Fin­negan’s awak­en­ing

French cin­ema’s young lead, Fin­negan Old­field, a charis­matic, free man, puts in a stun­ning per­for­mance in Anne Fon­taine’s Marvin. BY Di­dier Péron

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - CONTENTS - PHO­TO­GRAPH Ber­trand Le Plu­ard

— Al­most overnight, he was sud­denly in ev­ery film : a sly, las­civ­i­ous young sex­ual preda­tor in Eva Hus­son’s Bang Gang, an in­tro­verted son in Les Cow­boys by Thomas Bide­gain and then a stylish, in­scrutable ter­ror­ist in Ber­trand Bonello’s Noc­turama. Six films in two years and, in Septem­ber, he is play­ing the lead in Anne Fon­taine’s new and keenly awaited film, Marvin, which is freely in­spired by Edouard Louis’s best – sell­ing au­to­bi­og­ra­phy En finir avec Ed­die Bel­legueule ( The

End of Eddy ). Fin­negan Old­field ad­mits that he went to the screen­ing or­gan­ised for the crew in a to­tal state of an­guish. He hadn’t seen any rushes and more than any of his pre­vi­ous roles, the work with the di­rec­tor con­sisted in bring­ing him out of him­self, in a role of com­po­si­tion, whereas it is usu­ally his nat­u­ral strength of char­ac­ter that makes him stand out on screen, by com­ing across as some­one who couldn’t pos­si­bly be pre­tend­ing. Marvin is a work­ing – class ho­mo­sex­ual, who flees the vi­o­lence of his fam­ily to rid him­self of his fear of fail­ure and shame by go­ing to Paris, where he finds him­self in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent world and uses the wounds of the past to win his per­sonal and artis­tic free­dom. “In this type of role, in which I change the way I speak, or walk, and I have to play op­po­site ac­tors as im­pres­sive as Is­abelle Hup­pert, for ex­am­ple, is like turn­ing som­er­saults. Ei­ther you fall on your neck, and you’re dead or you fall on your feet.” Sit­ting at a café in the scorch­ing heat of a sum­mer’s day in Paris, Fin­negan Old­field, ges­tic­u­lates en­er­get­i­cally like pitié. a young fe­line rock star, his blue eyes look into yours to make sure that you un­der­stand ev­ery­thing he doesn’t say or leaves up in the air be­tween in­ter­ject­ing “se­ri­ously” or “that’s cool”. “All the para­doxes that in­habit him make him at­trac­tive,” Anne Fon­taine ex­plains. “You could tell your­self that he’s an or­di­nary boy, but, be­cause he left school early and has carved out a path for him­self, you feel that he has al­ready been through per­sonal up­heavals, which he uses to over­come some­thing deep in­side him. You could think he’s im­ma­ture, then sud­denly his ma­tu­rity shines through, with just one look, or a good line. He’s an orig­i­nal, un­con­ven­tional, and he re­ally has grace.” His mother en­tered him for an au­di­tion for a short film when he was only 13 : “The film was called Pas de

Lit­tle girls found their Bar­bie dolls be­headed, dis­mem­bered by a se­rial killer [ … ]. As soon as I had a mi­cro­phone, and was in front of the camera, I knew that this was for me. I re­mem­ber my sur­prise when I dis­cov­ered the in­cred­i­ble amount of time you had to wait be­tween takes […]. Other film shoots were to fol­low, spread over time, but at an age where things go both too quickly and too slowly. Fin­negan champed at the bit at school, couldn’t bear the dis­ci­pline in class, or the course that was in­ex­orably be­ing set for him: a job that wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be very thrilling. So, with his par­ents’ con­sent, he dropped out af­ter year nine and de­voted his time to chas­ing af­ter au­di­tions and mak­ing his way with the pre­co­cious­ness usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with child stars in the States. “Leav­ing school so early calls ev­ery­thing into ques­tion. You have to at­tend spe­cial es­tab­lish­ments for prob­lem teenagers, rebels, be­cause if you’re un­der 16, you can’t stay on the streets, oth­er­wise you end up in a chil­dren’s home ( laughs). It puts you in the ‘fail­ure’ cat­e­gory, and weighs down on you, peo­ple be­gin to say there’s some­thing wrong with you, so you freak out, mess up your au­di­tions, get de­pressed and you’re ready to do any­thing to find a way out…”

