Shooting Star profile: Nicolas Cazale

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Nicolas Cazale already has an impressive track record behind him, ranging from the more intimate films of director Gael Morel through a big-budget Regis Wargnier thriller to his recent Spanish debut with Julio Medem. Born in the southwestern town of Pau, Cazale has also had a number of TV roles, appeared on stage and is prepping his first short film. When not a movie set, he likes to paint.

The Hollywood Reporter:
Where were you when you heard that you'd been picked as a Shooting Star, and are you happy to be in Berlin?
Nicolas Cazale: My agent called me to tell me I'd been chosen. I didn't know what it was, so at first I just thought; "That's nice." Then I realized that it's a good event for European cinema, and a good thing to be a part of it to meet other actors from different countries.

THR: How do you think being selected as a Shooting Star will help your career?
Cazale: You can have a good career without taking part in Shooting Stars, or you can miss out on a career after taking part. Everyone's path is different. I think my career is more oriented towards Europe, because that's what I'm interested in. For me it's important to meet other actors, to see how others work.

THR: What has been your most challenging role to date?
Cazale: "Le Grand Voyage" (directed by Ismael Ferroukhi). The shoot lasted four months. It was made on a really low budget. And it was a very profound character. Every day I had to put myself in question. I studied the Koran to understand the role better. When I finished the film I felt exhausted, empty. But I love the film and the director, it was a great experience.

THR: You have often been cast as an Arab, are you worried about becoming typecast?
Cazale: I've come through that now. It took a year when I turned down the roles I was offered otherwise I'd have ended up just doing Arab roles. You get put in a pigeonhole and you're more or less the stand-by Arab. I don't want to be boxed in. I'd rather spend a year painting than spend a year just doing Arab roles over and over. Now it's turned to my advantage. I've played Italians, I've played Gypsies, I've played an Amazonian Indian and I've played a Spaniard.

THR: Would you like an English-language role?
Cazale: Yes. I've done castings for some great roles in English but unfortunately I missed out on them because my language wasn't up to it. I'm thinking of going to live in London to work on my English. I speak fluent Spanish. In Julio Medem's film, I played an Arab who speaks Spanish, and a big chunk of the shoot was in New York, and for me that was a dream to shoot there.

THR: What are your future projects?
Cazale: At the end of February I'm starting an Argentine film, which also stars Bruno Todeschini. It's a second feature by the director Diego Martinez. Part of it will shoot in Argentina and I'm in the part that will shoot in France. It's about a tango dancer who becomes a sailor.

VITAL STATS:
Born: April 24, 1977
Nationality: French
Filmography: "Under Another Sky" (2002), "L'Amour Dangereux" (2003), "The Clan" (2004), "Le Grand Voyage" (2004), "Saint-Jacques ... La Mecque" (2005), "Pars Vite et Reviens Tard" (2007), "UV" (2007), "The Grocer's Son" (2007), "Caotic Ana" (2007)
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