Translated by Philippe Kubler -

What did you think of each other before you met ?

OM: (laughing) Well I thought she was that kind of boring intellectual girl reading lot's of books etc… Then I saw her one day on the cover of " Moto Passion " and said : Gosh, this girl is cool ! No no no , let's start it again (looking at Juliette) … you begin !

JB: I had been told there was a new rising actor who was really good in IP5 but each year you think you have discovered the girl or the boy who will be tomorrow's star and finally……I was not very interested in you ! I had not even seen IP5. Then when Jean Paul Rappeneau talked about you, without even having seen you, I said " it's very good ". A few days after, Jean Paul sent me 2 photos of you. I called him and said : "Yes, he's the one". That was that easy !

OM: Nobody knows it but I was taken for Le Hussard through a photo. What did I think of Juliette ? I thought she was a great actress whose films I had never seen.

JB: Big liar !

OM: I had seen " Bleu " and " L'insoutenable légereté de l'être "

JB: And " Mauvais sang " !

OM: Yes, and " Mauvais sang " !

JB: And " Les amants du Pont Neuf " !

OM: " Les amants " , yes but I above all remembered a fantastic girl in " L'insoutenable légerté ". I saw " Bleu " only after meeting you because I would never have seen a film by Kieslowski. But it was really good. I shouldn't have prejudged! In fact, we didn't think much of each other.

JB: It's better this way, even with a director. It's never good to know too many things, you must have a fresh view.

OM: I met Rappeneau as I was playing " Le désir sous les ormes " at the theater. He came, we had a drink. I had seen " Cyrano " that had impressed me. There was much energy in it. I thought it was brilliant to make a whole film with verses. It was somehow much more modern than some other modern films.

JB: I, strangely, watch the films after I met the directors. I had seen " Tout feu, tout flamme " I saw " La vie de Château " only after , as he was making " Cyrano ". He prposed me to play Roxane at that time but I was shooting " Les Amants " so I refused. To be honest, the first time I watched Cyrano , I didn't like it. Then I saw it again during the shooting of "Le Hussard " in order to understand Jean Paul better and this time I saw a style, an energy, a writing that belong to him.

How did it happen the first time you all three met ?

OM: The three of us had dinner in a restaurant. Jean Paul was very happy. I was personally shy, Let's say I was just watching.

JB: You were watching if I was drinking wine or not (laughs). I drank the first glass but not the second one. You thought "that's a sign, a sign of what, oh yes a sign of someone being able to stop before being drunk ! " (laughs)

OM: Jean Paul said we looked like each other, I didn't understand why and that irritated me.

JB: I found you very shy.

OM: But I was not shy !

JB: Extremely shy !

OM: I was reticent !

JB: You had your hands between your thighs, not saying anything, I thought " Waow , that boxer is strong ! (laughs)

OM: I am the greatest boxer ! (laughs) This interview is going to be really alive ! ! ! I had just done " IP5 " and " 1,2,3 Soleil " suddenly I had to be a horseman in the 19th century. I had the complex of the guy who doesn't know how he'll manage that ! It was really brand new for me.

JB: Anyway , these first meetings are always weird, there's something like embarrassment, we don't know each other but we know we are going to play together. We look at each other, we observe then it changes.

OM: Yes cos after that, we work and work and work ! (laughs). We spent 3 months with a coach for "Le Hussard" , Armelle Sbraire, she helped both of us for the preparation of the film.

What is the role of a coach ?

JB: It's someone who, after having talked with the director, helps you going in a direction. Not all movies need a coach but I asked for it for Le Hussard, to work on it physically. First I had a baby and had not worked for 1 year and a half and I had to learn to ride a horse. It was a real pleasure to work with Armelle.

OM: When I was told I was going to work with a coach, as it was the first time for me , I thought " Oh La la ! " At the beginning I was suspicious but quickly adhered because I could feel a strong simpleness and humanity in her.

What was your work with her ?

