The Bat Segundo Show: Vincent Cassel & Rachel Shukert II

Vincent Cassel and Rachel Shukert both appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #351. Mr. Cassel stars in Mesrine: Killer Instinct, which opens in limited release on August 27, 2010, followed by Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 on September 3, 2010. Ms. Shukert is most recently the author of Everything is Going to Be Just Great and previously appeared on Show #217. (The true Shukert completist can also listen to Ms. Shukert on Show #173, where she appears in a group discussion on sex writing.)

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Condition of Mr. Segundo: Dodging persuasive serial killers and angry Swiss listeners.

Guests: Vincent Cassel and Rachel Shukert

Subjects Discussed: [List forthcoming]

EXCERPTS FROM SHOW:

Correspodnent: Does movement offer a more creative place to establish a character? More so than the backstory, research, or anything?

Cassel: Of course it does. I mean, look, you walk down the street. You see somebody that you’ve never met. And you see him walking. You just see his back. And you already can say a lot of things about him. Is he drunk? Is he somebody sad? Happy? What kind of energy he has. You know, all that.

Correspondent: I’m glad you mentioned that you use different movement. Because I have noticed that about your performances. I mean, Mesrine and your role in Irreversible are two completely different movements. What do you do to prevent yourself from repeating a particular gait? Or a particular walk? Or a particular way of entering a room? Or a way of inhabiting an atmosphere or what not? Do you worry about this? Repeating yourself for each character?

Cassel: No, of course. I mean, I think it’s important that you not do twice the same. But the main reason is that otherwise I get bored. So what I do is that — I’m very instinctive, I have to say. It’s not really something I think of in a very precise way. But I can feel if it’s something — actually sometimes, I start a scene and I have this feeling of deja vu. And sometimes I don’t really understand where it comes from. But that’s enough for me to just [snap] switch to something else and try something else on the moment, and then think about it. Afterwards, I understand. “Oh yeah. I did this on that scene from that movie.” But at the time, on the moment, I don’t really analyze. It’s just a question of feeling. Like most of acting is really.

Correspondent: Have you ever had a situation where an entire scene needed to be altered because you were physically adopting some cliche that you couldn’t quite identify? But it just didn’t feel right.

Cassel: Very much so. Especially in a movie like Mesrine. Because I’m so close to Jean-Fran├žois Richet, the director. We were literally: get on the set in the morning. We would try. And suddenly something is wrong. Let’s change everything. Because I think acting and moviemaking in general — maybe more for an actor than for a director — it has to be organic. Whatever that word means. You don’t have too much time to think on a movie. It’s very much about the acting and being involved physically in what you do. That’s the only way to see if it’s real or not really. So, yes, you try things. It’s about trying and finding solutions.

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Correspondent: You note of [your future husband] Ben that, as you watched him calmly rub soap into his hands by the communal sink, you realized that you had known all along that you would see him again. I’m wondering what it is about hand hygiene that serves as your personal madeleine.

Shukert: (laughs) I don’t know. I remember that moment. It was very calm. And he didn’t seem surprised to see me. And I had been thinking about him and having this sense that we would bump into each other again. I think it was seeing him doing something that was very mundane. We were at home together. Even like moments now. It felt almost as if we had skipped in time and we were standing in our own bathroom while he was brushing his teeth and I was trying to put my makeup on. Do you know what I mean? It felt very familiar in that sense. It’s sort of an instance of fact seeing somebody washing themselves in some way or grooming.

Correspondent: So really any guy could have come along, if they had done any remotely regular gesture at that point. They could have swept you off your feet!

Shukert: I don’t know. I was definitely in a different place. (laughs)

Correspondent: The title Everything is Going to Be Great comes from a sentiment expressed by Pete — a guy with a girlfriend who you got involved with and who had a problem of hitting on other women in restaurants. Including you. You became involved with him, justified your involvement by noting a Dutch study where a woman’s neural activity at the moment of climax is equal to that of someone in a vegetative state. I must go ahead and ask. Surely hindsight offers the basis of 20/20. Lust may indeed make us do stupid things. But there’s often another reason why we’re driven to the irrational. So I’m wondering why you’re content to throw away this particular introspection.

