Francois Ozon’s new movie Time to Leave opens in Bay Area theaters this Friday, which means that it’s time to talk to him — about his attractive lead actor, Melvil Poupaud, his legendary supporting actress, Jeanne Moreau, and potentially stupid but fuckable bit players. Oh yeah, there’s some gossipy stuff.
Bay Guardian: My favorite of Melvil Poupaud’s films might be Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale, where he has a Jeff Buckley quality. The beach scenes in your movie resonate off of that one, as well as the beach scenes in your past films — would you agree? Had you admired other films of his?
Francois Ozon: I met Melvil a long time ago for Water Drops on Burning Rocks; I’d asked him to do the lead part, but he was afraid to play a gay character — he wasn’t about to kiss a boy in front of the camera. But now he was ready, maybe because the fact the character is gay is not so important. He was touched by Romain’s relationship to his father.
He’s a great actor because he accepts his passivity, his femininity. To be directed by a man was not a problem for him — in fact, at times, working with him is like working with an actress.