...What drew you to The Returned in the first place?
Well first of all they sent me the scripts of the first two episodes. It was great to read something like this because in France, as you know, we don’t do a lot of fantastic or science fiction (television)… I’m a very big fan of the fantastic and science fiction; when I was young it was my (favourite) cinema, so I was very excited. And then to play the part of Simon, it was very exciting too.
Are there any special challenges that accompany acting in a more fantastical story?
Well, yes, of course. Because there’s no examples, no references; how do you react? For example, my character’s dead, my little girl is grown up (and my) girl is married to somebody else. So, of course, when you have to act something like this you have to base yourself in (reality), but there isn’t a situation (that you’ve experienced) that you can base this on. It was quite a challenge. But Fabrice Gobert, the show runner of the TV show, was very involved in the writing of the characters… The whole team, the whole cast, was fantastic and Fabrice was so involved in the writing everyday that we were able to build confidence as actors. So it was very inspiring.
Have you had a chance to watch the whole season yet?
(After a few poor signal/ lost in translation moments…)
Ah yes, of course, of course. It was a long time ago in France but yes, I’ve watched the whole show.
Were you surprised by anything?
I don’t know about surprised. I knew the script very well… and it’s difficult for me to have an objective point of view… But of course, this is the kind of TV show that I want to see in France. Good production, good acting, good writing and… some balls also. We do a lot of TV shows here that are… with cops and stuff… I’m very glad that the success of The Returned might encourage investment in very very good TV shows that we can send around the world.
One of the biggest problems that we have in France is that we don’t sell around the world a lot. And The Returned is a very good example of putting the money and the balls into a project to prove that French TV is worth something.
What were some of the shows that influenced you growing up?
I guess the biggest one was… The X-Files. I was very young and it was one of the first TV shows I was allowed to watch… it was a (major) part of my love for cinema and genre cinema (specifically).
And, you know what? I met Vince Gilligan…
(Excited gushing from myself ensues)
… the show runner for Breaking Bad and he was also long-time writer on the X-Files. So I gave him my greatest respects, face to face. It was great.
Can we expect to see a Vince Gilligan – Pierre Perrier collaboration soon?
Oh, you know, it would be great. We talked about The Returned and I sent him the
whole TV show last week as a gift. Because, I love Breaking Bad and I loved The X-Files and he told me that he’d heard about The Returned… and yeah, we talked a little bit; we talked business… how the TV show is becoming more important than cinema right now. And… of course I would like to work on a project (with him). I think he has a few new projects coming, and I’m not saying that I will be a part of it, but maybe…
The Returned airs October 16th, 8pm on STUDIO.
Check out the second instalment of our chat with Pierre here!