Shukert: But I feel that it’s really describing that moment more. I feel like later, in the exploration of that relationship, other reasons come to light. The fact that we were both — and I feel that this is there in the book — that sort of explains why I couldn’t slap him across the face in that moment. Do you know what I mean? But as far as getting involved with him later, we were both kind of lost. We were both adrift. I was, at the time, really lonely. And things were not working out the way that they were supposed to. I think I mentioned how he suddenly gauged escape to this adventure that he was supposed to be having. He made it feel like there was a point, that I was here to fall in love and have this incredible adventure. And it turned it into a narrative. It turned it into a story, as opposed to this aimless time-waster. And I feel that if I had been here, if I had been on my home turf, I don’t think that we would have gotten involved. I feel that being abroad, you are off your center of balance. Away from the practical things that you really think about. You’re removed from all of that. And there were so many things I didn’t have to deal with.

The Bat Segundo Show #351: Vincent Cassel & Rachel Shukert II (Download MP3)

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The Bat Segundo Show: Rachel Shukert

Rachel Shukert appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #217. Shukert is the author of Have You No Shame? Incidentally, she’ll be appearing at the July 17th installment of the In the Flesh reading series.

Condition of the Show: Contending with tenuous widows and the mysterious circumstances of Mr. Segundo’s death.

Author: Rachel Shukert

Subjects Discussed: Whether Ms. Shukert is still on the Viacom blacklist, the soul-crushing aspects of temping, working odd jobs in Amsterdam, Anne Frank as a constant in life, the holy similarities between Northw__t and G_d, plane crashes vs. car crashes, airlines and gods, the legal system and divine repercussions, lawyers in Nebraska, talk show hosts who come from Nebraska, Montgomery Clift, the relationship between Jewish identity and location, Omaha vs. New York, the notion of stretching out time, writing truthfully about scatological topics, placing a parental advisory warning, expanding the limitations of personal experience, on being perceived by others, limits on confessional writing, room for the persona to grow within annotation, elevated prose, abandoned sets of footnotes left out of the book, David Foster Wallace’s “Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko,” David Macaulay’s Motel of the Mysteries, Will Self’s The Book of Dave, Newt Gingrich, writing letters vs. email, using all caps in print vs. online, grouping people into taxonomies, Fred Savage and Jason Priestley, first crushes, being published as a paperback original, The Anorexic’s Cookbook vs. The Anarchist’s Cookbook, and performing pieces in front of a crowd.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Shukert: Jason Priestly and Fred Savage were the two guys on TV who I had big crushes on as a child. I had a picture of Fred Savage in my locker that I cut out from the newspaper. I remember that he was holding a candy box. Like a Valentine’s heart box. And I would pretend that he was holding it for me. And then when I got a little older, I thought Jason Priestly was the handsomest man I had ever seen. I mean, when I say “a little older,” I mean ten. But I had a big poster of him in my room too.

Correspondent: Who was the first crush you had?

Shukert: Gene Kelly.

Correspondent: Really? And he’s not referenced in the book.

Shukert: No. That’s private. (laughs)

Correspondent: Not anymore. It’s public now. But this is an interesting distinction. Are you slightly ashamed of these crushes?

Shukert: No, I’m not ashamed. But there’s a difference between being ashamed of something and just having something close to your heart. (laughs)

Correspondent: Wow. Well, I’m curious. How much does a crush linger over the course of one’s life like this? I mean, you can be safe with Jason Priestly and Fred Savage, but…

Shukert: I don’t have crushes on them anymore.

Correspondent: But you still have a crush on Gene Kelly.

Shukert: Yes, but he’s dead.

Correspondent: He’s dead. The dead people are the ones to really lust after the best.

Shukert: Yeah, I think that that’s true.

Correspondent: Because there’s no way that you can possibly consummate it.

Shukert: I also loved Paul Newman as a child.

Correspondent: What are you going to do when he dies?

Shukert: I’ll be sad. I’ll mourn like a widow.

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