Jean-Claude Brialy

  1. Jean-Paul Belmondo,  A Double tour/Web of Passion, France, l959.     Brialy “fell ill”  during shooting.  Actually, un crise de boutons. Belmondo  ran into Jean-Luc Godard  along the Champs Elysees.  “Quick,” said the director,  “get over to the Hakim brothers’ office.  [Claude} Chabrol starts  a film tomorrow at  Aix-en-Provence and Brialy is covered in spots.”  The producers OK’d Belmondo but  thought him so ugly, they gave a five film contract to another  of  the cast: André Jocelyn, aka Who? But then as the late Stanley Baker told me about these producers: “The Hakim brothers couldn’t  produce  a fart out  of a tin of beans.” 
  2. Daniel  Sorano,  Les trois mousequetaires, France, 1961.     An unknown Richelieu in the shoe-string budget affair following  the plusher version prepared by Philippe De Broca  for Jean-Paul Belmondo, Brialy,  Alain Delon, Sophia Loren
  3.  Maurice Ronet,La Scandale (The Champagne Murders), France, 1966.   Paris producer Raymond Eger suggested Brialy or Laurent Terzieff to his realisateur, Claude Chabrol. Brialy refused and Terzieff was evasive. Then, Ronet was free – and he also made Chabrol’s next, the WWII thriller, La Ligne de démarcation, 1966.
  4. Jean Poirot, Le dernier métro, 1980. François Truffaut told Brialy he was writing a role for him – a gay stage director helping to run Catherine Deneueve’s war-time theatre and troupe. It became the réalisateur’s most glittering success (ten César awards). While stuck on La banquière Brialy heard, it was taken by Poirot. “Sorry,” said Truffaut. “It was just too you!” (When Truffaut turned down Julien et Marguerite in 1979, Brialy was asked to direct. Then not, when his fourth directing gig, Un amour de pluie, flopped).
  5. André Dussolier, Trois hommes et un couffin, France, 1985,  Of the three guys in the smash-hit movie, only Michel Boujenah was chosen without question (he won the best supporting César actor; the film  was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar… while Chicago critic Roger Ebert railed against “the stupidity on the screen.”) Jean-Pierre Bacri, Christophe(r) Lambert and Lambert Wilson fled from Jacques, the baby’s father and auteur Coline Serreau booked Jean-Claude Brialy.  Producer Jean-François disagreed as Brialy was famously gay and no one would believe he’d fathered a child. Brialy quit for Charlotte Gainbsbourg’s L‘effrontée.  André Dussolier was chosen over Christopher Malavoy.  I avoided the Paris Press screening – who needed another horror movie – after mistaking couffin (cradle) for coffin.
  6. Jean Rochefort, Tandem, France, 1987. “But Jean was so magnificent, I can’t regret it.”He later said: “Out of the 185 films, I must admit that I’ve enjoyed myself 185 times.”
  7. Jean-Pierre Cassel, L ’Enfer, France, 1993.     At 60, Brialy’s dearest wish was to work again with  auteur Claude Chabrol – to whom, he owed his career, starting with the films in the first decade of  the 50s/60s nouvelle vague. “He was always convinced I was a good actor.”  And he hated the idea  of being passed over for Cassel for two films in a row.  Chabrol was simply leveling the score – five films each.
  8. Jean-Pierre Cassel, La Ceremonie,  France, 1994.    Another potential  good Brialy role went straight  to Cassel…  Anything else on offer?  “One day, perhaps… For the moment, I’ve nothing for him.  And, well, frankly I’m not too interested in someone who’s forever in the papers, and on TV and radio….”  Brialy  hated not doing something, so did everything.  His great friend, Jeanne Moreau,  advised him to stick  to his day job. “But he wouldn’t  listen to anyone.”  Difficult for his agent Dominique Besnehard to complain, having acted with Brialy in Beaumarchais, l’insolent and a tele-film, Echec et Mat. Brialy didn’t approve of that.  “When you’re a big agent, you don’t act.”  Unless someone asks and pays him to – and they did  for a hundred roles, including Louis XVI. Twice.

 Birth year: 1933Death year: 2007Other name: Casting Calls:  8