JB: She taught me African dance and Tai Chi during 2 months

OM: I did Tai Chi twice but no African dance at all, didn't feel like it

What are you talking about ? What is the relation between African dance and Le Hussard ?

OM: Oh, haven't you seen Juliette making African dance on the horse ? (laughs) In fact, I never understood the relation myself.

JB: Why African dance ? Good question ! Because Armelle likes it and I had always dreamt of learning it. The idea was just to find some freedom in the rhythm, in the movement.

OM: My work with Armelle was different. It was above all based on the reading of Giono's book. We would go in a public square near my house in the 14th borough of Paris, I would read the passages that I liked and talked of them together. Say things makes you realize what you feel.

JB: We shared the same coach Olivier and I but didn't work together. I can remember I asked her many things about you. " How is he ? What do you do together ? "

Why did you choose to work separately rather than together ?

JB: We had the idea of creating each other a kind of intimate world and only gather them during the shooting. A bit like in the film.It's a bit unconscious but it enables you to reach bit by bit the situation in which the character you are going to play will be.

OM: I don't agree totally with this idea. I don't think we unconsciously reach what we are going to play.

JB: There are obviously unconscious things, for me anyway.

OM: When I play, I never forget that I'm playing. I don't think truth and fiction mix up. Life and game have nothing in common. When I play, I'm having fun but I lie. What I show is not necessarily what I feel. I can say " I love you " without loving the person I 'm saying it. I can show sadness whereas I'm nearly dying with laughter inside. There is a danger by mixing both, I never try to be, unconsciously or not, in the character's skin. I prefer to work on the appearance because inside it's often the real me. If we didn't see each other much with Juliette it's just because we didn't need to see each other. We didn't have the same schedules, we just met sometimes and said " hello, how are you ? " " Fine, thanks " and that's all.

My curiosity toward Juliette was for the human being and not in relation to the film. I never thought "oops, we are going to play a love story so I must find her beautiful and start to love her ", no no I really didn't care !

If I had to fall in love with all the actresses I play with and live the situations I have to play, I would be lost ! I need to be solid and know who I really am to have fun in making something else. I noticed, while talking with other actors, that they often let ambiguity float. I don't like ambiguity, it's dangerous. I need distance. I also think that the result would prevent the audience from identifying to the characters. If you feel the things too strongly, you simply close the doors.

JB I quite agree but I think that during the preparation, there is an unconscious work that's done, I'm sure of that. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to mix your private life with your work, but you can't help making comparisons to understand what you are going to play and how you're gonna play it. You must make a transposition from you to the character therefore use yourself for the character. This also doesn't mean you are going to fall in love with the person you must love in the film. An actor has limits, fortunately. He has that sort of instinct telling him what's fictitious and what's real. Without these barriers, he'd go crazy !

OM That sounds very difficult but it's simple actually !

JB I lived what you are talking about in " Les amants ", in the first period of the movie, the character was supposed to suffer and I made a total mixture between what I was and what I was to be, but what did I get more ? nothing but pain. This experience taught me how to separate real life from cinema. Though, things are unconsciously and strongly connected , it's not a random choice if I played this role and you played yours. We don't play roles by chance. That will probably sound strange but I always feel I will be chosen for this role or another.

OM I am more pragmatical and never wonder what is the part of chance , I don't see that far. The only thing that counts is if the role is interesting , if I'm gonna have fun and have pleasure to play it. The rest….

JB Of course you must enjoy playing a role ! ! !

OM Yes but compared to you, I don't need to understand things that deep . I haven't got that curiosity, it's not in my personality. In fact I think we agree on the main point but we have two different approaches.

JB I remember one of our first conversations on the shooting, it was about the characters, your understanding was much quicker than mine on many aspects, which means you necessarily tried to understand things, even if you forget them because when you play you forget to forget to be in the present. And if possible with pleasure because pleasure adds something to the film, to the play, it opens the characters and therefore the look of those who watch the film.

OM I'm always a bit scared to fall into this trap in which the actor pushes too hard his thoughts. I know the understanding of things is here but in a primary, instinctive way. Simpleness and obviousness, that's what I say.

