly themselves and yet, still be able to create enough report and trust to at some point ask intimate questions. It is a very thin line to find, and I enjoyed working on such a subtle material.
You’ve worked on everything from a Soap Opera(Chronicles of the Sun) to Independent Films (Gang of the Caribbean) to primetime television shows, how have you been able to maneuver through it all?
Every project corresponds to a certain period of my acting career. When I just started, I needed to gather as much experience as possible and Soap Operas came early. But I’ve never dropped my eyes of primetime television shows and features as my man objectives. I’ve learned a lot from all these diverse experiences, and they shaped and prepared me for the Staircase and the upcoming projects I will be in. I have been enjoying that journey and I now focus on ambitious prime endeavors in the US.
How has being multilingual helped you as an actor?
Oh, it has helped me so much! It has giving me the opportunity to get a wider range of auditions and play very different characters from a snobbish Parisian dandy to an African army commander. That is one of the reasons why the projects I have been in so far have been so diverse…as they are in diverse languages.
When I speak another language, I move differently, I think differently, all my referrals are altered and it is then, perfect material for characterization!
What is your dream project?
Keep working in primetime us shows and play leading complex characters.
I am attracted to projects dealing with the ambivalence of people such as The Staircase. That show was a formidable experience as an actor and my goal is to cherry pick projects of that level of ambition and inventiveness.