‘Call My Agent’ star Nicolas Maury hadn’t quite grasped the international success of the Paris-set show until he traveled to Los Angeles last week to present his feature directorial debut ‘Garcon Chiffon’ (‘My Best Part’) at Colcoa, the French film and series festival.
In LA, everyone came up to him to talk about Herve, his colourful and endearing character in ‘Call My Agent’. In real life, Maury is as exuberant as Herve and can be both spiritual and feisty, observant and outgoing. He has also worked as a model, reports variety.com.
He says that playing one of the rare gay protagonists on a major French TV show has allowed him to make an impact on a younger generation.
“I want to be considered as an actor, not a gay actor, but at the same time, I never hid anything, never lied, and I didn’t come out to receive laurels or an award, I did it because when I receive text messages from young people around the world, like this 14-year-old Brazilian boy who told me that seeing Herve in the show changed his perspective as a gay man, that moves me terribly,” he said.
“I’m happy that the show has participated in opening things up because the film world in France isn’t as welcoming as it seems; I’ve heard people talk about a gay mafia in the industry but that’s untrue and it’s abominable thing to say,” says Maury.
He added that being openly gay doesn’t preclude him from playing straight characters, such as Steve Jobs, in a recent play by Robert Cantarella and Alban Lefranc.
His directorial debut was also warmly received at the festival, where it had its North American premiere. The film, which opened in France during the pandemic and was part of Cannes 2020’s official selection, stars Maury as a struggling actor going through heartache who takes a trip to his hometown where his mother comforts him and brings him some perspective on life. Arnaud Valois and Laure Calamy also star.
Maury said the idea for the film came to him when he experienced a “love relationship that triggered some anxiety and this monster called jealousy”.
The movie also revolves around a mother and son relationship.
“Very often in films where there is a gay character, the mother is either hysterical or reactionary, and in ‘My Best Part’ I tried to portray a mother who would speak as a woman and say things to her son.”
The actor-turned-helmer, who graduated from the prestigious conservatory of dramatic arts and started his career in theatre, said he enjoyed working with Baye, a “tremendous actor” who was highly meticulous and committed to the movie.
Maury is now re-teaming with his ‘My Best Part’ producer, Charles Gillibert at CG Cinema on his sophomore outing, which he describes as a “time-travelling romance between a man and a woman of very different ages who re-live their past loves”.
Citing inspiring actors-directors such as Nanni Moretti and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Maury says he will star in the film, on top of writing and directing. He says this second feature won’t mirror ‘Call My Agent’ and will have an intricate plot with different layers, as well as fantasy elements.
As far as what’s next with ‘Call My Agent’, Maury says the dedicated spinoff film is currently at script stage and will have a more international scope than the series. Filming is expected to start next year but Maury says coordinating everyone’s schedule is a difficult feat.
Maury says the film’s new showrunner called him and the other leading actors of the series to discuss.
“I thought it was very elegant of him to call us individually to tell us what he thought about the storyline for each character and ask us about our opinion, desires, it was super interesting.
“Once the first scripts will be completed, we’ll do a first reading all together as we always do, it’s like being back to school,” said Maury.