JB It sometimes takes time to be simple.

OM Let's say there are two methods, one in which you want to know everything, the other one you don't want to know anything but the result is the same. It's better for me not to know anything and not to think too much.

JB You just pretend not to know anything !

OM Damn, we are alive and kicking today ! I don't know what's happening !

What was the first scene you shot together ?

OM The one in which Angelo meets Pauline on the border of the river.

JB I was very afraid cause I had not shot for a long time and it's always weird to play with someone you don't know even if it suits to the situation of the movie.

OM I had been shooting for two months, it was easier for me !

Did you feel a difference because you didn't have the same experience, Juliette had done many more films ?

OM In the play, I don't know but certainly our attitudes on the set.

What do you mean ?

OM Knowing your place compared to the others. Learning how to respect and being respected.

JB Knowing how to give one's energy at the right moment.

OM Yes that's right, as in sport. You must learn how to make an effort at the right time and for that Juliette is better than I am.

JB Anyway I am always like a good soldier on a set , I hate to be late for instance. It's funny because in the film, Pauline is like Angelo's big sister, I felt a bit this way with Olivier too. That's what I said before, there are obviously comparisons between fiction and real life ! ! ! ( laughs)

When we discovered Pauline and Angelo , we felt they had too parallel destinies, irresitibly attracted to each other

JB I realized the strength of their story only by playing it. Day by day while shooting the scenes. Angelo and Pauline are a myth like Tristan and Yseult, Romeo and Juliet.

Was there a scene that you feared or one that you expected more ?

OM The one in which Angelo and Pauline are in the house cause in fact they are people who hide their emotions all the time and for 30 seconds they start to say things to each other. They suddenly give way to their emotions, especially Angelo who is a real autistic concerning his feelings. For me, this moment of surrender makes the whole sense of the story. The scene we couldn't fail. Of course when you shoot for 6 months, you've got ups and downs but for this scene, we had to be there ! ! !

JB It's also my favorite scene. By shooting it, I felt we had really done something strong together. There is that silence and that coalescing at the same time. They were about to be together, they start touching each other but it only lasts a second then it 's something else.

Did you talk a lot of your work during the shooting ?

JB You necessarily talk of what you feel after a shooting day, but they were just normal work conversations. We generally got on well except when my horse overtook his ! (laughs)

OM Juliette couldn't stop her horse !

JB He was so much stronger than yours that I couldn't control him ! This horse was a real beast ! I think Olivier was jealous !

OM Lets' not waist our time on details please !

There is a real physical work on that film

OM Yeah , I love that ! The more I can express a feeling through a physical act, the happier I am.
I love to say things but especially through action or movement.

JB Talking should always come from the body.

Yes that's right, Rappeneau gives much importance to rhythm and movement, his films are never static

OM The famous "Rappenesque " rhythm !

JB That's true, he always pushes people to movement, it never goes fast enough for him.

Did you live moments of doubt during the film ?

JB Doubt for me is nearly an art of living, I need to doubt, that's how I step forward

OM We all have fears and doubts but I generally try to be a bit silly and not think about it. Because doubt is not very constructive while you are in action, it can be before or after but not during. I always compare that to sport. If you doubt during the competition, you lose ! There is no other alternative. A boxer on the ring, a soccer player during a penalty, or an athlete must eliminate doubts. If you start thinking too much, you're lost.

JB But doubts are not necessarily negative , it's a state of mind you don't understand how you can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. Receptive. If you do believe in what you are doing, of course.

OM I personally hate to be doubtful, as I hate to be unhappy, I do my best not to be in these states of mind.

JB But it enables you to rediscover things bit by bit, it prevents you from withdrawing into yourself and knowing everything in advance !

OM It doesn't work on me, I compare doubt to fear .

JB Doubts do not kill self-confidence.

In the movie, Angelo and Pauline seem to ignore doubt and fear

JB No that's not true, they are frightened on the contrary !

OM They just fight against their fears.

JB I'd even say they run away from them

As an actor, do you feel close to their attitudes ?

