Vincent Cassel in Ariel Kleiman’s new Australian movie Partisan
- NEALA JOHNSON MOVIE REPORTER
- News Limited Network
- November 13 2013 4:29PM
Surfing at every opportunity … Vincent Cassel on the set of Ariel Kleiman’s first feature film .
The last place French movie star Vincent Cassel expected to find himself this year was in a cult commune on the Victorian coast.
But the actor, known for Black Swan , Ocean’s Twelve and La Haine, followed his new “just say yes” attitude Down Under when a last minute offer came through from an Australian film production.
Partisan is a new drama from the producers behind the internationally acclaimed Snowtown. Helmed by first-time feature director Ariel Kleiman, it is currently shooting at Mt Eliza’s Morning Star Estate winery, which has been transformed into a commune with a European flavour.
Cassel plays Gregori, a charming and mysterious Pied Piper figure who leads women and children to join him in the commune, where they are shut away from the outside world. But their happy existence is fractured when one of the children (played by another French import, Jeremy Chabriel) begins to question Gregori’s teachings.
Cassel leads a cast of unknowns and children in the movie. The actor grew out his hair and a beard for the shoot.
“He’s the ultimate father, in a good way and a very bad way,” Cassel said of his character during a break in filming this week. “I’m adopting kids and the mothers that go with them – I’m that generous, can you imagine?”
Asked if he could handle so many wives in real life, Cassel laughed: “No way. It’s already much too complicated, one on one.”
Cassel’s only previous film shoot in Australia was in 2000 when he briefly joined Nicole Kidman to pull off a mail-order-bride scam in Birthday Girl. He last visited with his wife, Italian star Monica Bellucci (the pair split in August), when she was filming The Matrixsequels in Sydney.
Only previous film shoot in Australia … Vincent Cassel with Nicole Kidman in the 2001 film .
“The first time I came to Australia I was very much aware of the accent, I was like, ‘What? What? What?’ It sounded really strong to my ear,” Cassel recalled. “But since I’m here in Melbourne I don’t really hear it anymore. Maybe it sounds more British.”
The actor has been spending most of his down time surfing.
“I’m here for a pretty short amount of time, because I have to go back to Paris very fast. I haven’t done much but I definitely wanted to surf – so that’s what I’ve done every weekend, I surfed on the coast, and I’ve really enjoyed it. The ocean is beautiful and strong here.”
Producers Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw revealed that Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, French artist Sebastian Tellier and UK group Metronomy have each composed a karaoke song especially for the movie.
Partisan has also used the Fort Nepean tunnels as a location and will wrap in early December after two weeks of exterior shooting in Georgia (formerly part of the Soviet Union).
The film has been pre-sold to France, and will likely debut at film festivals around the world before opening in Australia in late 2014.
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