While he is currently investigating drug traffickers in “Un Si Grand Soleil”, Manu will soon see his life turned upside down by the departure of his daughter. Moïse Santamaria, his interpreter, confides in his character and what awaits him in the series.
Moses Santamaria : Yes, as Moses I can understand it. In life, we don’t always manage our feelings. Personally, I have a kind of moral on it: I’ve never touched a friend’s ex, it’s something that blocks me, and the same for a friend’s sister.
But at the same time, if the two don’t love each other anymore, and if there are feelings, love, and things are going well, the other person knows that I’m not trying to steal his girlfriend. With Eve, it’s supposed to be serene, long-lasting and stabilizing for Manu, compared to his previous relationship.
Indeed, because the death of Elsa (Julie Boulanger) last year had affected him a lot…
Yes, it was heavy. He’s been through something toxic, because it was. And there, it is soothing. Eve is calm, works in connection with the culture… Both of them do very social jobs. We can have a certain vision of the police, but for me it’s a job, just like firefighters, where people have to deal with social misery every day. And school is also a place where we try to pick up the pieces of this social misery, even if they don’t always succeed.
These two people are socially minded and love helping others, eventually trying to do something for the city in some way.
Manu is having a hard time seeing his daughter grow up. How do you view this father-daughter relationship?
Manu already had to accept Camille’s boyfriend (Leonie Dahan-Lamort) because it’s her first love affair and her first time, and I think it’s always more difficult for a father to let his daughter grow up because there can be some rooster behavior. He’s had a hard time finding stability with his daughter, and by the time he’s trying to find her, eventually she’s going to leave. to Korea to follow her boyfriend.
Finally, Manu is a character in constant evolution for four years. He goes through quasi-initiatory stages: he had this relationship with Elsa, she dies, he experiences the loss of a loved one, then his daughter who takes flight. He has to accept that, we realize that for Manu, who is a bit like the alpha man in the series, it’s the women who make him grow.
We could also see that he now had a much more mature relationship with his ex-wife, Laetitia (Shirley Bousquet).
It’s peaceful, they’re friends… You have to grow up to accept that, you have to be an adult. How many people break up and go to war for years, or never reconcile? I know some around me, it’s been a war for twenty years. After my first separation, I failed to become friends with the person concerned (laughs).
Manu still has a lot of love for his ex-wife, he always had some for his daughter, for Elsa, for Eve… And in his job, he is surrounded by men and has real leadership. It has several facets: the shell he shows and the sensitivity he will rather offer to the fairer sex, and also with his friend Alex, whom he has to reframe when he goes crazy, because in the end it is still Alex who crack.
Precisely, when Alex again found himself confronted with Gaëlle (Helen Degy) during an undercover mission and he kissed her, he hid it from his friend. Do you think Manu was able to guess despite everything that he had feelings for his ex again?
He felt there was something wrong. But he can’t blame him because he did the same thing. When he hid Elsa, he didn’t tell anyone, not even his buddy. So he can’t blame Alex for what he himself did. On also realizes that Manu is going a lot less freaked out lately. He’s growing up, and that’s what’s important.
That’s what I tell my classmates: sometimes, in everyday life, you have to be careful not to forget the evolution of a character. We haven’t been playing the same all the time for four years, it’s not possible. In life, we are constantly changing. The person you were two years ago is not the same today. And that, we have to integrate it into our characters.
To do this job, you need to have knowledge of people, in any case a desire for knowledge and above all for understanding and tolerance. Telling yourself that I know the path that this person is going through because myself, there are facets of me that could have taken that path. We are made up of lots of different facets, and we capture different realities depending on our sensitivities.
That’s what I find absolutely exciting about playing a character. And for that, it is important to live passionately in out of the game, to do lots of different jobs, to meet lots of people from different backgrounds, to experience things to the full, even if it means burning yourself out sometimes, to better understand the mechanisms at work. This is why when you read a script, you may instinctively come across the right pattern.
I’m very happy that I didn’t start being an actor at fifteen, because I realize that you acquire a great depth and richness over the years in the exploitation of characters. Otherwise, it’s pretty smooth. I started doing drama lessons in Paris quite late, I was 26-27 years old, and I did theater and slam in the metro because it was a bit of a hassle.
I’m 43 today, and like a sponge I’ve absorbed a lot of life experiences, but you have to protect yourself. I’m a lot more established than I was at 30, but we have to protect ourselves.
Can you tell us more about the plot you are currently filming in Un Si Grand Soleil?
There is a character who will leave the series. Manu is investigating a warehouse burglary gone wrong. There were significant consequences inside this warehouse, with intentional or involuntary homicide, and Manu is on there to try to find who did this. While, in parallel, dFrom a private point of view, he is dealing with the departure of his daughter.
What are your next projects alongside Un Si Grand Soleil?
I played in season 2 of the series The codeproduced by Benedicte Delmas, and in a short film produced by France TV Studio. And I’m going to start filming the TV movie I was born at 17adapted from the book by Thierry Beccaro. It’s been a good year for me.