JB When I started my career, I was 18/19 , I was full of convictions but now as I step into life bit by bit, I realize things are more fragile than I thought. The fact that some friends leave or die, to have a baby makes you understand that nothing in life stands still. I am still convinced that I am done for this job but I know life can change everything. Which doesn't mean I fear the future !

OM I personally think you must believe in something. You must have a point of view on everything even if you have to change it often. That's my terrorist aspect in action ! I need to have prejudices to make my choices, I mustn't let myself invaded by ultra conservatism. Better be wrong in one's decision and then step backwards rather than not choosing at all.

Do you often talk of your personal choices in your career together ? Have you got very different point of views ?

JB What you choose, is on my mind, always good for you because it suits to your character, to your desire, to what you need to be happy. When I choose a role, it's because I am convinced I believe in the story but I also feel the roles choose me rather than the contrary. At the moment, I am pretty spoilt, I just need to open my window.

How do you explain that ?

JB I don't know, there are times when I'm lucky, I have many propositions which gives me freedom. It has not been like that all the time, it took me three years for " Les amants " and I didn't work for one year and a half after " Bleu ". Compared to some others, I didn't make many films . I work more now because saying no would be saying no to everything I wanted to do.

OM As far as I am concerned, taking a role is not that obvious, it means I mustn't do them. Let's rather talk of " non-choice ". I have read a few scenarios but none of them attracted me except Bertrand Blier's film in which I played 10 days. And I am independent at the moment, I don't have material needs, I live in a complete freedom, I take advantage of it.

There is an extraordinary cue in the film, when Angelo's mother says : " Be a fool my son, one is never fool enough ". Have you ever heard this in real life, someone trying to give you impulses ?

JB When I decided to be an actress, I took risks, I didn't know what would happen, what my family would think etc… But I have always been lucky in these difficult moments because there have always been people around me supporting me. When you dive this way, it's like a kind of liberating. Fear appears before you dive, not when you're in the water.

OM I personally was pushed by life, I never really wanted to dive. But one day I was in water, I learned how to swim and, oh well, realized I was not a bad swimmer. I do not regret anything but didn't choose this either. For me, life is a matter of sorting out. At that time anyway I didn't have existential questions, I fell and did not dive, life itself made me take risks.

So you never really decided to be an actor ?

OM Oh yes , I took lessons in theater. But at that time, it was not a definitive choice, I rather felt the emergency of doing something different from what life proposed me. If I could have expressed this through sport or business I would have done it but being an actor. It was an instinctive and intuitive choice.

JB There is a time when you have to leave and let things behind you. Step forward. I was 18 when I did it.

OM I was 22 or 23.As Angelo says " I just can't get enough " I couldn't either and I felt I had to dive. That was not as easy and beautiful as " Be a fool my son ".

JB But one shouldn't forget it " Be a fool " is taking risks in one's life and waking up.

As you worked together, did you find common passions ?

OM Juliette loves cars and motorbikes as I do. No I'm joking !

JB No, but I saw my first soccer matches at the stadium Le Velodrome during the shooting.

What brings you together ?

JB Our mutual fights (laughs)

OM ( Nearly at the same time) Our bad tempers (laughs)

JB We have different but similar characters, strange but true !

OM I like to ride motorbikes and you like to do the housework (before the interview Juliette cleaned the table, screaming because there was a mess on it). She loves to put her things away but not mine !

JB He hasn't got any !

OM Big difference between you and I. You keep everything.

JB I keep what interests me.

OM Therefore, many things interest you. I don't keep anything.

JB Because hardly anything interests you (laughs).

OM I am interesting so I don't need much (laughs) this gonna be a good interview. You see, we are funny each time we stop talking of our work.

Hum, the question was " what brings you together "

JB We watch many videos together..

