INT: Mabrouk El Mechri

While at the SITGES FILM FESTIVAL, I had the chance of sitting down with JCVD writer/director and all around cool cat MABROUCK EL MECHRI for a little one on one. It was a video interview and a great yap yap session. Sadly, there was so much wind that day outside, that the bulk of the interview was inaudible. So instead of a video interview, you're getting this transcript of what I was able to catch. It is to note that the fine film that is JCVD (read my review here) will be seeing a limited theatrical release in the USA come November 7th 2008. Be there or be side kicked in the nads!

Mabrouck and some a-hole!

If they would offer you Steven Seagal.

M: aha

For you to do the same type of thing for him that you did for JC with JCVD

M: yeah…

Would that stimulate you?

M: ahhh, I would pass it along to somebody else. I did my part with Jean Claude Van Damme.

What made you want to explore Van Damme the man in this fashion?

M: I was born and raised in Paris in the suburbs in the projects, when we saw him...we were just amazed by his shape and the fact that he crossed the Atlantic with 200 bucks, tops, in his pockets, just trying to make it in Hollywood. That was something that was really respected…and we could really identify with that. He was a European guy, you know talking French with little English, like me.

Mabrouck and his JCVD possee!

At the script stage, did Van Damme have any say on what JCVD would cover in terms of his personal life? Like yes, let’s do the custody but I don’t want to do the drugs...

M: No, I simply asked him, if he was comfortable doing this kind of topic. He said, “Go ahead, we will see, we will see, we will see.” And after that, I made him promise not to interfere at all in the process because… in order to be an actor, you have to let it go. The control thing that you get as a star like control of the casting, the editing, messes up something called objectivity. I told him before I get involved in the film; I’m going to need the control. There is no room for two control freaks. He gave me his word and he pretty much stood by it.

How do you feel so far about the reception the film has been getting so far?

Good, actually I was disappointed with what happened in France…People were basically not going to pay 8 Euros to see his face on the big screen.


Have you learned much as a director in terms of shooting JCVD?

You know I’m still learning about my job. My first film, I was like the control freak who saw everybody as the enemy, because I wanted to do my script. This time, it was actually the first film where I enjoyed the process. I wasn’t trying to work against everybody. I was working with them. The film is like 70% what I wrote but it’s like 30% of what happened on set. It’s something that would never have happened if I had the same attitude that I had on my first set.

I’m assuming your next film will be a totally kind of different film.

M: Yeah, totally. It will be a romantic comedy with a lot of actresses… including the most incredible French actresses that I love. It’s going to be something. It’s called the “Mid-Wife Crisis”

Freaking kool promo pic of Mabrouck and JC!

You going to work with Van Damme again or what?

M: Yeah, but he's got to direct his film…


M: Yeah. I do want to do a spaghetti western with him…he’s got perfect skills for that.

Cool man, well thanks for dropping by bro…

M: Peace

I will catch you on your next film.

M: Yeah, and I'll catch you at the party.

You got it!



Source: AITH

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