Jérémie Renier • Actor
For his feature film début, Ladygrey, Alain Choquart plunges his heroes into South Africa ten years after the abolition of apartheid, at the heart of a French mission set up at the foot of the Drakensberg escarpment. With the secrets and hardships of the past, this community of black and white South Africans tries to live in a forgetfulness of the violent clashes which still scar each of them. Jérémie Renier plays Mattis, a young, mentally handicapped man who brings a sense of lightness and sweetness to this dark and dramatic world.
"Alain Choquard considered me for this role. It's a project that took a long time to put together because it's a bit ambitious. It was challenging because it has a lot of different needs, was shot in South Africa, in French and English. But, for me, it was my meeting with Alain that was the most important. He's a very gentle and passionate person. The script was really well written, filled with poetry, made up of interwoven stories connected against the background of post-apartheid. Alain and I, we tried to create the character of Mattis together. He's a character has a mental health condition, an illness which has left him with the mental capacities of a 12 or 13 year old boy. He has a very unique set of emotions and relationship with others. It's not all that obvious; it's very delicate, because it's really easy to overdo it. You need to be subtle to do it just right. Something I really enjoy when making films is playing characters I've never played before. It was a really different character from the others, more spontaneous and childlike."