OM We actually watch Audiard's films ( Un singe en hiver, Les tontons flingueurs) because Juliette didn't know him. We are also going to watch La Bête Humaine and many French films of the 40's 50's before " La nouvelle Vague " (The new wave in the 60's)

JB Jean Pierre Melville

OM We also watched many old films with Paul Newman, Steve Mac queen. We organize cultural evenings. (laughs) . I show Juliette films that have really counted for me, Luke la main froide for instance. Besides, she shows me silent Russian films that last 4 hours (laughs)..Juliette couldn't stop her horse !

JB Dreyer, Griffith

OM Films you cannot see anywhere but in a lost cinema at 2 am.

JB Capra, Leo Mccarey, Lubitsch.

OM She shows me love films and I show her fight films (laughs) but finally we realized that though we have different cultures, we've got the same tastes.

JB Seeing old films is like going back to one's roots. A bit like going to see grandpa or grandma, it makes you feel good. I have discovered an actor that I didn't know very well, Lino Ventura. He was amazing in " Le deuxième souffle ".

He was limited to a certain kind of characters.

OM All this is bullshit ! Steve McQueen, Paul Newman were too!. Even actors such as Robert de Niro, Brando, that are said to be chameleons always play the same kind of roles. The form changes whether it is a comedy or a drama but the register is still the same. A comedian, as a painter or a writer, has a style. Elia Kazan would say an actor has only one message to deliver, and he's right. When an actor pretends he can play everything, I think he's wrong or it's a very smart person but who has no soul. Ventura expresses feelings that nobody could do, cause it comes from deep inside of him, it belongs to him.

JB He had that rage that makes you feel like acting..

How is it possible you didn't know Lino Ventura ?

JB I don't know, never had the opportunity. The films in which he played didn't interest me when I was young. That's probably why I didn't see them. !

OM As a child you watch the films your parents watch. My father would rather watch Lino Ventura than Ingmar Bergman. Each home has its culture, its roots, its story, which means prime time films.

Do you think you have your own culture according to your origins ?

JB Yes, Olivier made me understand that. Before that I didn't realize I came from a determined social sphere.

But strangely one can find a kind of independance , autonomy in both of you.

JB Not accepting what revolts us, that's what we have in common

OM As far as I am concerned, I would say that this force has changed a lot during the past 3 years. Before that, I was more of an extremist. My point of view was much more inflexible and restricted than today. Once you have a little money, you can enter the system, but if you have none you must stay out. What I mean is that the world is different if you are well-born or not.

JB It depends on what you do, I don't think I was well-born. Each one decides what he's going to do with his life whatever his social sphere might be.

OM If you have no money, you cannot play the rules like the others. You can do what you want after but if you have the power to choose. I was lucky to live in Sevres til I was 7 or 8 cause it was a rich suburb where you can meet open minded people, all my friends were into music or painting. But if I had grown up in a poor district, I would never have become an actor. I would rather have gone to see boxing as my father and my cousins than in a theater to learn acting. That's where there is the biggest injustice, it's not only a matter of money but also of opportunities. When you're in a popular sphere, you tend to close yourself and do what your parents do. I know Juliette doesn't feel like this but I do, very strongly. On top of that, when your family has strong traditions, you haven't got the same point of view.

JB Real success can only be inner, it has nothing to do with social success.

OM But you know that only when you earned a little money. Not because money puts everything right but because when you haven't got any you spend your energy trying to earn some. There's always that culture of the poor wanting to become rich.

JB I think different, as a child I was not richer than you, even poorer maybe. You do things with what you've got and with your life. One must do things on one's level, that's how you can be happy, in harmony with yourself and your family.

OM Yes but you find your way only when you are aware of that. And I think you cannot be aware before you got rid of material problems.

JB Yes you are hungry until you eat. You cannot help thinking of it.

How do you apprehend this period as the film is coming out and the press is begging for you ?

OM It's funny to see posters everywhere in the streets, but posters are not the most interesting part of it. The main thing has already been said in the film. The rest…

JB One must noy disregard the pleasure it brings, the work was long, we love to see people's reactions and answer people's questions. It's a moment of sharing. In fact it's like a gift you offer, you are very proud of what's in it as the person unwraps it and at the same time, you hope he will like it.