“The diver”: Henri Picard wants to chart his own course
He may be the son of two of the most famous actors in Quebec, Henri Picard has always wanted to do things his way and chart his own path. After quickly rising through the ranks in the artistic world, the 21-year-old comedian tackled the biggest challenge of his young career: the lead role in the drama The Diver , one of the most awaited Quebec films of this beginning of the year.
This first major role in the cinema, Henri Picard did not steal it. Since he was revealed on the big screen in 2017 in The Mongol Kings, directed by his father, Luc Picard, the young actor has made his merry way on film sets by chaining the film roles (To all those who don't read me, Mafia inc., Maria Chapdelaine) and on television (Jenny, The red bracelets, Cerebrum).
Some would say he is following in the footsteps of his parents, actors Isabel Richer and Luc Picard. Henri Picard prefers to say that he is charting his own course.
“Of course, if I want to ask my parents for advice, I don't hesitate to do so, confides Henri Picard in an interview with < em>Journal. Often they even do it without me having to ask them. But in general, I try to do my own thing and learn on my own. My parents don't really coach me. I do it by myself. »
His first chance
The fact remains that having spent a lot of time on film sets with his parents when he was little allowed Henri Picard to leave with a head start on the other actors of his age.
“When I arrived at my first shoot, I knew a little more what to expect, because I knew how it worked,” he observes. I think it took the stress out of me at first. »
Henri Picard says that he was “around 10 or 11 years old” when he began to take a serious interest in acting. Already fascinated by the performances of certain actors, he fed his interest by watching DVD supplements in which his favorite actors talked about their working methods.
“I was already interested in the game, but at that time, my parents thought I was too young to start in this environment. Looking back, I think that's a good thing. I waited and couldn't wait for it to work.
Paradoxically, it was in a film directed by his father – The Mongol Kings – that Henri Picard made his screen debut. But again, he had to convince his father to get this first chance.
“My father was hesitant at first,” he recalls. I even asked him if I could audition because the character was my age. He told me: you can, but there are a lot of guys who are going to audition and you don't correspond to what I'm looking for at the moment. I did the audition, it was my first. Nathalie Boutrie and Emmanuelle Beaugrand-Champagne, who took care of the castingof the film, said to my father: listen, Luc, our first choice is Henri for the moment. They gave me another audition and after that they told me I got the part. »
Even if he always prefers to learn on his own, some advice given by his parents often comes to mind when he doesn't know how to approach a scene. His father has already told him, for example, to try to find another path when he does not feel the emotion that he must play.
“He told me: say what you think, think what you say, but don't give what you don't have,” he says. This is advice I often follow, especially for tear scenes, which are always very stressful to play. Sometimes you don't think about the scene anymore, you just think about crying. And that doesn't work. What my father suggested to me at that time was to just let things happen and try to find another way to find the emotion. Maybe you won't cry, but in the end, the scene is going to be better than if you forced yourself to cry and it sounded wrong. »
The Diver, in theaters February 24.
The stars aligned
Henri Picard would have been too young to play the title role in the film The Diverif this one had been shot a few years ago, as it was originally planned. The fact that the project was delayed allowed the young actor to reach the age of the character, but also to acquire the experience and the maturity necessary to take on this new challenge.
“ I think there is a little maturity that I lacked when I auditioned for the role the first time, in 2018, concedes Henri Picard. I was also a bit embarrassed in the middle compared to before. Looking back, I think it's a good thing that filming was delayed. I was definitely more ready for this challenge today than four years ago. »
Directed by Francis Leclerc (The Time Snatcher, A Summer Without a Point or a Sure), The Diver is an adaptation of the novel of the same title by author Stéphane Larue, winner of the Prix des libraires du Québec in 2017. < /p>
The film tells the story of Stéphane, a 19-year-old graphic design student addicted to slot machines. To pay off his gambling debts, he will accept a job as a dishwasher in a Montreal restaurant as the holidays approach.
Henri Picard did not just read the screenplay of the film – co-written by Eric K. Boulianne and Francis Leclerc – to immerse himself in the character of Stéphane. Reading Stéphane Larue's autobiographical book also gave him material for the role.
“It helped me a lot to prepare for the shoot, confirms Henri Picard. As the novel is written in “I”, I was really able to discover the interiority of the character and enter his universe. It is a book in which there are long scenes of description. The diver character is an observer. He is like the eyes and ears of the restaurant and he witnesses the chicanes of the kitchen. We discover this universe through his eyes.
“But it’s also a film about addiction and lies,” he adds. Stéphane's character gets a bit lost in this and begins to lie to everyone. Until his cousin Malik, who is a bit like his guardian angel, manages to help him out of this situation. »