CANNES, France — As the youngest resident member of the Comédie-Française, it is unlikely — due to stipulations in his contract with the prestigious acting company — that we will see French actor Pierre Niney fronting a luxury campaign anytime soon.
Not that fashion hasn’t come sniffing. The dashing young thespian, 23, is regularly outfitted by Balenciaga, Nike and agnès b.
Having this year received a César nomination for most promising male talent, Niney is in Cannes promoting the soon-to-be-released French comedy, “Like Brothers,” in which he stars alongside François-Xavier Demaison and Nicolas Duvauchelle.
Directed by Hugo Gélin, the film is about three guys from three different generations who form a friendship following the death of a common friend, Charlie, played by Mélanie Thierry. Brushing off the sand from his feet, Niney, fresh from frolicking on the beach with the cast, sat down with WWD to talk acting.
WWD: What kind of role do you play in the film?
PN: “He’s the youngest guy in the trio, he’s 20. He has quite a simple, cool energy, life is simple for him: if he wants something, he says it. In a way he’s naive about life but at the same time mature. He’s an old soul, I think. He also often brings energy into scenes when things get a bit nostalgic or the tempo is a bit slow. This is a guy who eats life, he pumps it up.”
WWD: Apparently you’re a writer, too?
PN: “Yes, I’ve been writing plays since I was young and I’ve just finished writing a TV miniseries. It’s called “Castings” and the concept is that each episode is a fake audition for a fake movie, be it a war movie, a rom-com, a musical, or it can even be an advertising campaign. Each episode lasts three minutes.”
WWD: How did you find the crossover from theater to film?
PN: “I’ve always thought they are complementary. I love them both. When you are on stage, you really need technical skills, I find it takes you back to the real value of work. Then in cinema, you can use artifice to draw the audience into your story, it’s another world and you can really capture some intimate moments of truth as an actor.”
WWD: What’s coming next?
PN: “I’m shooting a rom-com about a university student who falls in love with an older woman, directed by David Moreau, and in October will play the lead in a musical at the Comédie-Française called ‘Un Chapeau de Paille d’Italie’ (A Straw Hat From Italy). It’s about a guy who is getting married and needs to find a hat but all these obstacles get in his way. It’s vaudeville, with a lot of crazy action going on and there will be a rock band on stage. I play opposite Christian Hecq, who is a genius, he’s a kind of Belgian Buster Keaton. The play is amazing.”