- Roger Vadim, Into The Night, 1984. Loudmouth director John Landis had his fetishes. Certain phrases (“See you next Wedneday” – it’s from 2001) and cameo roles for director buddies. (Remember Spielberg at the very end of The Bluse Brothers?) Now he had invited M Nouvelle Vague, himself, to join the latest party. “Everything was fine,” recalled Landis in 2015. “Then two weeks before we started, he called to say he couldn’t come – he had to make a film.” Said Landis: “How do you say ‘Fuck you!’ in French?” He already had cameos for Jack Arnold, Paul Bartel, David Cronenberg, Jonathan Demme, Richard Franklin, Amy Heckerling, Jim Henson, Colin Higgins, Lawrence Kasdan, Jonathan Lynn, Paul Mazursky, Daniel Petrie, Don Siegel… and himself. But he insisted on one more – and French. But who? That’s when someone said Roger Vadim was living in Santa Monica. “He agreed and he was great, a very good actor.” Landis remembers it well. Of course, he does. After the dizzy heights of An American Werewolf In London, Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, etc., this was his first flop.
François Berléand, Romance, France, 1998. As befits her reputation for film scandales, Paris auteur Catherine Breillat asked the venerated Godard, ”believe it or not,” to play the old S&M dabbling lover of Caroline Ducey. ”He wrote me a long letter to tell me – and Truffaut had theorized about this matter – that the sexual act could not be filmed. I, for one, can’t see why you can film somebody having a cup of coffee and such a scene could bear the Godard or the Truffaut signature – yet somebody making love could only bear the porn stamp. That’s granting too much power to the porn industry and its directors, denying the fact that a film director has a point of view. As far as I am concerned, when I make love with somebody I love, I am not doing porn.” And so, Berléand, the veteran of 227 screen roles during 1977-2020, accepted the role and, apparently, the scenario, as written. Not so. Directors, said Breillat, are “always afraid that actors may refuse to do what they committed themselves to. “They are allowed, legally, to refuse to do something even if it was written loud and clear in the script… submitted to them right from the start. Berléand did that. Notwithstanding his contract, he refused to put his finger in Caroline’s sexe, and I had to call a porn actor to do that. He was mad as hell and called me a traitor. I hadn’t betrayed him. He had… His contract stipulated it was the only porn thing he had to do. Him – and nobody else but him. I called in somebody else because I don’t see why I should accept to be censored by someone who, anyway, is nothing but an actor. Why should I? You should stick to your word.” [Interview by my good friend, Frederic Albert Levy, for the 2018 Severin Films blue-ray bonus]
Birth year: Death year: Other name: Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls: 2