Interview with Virginie Efira, actress in DEAD MAN TALKING

December 4, 2013 | By FRENCH CULTURE FILM
Virginie Efira, Dead Man Talking

After beginning her career as a TV host in Belgium, Virginie Efira began acting in feature films in the early-2000s, starring in the French versions of Garfield: The Movie (2004) and Robots (2005). In 2012 she was the female lead in Dead Man Talking, a darkly comic story based loosely on 1001 Nights, in which a man sentence to die must keep telling a television audience the story of his life to stay alive. The film has since been nominated for eight Magritte Awards, winning for Best Production Design. talked with Efira about her role in the film, her experience on set, and her thoughts on the film's relevance to contemporary media culture.  

Virginie Efira will be in New York at the festival, In French with English Subtitles this week end where she will present the film Dead Man Talking. For more information, click here.

What appealed to you about the story of Scheherazade, a woman who avoids execution by telling stories to her captor night after night?

I was very enthusiastic about the main idea of the script - it reminded me of the Scheherazade myth - having this man talking and talking just to stay alive. In Dead Man Talking, the main character can avoid the death penalty as long as he keeps narrating his own gloomy life on TV. It takes place during a very successful but filthy reality tv show broadcast all over the country. As he speaks, he goes along with the game and takes part in the exhibitionism desired by the audience. He finally seems to come alive just thanks to everybody watching him. The movie develops the idea that nowadays there is little room left for private life and that fame is synonymous with success... Through this very ancient story, Patrick Ridremont tells us about our own present!

How did you decide to film in the industrial areas around Luxembourg? How did these settings add to the feeling of the film?

Shooting in Luxembourg was a production choice, since financial agreements with the Grand Duchy allowed us to start the movie production right away. Hence, we found perfect sets there for a film taking place in a country with no name.

How was it to work with Patrick Ridremont, the filmmaker who also plays the film's lead, and is known as an excellent improviser?

I have known Patrick for ages, we were even married for several years, which obviously influenced the shooting. I was very happy he finally succeeded in bringing to life a project he had been developing for 15 years!  He knew exactly what he wanted, especially in the character types. He gave me the part of a real bitch, should I be concerned?

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