Ses interviews / Radio et télévision / Jerry Lazar 1995
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Emission de Jerry Lazar

It seems a lost opportunity that you came close but never actually collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock.

That's something I would have liked to do, because I am a great admirer of his films; I think I've seen all of them. I like the way he used actresses. We had a project. We met in Paris several times, almost at the end of his life, and then he died.

What about Hitchcock's oft-quoted dictum that actors should be treated like cattle?
Well, if he treats cattle like I treat my cats, that's all right. But I wouldn't work with somebody really mean. Life is too short.

In Francois Truffaut's "The Last Metro" you played a stage actress, but you've never actually been one. Why not?
It's not that I have no interest. It's that I'm scared. I have stage fright. It's something I haven't been able to get over.

Your parents were theatrical actors. As a child, did you see them perform?
I saw my father, not my mother. But I never said, "That is what I want to do". Even after I started acting, I was not completely involved. I was not really sure that I would stay being an actress, that that was going to be my life, until I had done at least three films.

Your son and daughter have pursued acting careers. You seem ambivalent about that.
Because it's a very difficult profession, even more today than yesterday. It's not that I'm pessimistic, but if they asked me, I would tell them that it's not such a good idea maybe. They're quite good, but to work in that profession it's not enough to be good.

What do you need besides talent?
There's the relationship with the camera. You can be a good actor and not really appear your best on screen. It's like a chemistry; it's unfair in a way. And there's also the relationship with the people, and the opportunities you get. Some people know how to grab things and do things.

Do you think you'll ever marry again?
Why not? I don't really think about it. But I have nothing against marriage. I don't think it's necessary, but who knows? Maybe someday I'll feel different.

We imagine that someone like you would be showered with proposals.
No, no, it's not like that. People I know aren't that open. Even if some people dream about actresses, I don't think they'd like to be married to them in reality.

What would be the disadvantage of being married to you?
I'm not there all the time, like other women who work. But also I know a lot of people don't like the attention actresses are given in normal life. It's sometimes boring for other people.

So the man in your life would have to take a back seat to your profession?
But the men who interest me don't like to take a back seat, you know?

You are the personification of cool elegance. What does it take to get you annoyed?
I'm very nervous, and I like things to go fast. I don't like to wait for anything. Days are very short, so I lose my temper if things take my time, things I don't want to be involved with anymore. So I speak very loud. That's what I'm told: very loud. But then it goes away very quickly.

We're told you have a passion for shoes. How does your passion differ from most women's?
Even when I was very young, as a child I would draw designs of shoes and women's legs. So I have a lot of shoes. It's like my films, I can't put a number on it. I would say maybe a hundred. Sometimes there is a pair I wear only twice a year.

How did you learn to speak English so well?
I learned at school, but I learned more when I went to England to work with [Roman] Polanski on "Repulsion", my first English film. I was 20. I had to speak English, because it was taking place in London. After that, I went to America and married an Englishman who didn't speak French, so that also helped!

American women would love to know your fitness and beauty secrets.
I rest, I sleep, I do exercise very little. I don't run, that's for sure. I go out into the country regularly because I like it. When I'm not working, I try to do things I like with people I like. It's important to be in a nice environment in your own life. I pretend that I only drink water, but that's not true. The most important thing I did for my health -- and, in a way, for my beauty, because it's bad for the skin -- I quit smoking ten years ago. I got hypnotized in America. I was not feeling that bad, but I was scared. I was smoking three packs a day.

You once said that you were sorry you didn't take more chances. What do you regret not having done?
I would have liked to have been more assured about myself when I was younger, because today I am surprised by the incredible strength and character of actresses at such a young age. For so little experience, they are so definite about what they want to do.

Have you ever been tempted to relocate to Hollywood?
No, because I'm very French. Paris is where I live. I was always happy when I came here [to the U.S.] to work, but I was always happy to go back to France.

What do you like best about visiting America?
The excitement about things you do, and the way you do it. You go here and there, you have the impression that you are living faster. I like the freedom; I like the fact that people can walk the way they want, dress the way they want.

And what bugs you most about America?
The fact that after two weeks I'm tired and I don't know if I could hold on to that rhythm for a long time. And I like privacy, and I don't know how private you can be here.

Par : Jerry Lazar

Films associés : Le dernier métro, Répulsion


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