Jacques Charrier

  1. Alain  Delon,  Plein Soeil/Purple Noon, France  1959.  For the  actor’s sixth film, realisateur René Clément cast Delon as Charrier’s victim, Greenleaf, while Delon suggested it would surely be better if they swopped roles.   Producer Robert Hakim called him a petit con  [idiot]  but  Clement’s wife, Bella, insisted (until 4am): “René, cheri, le petit is right.” So Delon became Tom Ripley. With Charrier as Philippe Greenleaf… Not for long… 
  2. Maurice Ronet, Plein Soleil/Purple Noon, France-Italy, 1959.   Charrier, blamed his then wife for him losing the secondary role to Ronet.. She threatened suicide if he left for a three-month location in Ischia and Naples. And she did so again, when he was drafted into the Army and refused to serve in Algeria, not due to anti-colonisation views but because his wife twice tried suicide. Before taking up acting, Delon had served in Indo-China (Vietnam), therefore Charrier was vilified by politicos, media, filmgoers and “broken” by two periods in army psychiatric hospitals, before being discharged.  He later became a producer of “quality” and “committed” films (including  a documentary  on the Dreyfuss affair and Helvio Soto’s Il pleural sur Santiago. But Plein soeil remains the reason why Delon became a major star and Charrier is remembered only as the second husband of… Brigitte Bardot.
  3. Marcello Mastroianni, Il Bell’ Antonio, Italy, 1960.  The French Lover refused the impotent hero:  Not good for his image… as M’sieur Bardot.
  4. Michel Subor, Le bride sur le cou, France, 1961.  “I’m at war with Vadim who has stolen someone else’s film,” said realisateur François Truffaut after Bardot begged ex-husband (and mentor)  Roger Vadim to replace novitiate Jean Aurel and rescue the featherweight trifle, originally penned for BB and husband Charrier.  The Army got him first and the rewrite (for Jean-Luc Godard’s Petit soldat to be) was never ready for Aurel…  and totally, well, hurriedly  re-written  by Vadim, anyway.
  5. Claude Berri, Comme on fait son lit, on se couche, France, TV, 1962.  Future auteur Claude Berri’s first film script was snapped up by Jacques. Berri asked an inflated 8m Francs and to his surprise Charrier agreed. Yet it stll became a tele-movie starring… Berri, himself.  He continued to play, more or less himself, when he started writer-actor-directing:  Mazel tov ou le Le Pistionne, Cinema de Papa,  Sex-shop, Le Male du siecle…
  6. Claude Titre, Här börjar äventyret /Adventure Starts Here, Finland, l965. For his third feature, Finnish film-maker Jorn Donner signed Jacques as a French businessman having an affair with Harriet Andersson. The actor dutifully turned up in Helsinki – rowed with the abrasive Donner (Harriet’s lover) and quit.
  7. Claude Berri, Comme on fait son lit, France, TV, 1965. The young actor had turned to writing – winning an Oscar for his 1965 short, Le poulet – and the young turk of the hour (Brigitte Bardot’s husband) was keen on Claude Berri’s new script. Just the kind of tender/timid role he wanted. Er, spluttered Berri, I wrote Claude for me. I am Claude. Me, Claude – you, producer – please! Charrier’s agent explained the facts of life (to one of the future’s most successful producers). With Charrier: the public arives. With Berri: well, his family, maybe. Berri sold the scenario. Charrier lost interest (and BB). Berri bought it back and made it for TV … although I can find no trace of it other than in his Autoportrait book in 2003.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  6