Interview with Actor Pascal Elbé

December 4, 2013 | By FRENCH CULTURE FILM

Pascal Elbé has been acting for over fifteen years, starring in films like Gamblers (2005) and A Simple Heart (2008). In 2010, he made his directorial debut with Turk's Head, based on a 2006 incident in which several teenagers set a bus on fire, and seriously injured one of the passengers. He plays the lead role in the upcoming movie Trapped (Piégé), his character is a soldier trapped in the desert after stepping on a mine. Frenchculture.org sat down with Elbé to discuss the film and the ways in which he prepared for his role.  

Pascal Elbé will be in New York at the festival In French with English Subtitles where he will presents the film Trapped. For more information, click here.


What did you think when you first heard about the concept behind this script: one man and one mine, in a desert?

I thought it was a daring script. Trapped takes its inspiration from war movies. It was very challenging for me since I had very little experience acting in these kinds of movies. But the biggest challenge of all was to captivate the audience for an hour and 18 minutes just by standing on a landmine!

What influenced you while preparing for the role?  The film reminds me of Buried, the story of one man from the army who has to survive alone for eighty tense, dirty minutes.

You just get into that headspace by asking yourself: What if today were the last day of my life? It reminds me of Claude Sautet's movie,The Things of Life, where the main character Michel Piccoli has his entire life flash before his eyes. Do we have regrets? Do we feel we have accomplished something? We go through life as if we have our whole life ahead of us and suddenly we taken by surprise by disease or the death of a loved one, and it's chaos. The lesson is: seize the day.

It’s your first action film. Did you do any military training before going on set?

You have to immerse yourself in the character. For several days I trained, hiking with the Moroccan army carrying a 22lb backpack. Patrick Gimenez (associate producer) who is a former army officer, helped me a lot to react as a real soldier would during the shooting. I trained to use a FAMAS, the French army assault rifle. Even knowing I was using blanks it gives you a pretty good idea of what it would be like in the field in Afghanistan. I also asked to stay in a different hotel than the cast and crew, so I could get a better sense of isolation.

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