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During the filming of North (1994) Bruce Willis offered him his first guitar, a Fender Stratocaster.
Do you have a gift for math now?
Oh no, at school I was more focused on literature. English and history were my favorite classes. Iíve always been fascinated by the American Civil War, America of the 19th century or the political diversity of the 20th. Itís an extremely rich period. That may seem odd, but I can be nostalgic of periods I didnít experience personally. I listen music from all periods, and Iím fascinated by photography too. I love to search and understand how people in the 1920-1930s were living, through design or fashions. I think Iíve always been more versed in arts than in sciences.
Do you think that math offer answers to all the questions?
Not necessarily. Of course, math is everywhere... arts, music. There is something true in this, but science is not everything. I donít believe, as Martin does in the film, in this idealistic vision where you could approach the meaning of life thanks to math. There are so many unsolved mysteries.
You say that what you like about Michel Gondry Ė with whom you have already worked Ė is that he can create an unforeseeable work environment. With Oxford Murders, we are miles away from this kind of freedom. Did you get something out of it?
Thatís true, itís really different. Even if he has an idea of what he wants to film, Michel likes to create from day to day and to enjoy unforeseeable events. In a movie as OM, there is no place for this kind of freedom, because you try to tell a structured story and if you put one foot in the wrong direction, all the concept of the thriller collapses.
Do you feel more at ease with more marked out filming?
I feel at ease when the movie is innovative. But some mistakes can be a good thing. With Michel, when we were filming Eternal Sunshine, they had sense. I have to admit that maybe I feel slightly more at ease with a more marked out filming, but only because Iím not very confident with improvisation. I donít think Iím good at improvising.
What relationship have you created here with Alex de la Igleasia?
Alex is someone extremely enthusiastic. And noisy too. Usually, when an actor blunders, he apologizes, the crew laugh their ass off and you remake the take. There on OM, if we blundered, Alex would burst out laughing behind his monitor, without taking notice that the camera was still on. That was really great. You feel immediately relaxed with him, because heís himself relaxed.
You are a music nut. What kind of music do you like?
Almost everything my ears can ear. My tastes are rather large even if I have very clear-cut opinions on that matter. I canít help it, Iím passionate. I like bluegrass, old tunes of Delta blues, jazz, heavy metal, punk, post-punkÖ I feel like Iím constantly listening to different sounds. And then I can get stuck for a long time on an album. For now, itís the latest Radiohead, In Rainbows. Iíve also accumulated some musical instruments that I still donít know how to play: a few guitars, a Fender Rhodes keyboard, a Minimoog synthÖ I love their tones and in particular, tones of old instruments and vintage keyboards.
**Thanks to Moonagh for the translation.