Vincent Cassel cuts a menacing yet charismatic figure as the notorious Jacques Mesrine and proves once again he knows how to play a tough guy like no other. His bold choice of roles throughout his career and the fearless way in which he inhabits his characters made him the perfect choice. The award winning European actor’s latest performance in Jean-Francois Richet’s two-part thriller biopic, Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1, is one of his best. Shot on location in France, Spain, Algeria, Canada and the U.S., the films’ visual style and dark vibe take their inspiration from iconic 1970s action and gangster films. Adapted by Abdel Raouf Dafri from Mesrine’s autobiography, the exciting double bill splits the story into two parts to explore the man behind the icon and chart the outlaw odyssey of the legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces.
We sat down with Vincent Cassel to ask him what it was like to portray one of history’s most infamous gangsters. The actor who garnered international acclaim as a Russian thug in Eastern Promises told us what he did to prepare for the physically demanding role, how it took seven years to get the film made, and why he considers Mesrine a wannabe who became what he wanted to be. He also updated us on his upcoming projects including the Darren Aronofsky psychological thriller Black Swan, Romain Gavras’s Our Day Will Come, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, The Monk and Fantomas.