Mumbai, Feb 29 - Jean Dujardin is beaming with joy after winning his first ever Oscar for his performance in black and white silent French movie "The Artist" and says he has work opportunities at home, but this is the start of an American movie career for him.
"I began contemplating a career in acting while serving my mandatory military service. Thereafter, I went on to work in 'OSS 117'. At present I have a lot of opportunity in France, but may be this is the start of an American movie career for me," said Dujardin.
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the film swept the prestigious Academy awards with five honours, including best director and best picture.
Here are excerpts from Dujardin's interview:
Q: Does the Oscar matter to you as an actor of such immeasurable talent?
A: I've never concerned myself with the labels people want to put on you. What matters to me is my own estimation, and I'm very tough on myself. I need to be proud of what I've done and I work hard for it.
Q: Did you at all envisage such a massive global popularity for the film?
A: The movie is universal. I knew it would work but I am surprised by the response.
Q: How do you plan to take this sudden surge of superstardom to the next level?
A: To work on another silent movie with Jim Carrey!
Q: What is your next project?
A: Hereafter, I will shoot for "Mobius", a romantic thriller set in the finance world, playing a spy opposite Cecile de France.
Q: How difficult was it to act without dialogues?
A: It's not really different than a sound film. For you, it's silent movie. For us, it's talking movie because we had lines on set. There's a lot of noise on the set and music. We spoke in English, French and in gibberish.
Q: Jean, where do you come from (and I don't mean that in any literal geographical sense) and where are you heading to?
A: I began contemplating a career in acting while serving my mandatory military service. Thereafter, I went on to work in "OSS 117". At present I have a lot of opportunity in France but may be this is the start of an American movie career for me.
Q: How did you bag the role of the pompous but affable silent star?
A: I think the first time Michel told me about the movie was between two takes during the filming of "OSS 117", but I didn't believe him. He gave me the script and I read it in one go and the first thought was that it was gutsy to have pursued his fantasy all the way. But then I was touched by the promise of the project and was really excited to work with Michel again.
Q: What preparations did you make before embarking on the journey charting the decline and redemption of your character George Valentin?
A: I watched a lot of Douglas Fairbanks movies. He always played the same role with a mustache. Zorro had a mustache, the Musketeer had a mustache, Tarzan had a mustache. I watched Gene Kelly for his smile, for his energy, Vittorio Gassman for his movement, Clark Gable for his mustache (laughs) and I watched Lassie who was happy as a dog.
Q: Your association with Hazanavicius goes back a long way. Did that prolonged camaraderie help you get the character so right?
A: ...I think I am some kind of projection of his fantasy of himself as an actor! He knows how to draw you very well, he lights you. This is the third film we've made together. We saw a lot of each other in the meantime, we're friends, but we always feel the need to win each other over.
Q: Are you aware of Indian cinema and actors? Have you watched any Indian films?
Q: Any plans of visiting India?
A: Hopefully some day.