But no doubt be­cause he has un­der­stand­ing par­ents, and no­tably a fa­ther, who is of Bri­tish ori­gin, works in a record com­pany and im­ports Ja­maican mu­sic for peo­ple who like sway­ing rhythms and get­ting stoned, “Finn ” doesn’t go off the rails and his bad – boy side, ac­cord­ing to his friends, con­ceals his shy­ness and self – doubt. It is the ar­mour that shields his gen­uinely kind na­ture. The young film di­rec­tor, Katell Quil­lévéré, picked him to play the part of Anne Dor­val’s son in Ré­parer les vi­vants, a char­ac­ter full of pent – up frus­tra­tion whose mother is wait­ing for a heart trans­plant. She has noth­ing but praise for the young ac­tor: “He’s got what it takes to be­come one of the best of his gen­er­a­tion. His physique is very ver­sa­tile : you can hide his beauty and he be­comes the boy next door who you wouldn’t re­ally no­tice, and the next minute, he is in­cred­i­bly pho­to­genic and over­whelm­ingly beau­ti­ful. He’s dif­fi­cult to sit­u­ate so­cially and when he’s act­ing, he’s ul­tra sen­si­tive.” Af­ter the Marvin shoot, to ev­ery­one’s sur­prise, he left Paris, closed his Face­book ac­count, and com­mu­ni­cated less. He went to Lon­don, and Bris­tol, worked in a pub to recharge his bat­ter­ies and per­fect his English. He had a run – in with the boss, had a con­tact for an­other “re­ally pretty” pub, which caught fire : “My English dreams went up in smoke, I came back to Paris,” he jokes, men­tion­ing sev­eral projects in­clud­ing one with the car­toon­ist Mathieu Sapin, a com­edy on the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign: “I spend my days learn­ing Em­manuel Macron’s speeches, it’s weird …” Ber­trand Bonello tells how he chose him for Noc­turama with­out even get­ting him to take a screen test, just on a feel­ing, dis­cov­er­ing him later on the set : “He’s very anx­ious be­fore ev­ery scene, with a sort of fear of not un­der­stand­ing, whereas of­ten, I have to ad­mit, there’s noth­ing to un­der­stand. But as soon as the camera starts rolling, he’s spot on.” It is clear that Finn does noth­ing lightly, or by halves. “He is re­ally en­gaged with life, he ob­serves, he see his friends, who have no con­nec­tion with the film in­dus­try, and con­tin­ues to do odd jobs here and there. He finds his in­spi­ra­tion in con­crete things,” says Karine Nuris, who has coached him since he was 17. He is al­ways look­ing for the truth. He feels that he has an in­stru­ment in his hands, he wants to im­prove it, but he can’t bear it to be a com­po­si­tion, a de­mon­stra­tion by a narcissistic ac­tor. Marvin might in­crease the level of fever­ish ad­mi­ra­tion around Fin­negan Old­field, but he seems im­per­vi­ous to the fu­tile side of be­ing an ac­tor. Nor does he seem to be keen, for the time be­ing, on em­bark­ing on the ego trip of an overex­cited young lead. He has learnt to dis­trust the great mael­strom of the film world, which launches and dis­cards ac­tors with the chang­ing moods of the time, and it’s less the act­ing that drives him than the ex­tra­or­di­nary col­lec­tive at­mos­phere on film shoots, “which I now know I could never live with­out”. The less he’s aware of him­self, the more he likes it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from France

© PressReader. All rights reserved.