After the success of We will end up together, Guillaume Canet returned to the cinema in the skin of an indebted peasant who gradually sinks into depression. The actor was involved body and soul in this role, mentally and physically.
GUILLAUME CANET DISTURBED
When Guillaume Canet discovers Edouard Bergeon’s documentary, Les Fils de la terre, he is immediately overwhelmed. He contacted the producer Christophe Rossignon and told him of his desire to make a film around the story of this farmer taken by the throat by the crisis.
Bad news for Canet, Rossignon has already launched the feature film adapted from the documentary, Au nom de la terre. Edouard Bergeon himself will take care of it. The actor absolutely wanted to get involved in this project and the filmmaker gave him carte blanche to play the leading role in the film, Pierre Jarjeau, inspired by the director’s own father, Christian Bergeon.
Guillaume Canet knows the men who work the land because he grew up close to them (his father raised horses in the Yvelines). Guillaume knows the peasants, their attitudes, the way they hold themselves, their stiffness, their hardness in the face of the rigor of the work. With all his knowledge and the additional information that I gave him about my father, Guillaume built himself a peasant character more real than life, with the approach of a man of the land, damaged by years of work.says Edouard Bergeon.
To redo a scene and get back in place, Guillaume Canet was able to reverse with a trailer full of grain as quickly as a peasant would have done. “During the harvest afternoon, he didn’t even get out of the cabin of his machine, he was so full”, remembers the director. But the actor did not just drive a tractor, he also wanted to blend into the skin of this peasant character to honor the man he is inspired by, the filmmaker’s father.
A STUNNING METAMORPHOSIS
Physically, it went through weight loss, a real mustache… and above all, real baldness! No way for the actor to wear a prosthesis! He prefers to shave his head to stay closer to reality and best celebrate the memory of Christian Bergeon. “The first time I saw him coming out of makeup, I thought I saw my father again! Really! They have a disturbing physical resemblance”says Edouard Bergeon.
Guillaume Canet also had to dry out and lose 6 kilos for the second part of the shoot, which took place in winter. For the comedian, it wasn’t just about losing weight but also losing muscle to get to the shapeless body of Pierre at the end of the film. “I wanted to look like him as much as possible, to talk like him, for example. Edouard gave me videos where we see his father speaking, I watched them a lot, I tried to catch his intonations.”
A CRY OF ALARM FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE
In the name of the land is a cry from the heart, an index pointing to the conditions of farmers who are bearing the brunt of the crisis. He also denounces a scourge, the numerous suicides of exhausted peasants. It is an environment that Guillaume Canet knows well and to which he is very attached. “I have this love of the land that farmers have; an unfailing love that explains the difficulties in which they find themselves today. The land is their whole life.
They were told that they had to be efficient, to manufacture at less cost with pesticides and they believed it in good faith. Today, many are sick from all the substances they have breathed in and are struggling to get out of the impasse. They find themselves at the same time sick, insulted and poor. They are completely helpless.”denounces the artist.
Our interview with Guillaume Canet for In the name of the earth: