Home Art Grégory Fitoussi, from "Engrenages" to "Peaky Blinders"

Grégory Fitoussi, from “Engrenages” to “Peaky Blinders”

The French actor, revealed by “Sous le soleil”, discreetly pursues his international career. Here he is in the sixth season of the Netflix series.

Grégory Fitoussi, from “ Engrenages ”  Peaky Blinders”

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Unrecognizable ! Face devoured by a thick beard, gaze drowned in the vapors of alcohol, Grégory Fitoussi is not immediately identifiable in Peaky Blinders. However, it is he who gives the reply to Cillian Murphy in the first episode of the sixth season of the series that Netflix programs from June 10. The actor shares the poster with two compatriots: the singer and actress Laura Presgurvic, discovered in 2003 in the musical Gone with the wind, and the actor Assaad Bouab, revealed by the series Ten percent.

If these three French performers are found in the credits of this successful soap opera, written by Steven Knight and directed by Anthony Byrne, it is because its plot begins on the island of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. The story transports viewers to 1933. The end of Prohibition in the United States was not immune to organized crime. The Shelby family sends Tommy to North America to explore the opportunities presented by the relaxation of American liquor laws. Eager to develop his activities across the Atlantic, the member of the clan makes a stopover on the French island. Which isn't going to happen without a few quirks… We won't say more. jpg” alt=”Grégory Fitoussi, of “ Engrenages ” at “ Peaky Blinders”” />

Grégory Fitoussi, d'« Engrenages  ” to “”Peaky Blinders”

For Grégory Fitoussi, this role in a BBC production with worldwide distribution reinforces the inflection he gave to his career ten years ago. The actor, who took his first steps in the soap opera Sous le soleil in 1998 but really gained notoriety with the character of Pierre Clément in the series Engrenages, has multiplied international productions since 2012. do it quite naturally. After having led several beautiful projects in France, I wanted to see how we worked abroad”, he says.

The harsh law of castings

For ten years, Grégory Fitoussi has regularly positioned himself on the roles of Frenchies and multiplies the test shots to which the British agency Hamilton Hodell invites him into the catalog from which he has slipped. This prestigious company brings together half a dozen impresarios who represent, in addition to Anjelica Huston, Tilda Swinton or Hugh Laurie, the French Camille Cottin and Marina Hands as well as the Scottish Freya Mavor.

When it comes to castings, the actor knows that you have to be persistent. Didn't he get rejected three times before getting his first role? “I understood very early that the first quality of an actor was his stubbornness. And that you shouldn't have too much ego in this job. When I started, I had no experience in front of a camera or taken any acting classes. Maybe that's why I was willing to put my self-esteem aside and apply for a production multiple times even when it turned me down,” he smiles.

The boy who grew up between Bourg-la-Reine and Anthony (91) is not immediately destined for the seventh art. Although a film buff, he first began a university career as a “cultural mediator” at Censier-Daubenton University. “But in 1995, I was caught cheating on an exam and temporarily kicked out of college,” he says. The boy takes advantage of these months of forced inactivity by helping his father on the markets of Île-de-France where the latter sells clothes. He then tried out for extra work and began in 1996 with a shoot that would put him in the spotlight, that of the video clip signed Didier Le Pêcheur of the tube by Florent Pagny and Zazie: “Les Meilleurs Ennemis”.

Grégory Fitoussi, from “Engrenages ” to “ Peaky Blinders”

Grégory Fitoussi, d'« Engrenages  ” to “”Peaky Blinders”

His career is launched. His “handsome” physique catches the eye of several advertising agencies. Grégory Fitoussi then chained the advertisements before trying his luck to join the cast of Sous le soleil. He will still have to apply three times before joining the TF1 soap opera troupe. After being rejected for the main roles, there will be Benjamin Loset (nod to Joseph Losey), for 62 episodes.

“It's a role that stuck with me a bit at first. Objectively, I do not shine there by my quality of acting, but it is nevertheless on this set that I said to myself that it was funny to slip into the skin of another. And it's thanks to this experience that I said to myself that I had to work with a professional to learn the tricks of the trade,” he confides with disarming frankness.

