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Description: Interview with Olivier Martinez about his role in Unfaithful, the romantic thriller co-starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
In "Unfaithful," Olivier Martinez plays Paul, the man who turns Connie Sumners' (Diane Lane ) head and leads her down an irresistible, dangerous path of infidelity and deceit. The character of Paul wasn't originally conceived as being French, however director Adrian Lyne felt instinctively that Olivier Martinez was perfect for the part.
"Olivier has a nice sense of humor. The fact that he's French adds another layer, too. The most ordinary, mundane things are far more interesting when you watch them from a French or Italian or Latin person: the gestures; the sense of humor, are all so different and fascinating to watch. I think it helps one understand how Connie might have leapt into this affair - he's very beguiling, doing even ordinary things," says Lyne.
I was not very comfortable. I always say I'm not very comfortable in love scenes because I'm shy, because I don't play naked. It's very rare for a French actor. I have an issue with that. But as I've said, when I punch somebody in a movie, I don't do it for real. [It's] the art of lying and we try to lie very well, in our love scenes also.
In the sex scenes specifically, no - in general, yes. She was very nice and she was very frank. All the team was very nice. We were like a theatre group, I think, with a lot of respect and a lot of working together, really. I was impressed by the director's ability to listen. It's a great example for me. I worked before with Marcello Mastroianni and these kinds of people and they worked the same. They were very humble in their work. I think great actors are very calmed down on the set. They are not like you read sometimes in magazines. I never saw that, this kind of behaviors of people who think they are better.
A few things, but basically it was like that. Me, I changed one or two things in the movie. I asked if we could change and Adrian agreed with that, but very few things.
In the dialogue, and the way to approach the scene. You have a scene in the movie where he doesn't really know her and he starts to seduce her, while she is reading the braille book. The story that was invented before was much more sensual, erotic and clear. I think it was kind of vulgar, when you don't know a woman, to come to her and start to mention sexuality when the sexuality is already there in the air. So I felt maybe if we could find a children's story or something, we'd have her laughing. I think a lot of seduction is through laughing and kindness.
It depends what you mean by tenderness but I think if she comes back, it's because she's not suffering too much (laughing).
Do you feel your onscreen relationship with Diane Lane's character is more of a passionate one, rather than a tender one?
Yeah, but you can't have sex with nothing else, it's impossible, it doesn't exist. Sex with nothing else is nothing. I think sex by itself doesn't mean anything. They have a real passionate, sexual relationship - I think - that works. We can see when they walk on the streets, when they are together, they laugh a lot, and they are really like a couple. That's the thing that was very complicated to deal with for this character.
If you really think about it, when somebody cheats on you, it's not my character [the husband] should be mad at - it should be more his wife. Because my character doesn't know him, he just knows his wife. She agreed with what she did and they did share a moment together. Why [is it] always the person who is betrayed [who] goes to the other person, who is the innocent in the relationship? Because it is the one who stirred the desire of the person that you love, and it's all about that I think, more than about just sexual, it's about desire. He is mad at the other one because he stole the desire of his wife who is his property. He becomes very insecure and very mad at that because my character doesn't do anything wrong. From the French point of view, I didn't do anything wrong (laughing). I mean she's beautiful, he likes her, and he says, "Be happy for a moment. This moment is your life." She wants to be happy so, that's it.
It's more common to think of a man cheating on his wife than a wife cheating on her husband. Do you think there is a double standard?
Yes, I have a sentence from a Spanish director that I want to repeat. It's maybe not true, but that's what he said to me. He said, "When the woman cheat on the man, all the house cheat on the man." That's something that is interesting. It's really well done in the movie, you really understand the risk she took in this relationship. My character doesn't put something on the table. It's just a relation, he's very free, he also has a girlfriend. But her, she risks all her life, all that she built before. And we see a lot of the child, the child is very present in the movie because that's the problem of the woman. The child is there and she's a mother, also. She's not any more just the young, innocent woman, and that's very heavy.