Kendji Girac takes his first steps as an actor in the TV movie “Champion” broadcast on September 5 on TF1. He tells us about his first experience in front of the camera, the importance of breaking the taboo of illiteracy and his future projects.
Allociné – We met you in 2014 in The Voice, since then you have released several albums and now we find you in a TV movie. Have you always wanted to be an actor?
Kendji Girac : I had never really asked myself the question before. It is true that I am lucky because I have had my audience following me for several years now. I release a lot of songs, but I had never really asked myself the question before of shooting one day in a film and becoming an actor. As I would have liked! Finally, it’s even more incredible to see how things happen naturally.
And then we offered you Champion…
When I was offered to start, I of course accepted. You might as well do it by talking about a very important subject like illiteracy. This opportunity and the theme of the TV movie really made me want to do this shoot.
Can you tell us about this TV movie in a few words?
Champion is a film that highlights a great taboo. I think it will help people who are in need. The TV movie is very positive, there is a lot of love, a lot of trust but also difficulties. The character makes every effort to overcome his illiteracy despite many obstacles. At the same time, he hides his disability from all those close to him, even his family.
I think it is important to talk about illiteracy because many people are in the same situation as Zack and it is necessary to help them. The message of this film is that we must never give up or give up, we must always fight to learn the things we don’t know.
Several months ago, you told Le Parisien about the difficulties you encountered, particularly with reading. Was your personal story a factor that made you accept this role?
Indeed, this is also partly why I accepted this role. My story makes me even more credible to carry this message. I also encountered difficulties in reading and writing. So I feel equally concerned by this theme and the people who are affected by illiteracy or who have been.
Personally, I was able to redouble my efforts and talk to my team about it to overcome it. For several years now, I have been learning in order to overcome this handicap and I have partly succeeded in doing so. So, I want to convey this message of hope to everyone.
Finally, the goal of this TV movie is to break a taboo.
In effect ! And precisely, it should not be a taboo. If you have reading or writing difficulties, you have to talk about it because it’s not that serious. People who talk about it will be loved by their loved ones no less. Illiteracy is a problem that can be overcome.
What is your message for people who suffer from illiteracy?
We must redouble our efforts and not be ashamed of not being able to read or write because we love them all the same. They must keep hope, give their all, ask for help, talk about it. They may even try to work on their phones, on their own or get help from teachers.
For example, I want to take grammar lessons soon because French grammar is very complicated. Sometimes I still make spelling mistakes and I don’t want to make any more. So, I will try to find time for myself to continue learning.
You had a physical transformation for your role and your diction is also different. How did you prepare to shoot in Champion?
I prepared for several months. I read the script a hundred times to learn it perfectly. Besides, I did a lot of sports, boxing in particular, and also coaching sessions to refine my acting skills. Besides, no matter where I went, whether it was at the hotel, before a concert or during the filming of The Voice, my teacher came to help me prepare for the filming of Champion.
As for my accent, I always had to shut down my senses when I was shooting the TV movie. And since I’m a Southerner, I never close my senses normally when I speak and always leave them up. As a result, when you shoot a film, you can’t keep them as they are. I really learned to close my senses thanks to Champion, so that’s why it feels like my accent is changing because it’s not my way of speaking.
Do you identify with the character of Zack?
A little all the same. He reminds me of a younger version of myself. Until I was 16-17, I also worked with wood, I also built tree houses for fun because I had a lot of imagination.
I find myself in him in a certain way, but we still have different life paths as well as our own difficulties. But, I think it’s thanks to all that that I managed to put myself in the shoes of this character.
What do you remember from this experience?
This experience is truly amazing! I went through all the emotions and I didn’t think a film could play so much with our feelings. Ultimately, I think that’s precisely the joy of filming in a fiction, of being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and experience their emotions.
Do you plan to focus a little more on your acting career from now on?
I’m not going to leave my music aside because it’s been part of me since I was little. But I’m obviously leaning towards cinema, since I would really like to do other films and tell other stories. Now I know how to prepare for a role, so I’m ready to get back into this adventure.
Precisely, in what other type of film or series would you like to play?
So, love stories, detective series, a film that talks about the history of France, maybe a war film, which could teach the youngest what happened at the time. We are lucky to be French, our country has so many stories to tell!
Would you be ready to start writing a screenplay?
Not immediately. But in the future maybe I could write a film, why not. Then, as I already said, being small I had a lot of imagination. You can invent someone’s story with a team, because alone I think it can be a bit complicated.
Before starting to write, I want to continue telling true stories, like a period love story for example. In any case, I want to continue telling touching stories that also have a beautiful message.
Apart from the cinema, what are your projects?
I’m finishing a big tour with more than 80 dates. Then, my fifth album is coming out soon, so I will soon be leaving to promote it. And viewers can find me in The Voice Kids broadcast on Saturday on TF1.