The big bath

The actor left the series in 2002 when it was doing very well. On a whim, he decided to go back to school and forced himself, at the age of 26, to take Jack Waltzer's lessons. This professor from the Actor's studio regularly offers internships in Paris. The American, who prides himself on having trained Al Pacino, gives confidence to this Frenchman who doubts his ability to embrace a career as an actor despite his young first-class physique.

Grégory then finds his marks on the Canal+ series, Engrenages, where he becomes the charismatic deputy prosecutor then lawyer, Pierre Clément, for 40 episodes. A prestigious series that he leaves, again, in full success, without hope of return. But his gaze already extends beyond our borders.

A first appearance in a big American production (G.I. Joe by Stephen Sommers in 2009, where he played the husband of Sienna Miller) familiarized him with the way of working of Anglo-Saxon teams. Here he is, from 2012 and for three seasons, playing a recurring French expatriate character in the British soap opera Mr. Selfridge. The international success of the series, which recounts the creation of a department store in London at the beginning of the 20th century, brought it to the attention of Hollywood agents.

In 2013, the French actor opposite Brad Pitt on the blockbuster World War Z, by Marc Foster. “It's on these kinds of multi-hundred-million-dollar projects that you understand what the big studio machine is,” he breathes. In 2015, he continued with a series in the form of a thriller against a backdrop of espionage and terrorism (American Odyssey) and then he played the bad guys in four episodes of a series in the fantasy genre (Beowulf). We will find him, in 2019, in front of the camera of Gurinder Chadha for the six episodes of Beecham House. A historical saga set in India and a hit in the United States, on PBS.

New start

“For five years, I have only taken roles that really amuse me, justifies Grégory Fitoussi. It does not matter the number of replicas. I choose appearances that give me the opportunity to broaden my palette, rub shoulders with talents I admire and work with people I respect. His role in Peaky Blinders may be short, but it has given him a lot, he says.

Grégory Fitoussi, of “Engrenages” “at “Peaky Blinders”

Grégory Fitoussi, from “ Engrenages” to “ Peaky Blinders”

“I learned to turn difficulties into strengths. In this case, the rules of confinement required us, in the spring of 2021, to remain locked in a hotel room which looked quite like a prison. This experience of seclusion nourished my role in the series. It was great emotional preparation to play a freewheeling guy. Coming out of my cell where I had turned like a lion in pawn for almost three weeks, I had integrated the level of madness of the character, “he laughs.

Coming out of confinement, a bulimia for roles led him to shoot in the next film by Yan Gozlan (director of Black Box with Pierre Niney) but also a biopic on General Charette (in Vaincre ou Die, by Paul Mignot). Currently appearing in the Pilote series (on OCS), where he is a military remote commander of combat drones, he will soon be found in the credits of a Swedish series (Hamilton), taken from the literary saga of the same name .

A busy year

In a few months, it will be on Amazon Prime with La Jeune Fille et la nuit, based on the book by Guillaume Musso. But also one of the first roles in the Valkyries series on TF1. A new detective drama in which he portrays a German cop seeking to shed light on serial murders that occurred near a military base near the Black Forest, across the Rhine. He plays there with Hélène de Fougerolle, Tchéky Karyo, Thierry Godard and Laëtitia Eïdo who leads, like him, a dual French and international career. Which boasts of his humor and modesty. “Despite all his successes, he remained very humble and it's a pleasure to work with him”, confides the actress who continues, herself, the roles outside France.

If Grégory Fitoussi thus keeps a cool head, it is because an experience served as a lesson to him. “Four years ago, I shot in a big American production, with director Lee Tamahori [who signed the James Bond, Die Another Day, Editor's note]. I played the role of François I opposite Adrien Brody who played King Charles V. This movie, titled Emperor, was never released, for reasons that escape me! »

To get his ideas back in place, the actor travels a lot between shoots. He has just returned from Costa Rica where he surfed for several weeks. “There's nothing like a sliding session to clear your head,” swears this great sportsman who gave up free flight after a big scare two years ago. “My parachute wouldn't open,” he recalls. His next project? A short film that he dreams of making with his brother – Mikaël Fitoussi who plays one of the recurring characters in the AlexHugo series, alongside Samuel Le Bihan – and where the two boys will tell the story of their father on the markets. Its title is already found: Le Beau Jacquot. All that remains is to complete the financing.

Teilor Stone
Teilor Stonehttps://thesaxon.org
Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Times, Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116

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