Jonathan, Florent’s brother and ex-detainee in reintegration, came to sow trouble in the daily newspaper of France 2. To play on several tables, the latter will he succeed in regaining the confidence of his brother? His interpreter answers us.
You are one of the new recruits of Un Si Grand Soleil on France 2. How did the casting go for the character of Jonathan, whom you play?
Benjamin Garnier: I was lucky that things went quite smoothly. I had to audition with Fabrice Deville, who plays my brother in the series, but in the end we weren’t available at the same time. And then the opportunity to pass the tests in Paris with the casting director came, and it was done very quickly.
Jonathan, who has just served a prison sentence upon his arrival in Montpellier, is an ambiguous character: always in seduction, he is also presented as a potential threat … How did you work on this character?
I was lucky to be able to speak with the writers upstream, and to have access to a lot of the episode scripts, which allowed me to see how the character was going to evolve and how he was functioning. I made a lot of suggestions to them on how I saw things, and since we were pretty much in touch right away, it was done in a healthy way.
From there, my job was to see how I wanted to work him physically, whether it was his voice, his way of speaking and looking at people, or the way he looked at people … Little attitudes like that which was my way of getting into costume. And after to let it live as and when the meetings of the different actors, and the evolution of the scenario, which reserves a lot of surprises over time.
Jonathan seeks to reintegrate into society by setting up a resource center project. Have you read up on former prisoners and professional reintegration?
In fact, I had the opportunity to meet one, with whom I started a collaboration for an adaptation of his life in film, because I am also a screenwriter. We hope that it will be done, by crossing our fingers because in this period the cinema is always a little more difficult to mount. I had a lot of conversations with him, and it was a little basis for thinking about how it could go from the inside.
How do you reconcile your two career paths as a screenwriter and an actor?
Either way, it’s really about telling stories, whether it’s on one side of the camera or the other. The big advantage when you are an actor to be able to write too, is not to be dependent on the desire of others or the circumstances of projects that are done, that are not done, of the timing … If you get up and qu ‘we have a paper and a pencil, we can exercise, which is a great freedom.
Jonathan begins a romance with Eve, who looks quite promising. At least we hope so, because Eve has suffered a lot emotionally in the past …
Yes indeed (laughs), we had the opportunity to discuss this with Emma Colberti. It is true that it was very pleasant for her to be able to work on something much more joyful. We have a lot of comedy, flirting scenes that are really very pretty and very spirited, and it was very nice to be able to play that. Afterwards, regarding the fate of this relationship, I cannot say anything on the subject …
Personally, do you think that Jonathan has a good background and finds himself the victim of a system and bad circumstances, or on the contrary that he is unable to find the right path?
There are two different points of view: the one, outside, on what we can see of Jonathan on the screen, and my work as an actor, which is to find how to interpret it. So necessarily to tell me a story and to exchange with the different protagonists of this story, whether Fabrice or the authors, to ask myself which end I’m going to take it to tell myself that I can play it. connection with him, and not a judgment.
For me, I would not say that he is someone who is only a victim of circumstances, he also made choices, but the more I discover his story the more I understand his circumstances, and the more it allows me to find a way in relation to that.
His brother, Florent, holds him responsible for the death of his parents. But perhaps he is looking at all costs for someone responsible for his misfortune when he has not succeeded in mourning …
Both have been extremely hurt, and because they are so different in their relationship to the world and the way they deal with people, they never manage to communicate. This is what comes up most with the character of Florent: as soon as I open my mouth, for him something false or an attempted manipulation will come out.
He lost all form of trust, and from there every discussion becomes pain. And it works both ways, because having a brother who never trusts me, and who will always keep me at bay, reinforces the fact that this relationship is complicated, even makes it more and more so. more.
At the same time, Jonathan has found a kind of surrogate father with Victor, who is ready to help him with his project without any judgment. Will he live up to his generosity?
With Victor, it’s really a very good relationship, precisely because Victor gives him everything Florent refuses him. The fact of giving him the possibility of a new beginning, of not reducing him to his past and to certain unfortunate acts, and of truly believing in the possibility that he can change, that things can turn out well. It is extremely promising for him. It’s really a great meeting and a great relationship.
When you arrived on the set of the daily, what surprised you or could be a little unsettled in terms of the pace of work?
To take a somewhat extreme example with the cinema where we will have the texts a long time in advance and a lot of preparation time, the operation is very different on a daily basis. I was lucky to have an arch with a lot of scenes, which represents a lot of text: it’s harder tohave the time to work and discover the scenes beforehand.
There is a real challenge to assimilate the whole dimension of history. The real difference compared to the experiences I have had before is that it further reinforces the fact of working on the set and changing the scene on the set rather than coming up with maybe more fixed ideas. because of having had the time to prepare systematically.
Afterwards, it’s a pleasant laboratory because it allows you to really be in the instinct and in the moment. It allows you to fully listen to your partners and I was very well supported for that, whether in terms of talents or in terms of listening. And it went very well thanks to that. It’s true that it’s a surprising rhythm when you’re not used to it!
Especially since your character creates ramifications and acts as an agitator between several existing characters. If we offered it to you, would you like to become a recurring character?
I can’t answer so much about where the plot is at, I only know one part of its fate, and it’s much more in the hands of the writers than mine. And then, of course, it’s a character that I had a lot of fun playing and a shoot in which I was delighted to participate.
Finally, do you have other projects to come soon, as an actor or as a screenwriter that you would like to tell us about?
At the moment, I am working on several projects for series and TV movies, and my last film to date, Holidays at all costs, will start his festival career in very good conditions, I am very impatient to see what it will give.
I also have another movie project that was shot just before, in which I play the villain – I don’t know if that’s a habit I’m going to make over time! (laughs) He will make his first selection in Los Angeles at the Chinese Theater. It’s a very nice starting point, I can’t wait to discover the film but especially to see how it will be received, because it’s a project that I had a lot of fun doing and which in my opinion has very great qualities.
I have always liked the fact of composing a role, of being able to work on the voice and the body according to the Anglo-Saxon methods. Towever I get the chance to work with a character who is far from me and who gives me the opportunity to look in different directions, I always find it extremely enjoyable and exciting.