INTERVIEW WITH Clément de Dadelsen - Director, Writer


Clément de Dadelsen is a French director, playwright, screenwriter and actor, working between Paris, London and Lisbon. He directed and toured more than ten shows with his company, La Flibuste, and wrote and produced three screenplays and seven plays, in French and in English. Untitled (Sans Titre) is his first film as a director.

Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter?

I started studying drama at the tender age of eight, because I was too shy at the time to speak to the other children. I loved theatre and movies  because for once dreaming was not only a hobby, it was a real job, and you could learn how to dream professionally. I became serious about being an actor before realizing that what I loved the most was writing and directing others.

Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter?

I guess I value the eighties-nineties not only because it was my childhood but also because it is a very under-appreciated era for cinema. So many great movies, especially American and British : Dead Poet Society, all the Spielbergs, Gandy, Out of Africa...

Who is your biggest influence?

My two drama teachers who were old masters of French theatre. They taught me how to use storytelling to talk about universal human issues. They also taught me the ethics of this job.

What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films?

It's always the technical issues that are the worst : getting an authorization to use a place or a particular music, replacing a prop at the last minute... Anytime there is film involved, some people want to ask something from you as if you were working in Hollywood.

Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite?

Comedy is definitely the most difficult and the most interesting genre, and I believe it is what everyone needs the most, especially right now. It is way more interesting to talk about serious things using comedy rather than drama.

What’s your all-time favorite movie and why?

I guess it's Eve, directed by Mankiewicz, with Bette Davis. Best screenplay and best cast ever.

If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?

Woody Allen. He's a genius writer and probably the cleverest screenwriter in the world with Aaron Sorkin. I was lucky enough to meet him once. 

Tell us something most people don't know about you.

Most of the time, I prefer non-fiction to fiction. In another life, I could have been a journalist.

The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career.

Actors I've been working with for ten years. Of course, we're all friends now and we genuinely support each other a lot. They're here for me and I'm here for them. They are great actors and great people (it often goes together).

What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker/actor/screenwriter?

There's no time to waist with bad stories.

Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

Everyone will tell you that to keep going is harder. You've got to learn how to fight your demons : laziness, fear, lack of trust, depression, doubt, being tempted by the comfort of living a more conventional happiness...

What keeps you motivated?

The pleasure to see my stories coming to life.

How has your style evolved?

Has it ? I don't really know what style is... Most of the time, it's just a marketing tool to sell an artist's work. I guess you may build your own style by working under the shadow of the great artists you admire.

On set, the most important thing is:

The weather. You can always control the rest.

The project(s) you’re most proud of:

I co-directed a Shakespeare play in London, Twelfth Night, when my English was terrible. I didn't think I could make it but I worked a lot and thanks to a wonderful team of actors and technicians, it went very well.

The most challenging project you worked on. And why?

I translated and produced Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream in French and toured it as an outdoor show in several castles and parks all around France. It was 

a real challenge but it really was worth it. 

What are your short term and long term career goals?

I guess we all have the same goals : getting produced, release our work, pleasing people, making another film/play. Not original but bloody difficult to get.

Your next projects?

I just wrote a play about dementia inspired by the atmosphere of Alice in Wonderland. I like to think it has potential.