Alexis Michalik is a Franco-British actor, director and a famous playwright who won 7 Molière awards in France. We had the chance to sit with Alexis a few days before the Premiere of his new play Une Histoire d’Amour, and his return on stage after 8 years. We get back to his very first time on stage, his first movie as a director, but also his first novel and discuss the importance of self-belief to achieve projects.
Alexis Michalik: My name is Alexis Michalik, I am 37 years old, I am an actor, director, writer, playwright, stage director and movie director now from Paris. My mom was English, and I am half English therefore. I was an actor since I was 18, I have been doing plays since I am 20. I did my first feature film as a director last year and I also published my first novel last year…so I do a lot of things but the thing I am the most known for are my plays that are pretty successful in France. As of today I have 5 plays playing simultaneously in Paris in different theaters.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life” but also the quote “No man is a failure who has friends.”
Yes I do, it was amazing! That’s 2 actually, my first play as an actor was Romeo and Juliette. Do I remember it? I am not sure I was 18, I wasn’t very happy with what I did, but the play was a hit!
However, I absolutely remember my first play as a director, which was The Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais, we did it in a little community theater in Paris where friends came.
When I heard people laughing for the first time, my legs just went off and I fell down on the ground and I was just listening to the audience.
Yes, mostly this one because it is far more intimate, it’s about love and loss, and sickness. Also because I am acting on it and I haven’t been on stage for 8 years so I was quite nervous getting that extra pressure on my shoulders of writing, directing, and acting but on the first day of rehearsals, the pressure was completely overcome by pleasure. I remembered how great it was to be on stage. Of course, I do have stress but I love what I do!
I do not deal with potential offers, I tell them straight away that I am the luckiest man alive to be able to work on my own creations, and I am very happy with what I am doing. I don’t need much to live but I am making a great living with my plays and I am really grateful for this. The only thing I accept is, offers as an actor, which I still love doing.
I don’t think we need to have one best memory. It is been a crazy year and so many emotions that are all combined, it is like a ride that doesn’t stop. I am enjoying the ride and I keep working, working.
Length! The story I knew would be very vast, the book is over 600 pages, I knew it was going to be either a very expensive movie or a very long play, so I thought better to write a book where you don’t have a limit in length.
To the south of France, I bought a house near Marseille and I am enjoying every minute of it!
There is a lot of cities in France that I love, from Marseille to Montpelier, Avignon, Lille. France is an amazing place to live in. If it wasn’t in France, I would go where work leads me, in England, New York, Rome, Berlin, who knows. I would love to be acting on a movie or a show that takes me to Africa, or on another continent, I really love being driven by work.
The core of everything is to know which idea to pick, it’s about listening to your heart. If a story moves me, I know that if it’s done well, it might just move someone else. When a story keeps staying in my head, I figure that is the one I have to do now. Sometimes, it is about meeting the right person at the right moment as well.
I have a lot of stories in my head that have been there for quite some time. Edmond, for example, was here for 15 years until I can finally make it happen.
I am always inspired because I guess I am curious about everything, I gonna read, talk to new people, live experiences. The key is to stay curious.
I like to go climbing indoors, I like to go to the theaters, to the movies, I know it’s a bit like work, but I also like to just chill, traveling all around the world, and I like to stay with my close friends and play board games, I am crazy about board games, I can do this every night for a week in a row. I just love it!
When you are blessed with self-esteem or confidence, it is going to serve you well in this field, the hardest part is to have this. It is such a competitive line of work because everybody wants to be an actor, an actress, a writer, or a director. Everybody’s a critic but not everyone is a creator, the difference is the creator has the confidence to think that what they create might have an importance and need to be out there in the world.
Confidence allows you to work harder and hope for a better theatre or a better production next time. It helps you to move forward. If you don’t have it, well you gonna have to work on it because no one is going to believe in you more than you!
Success is when you are trying something and you get it, whatever it is.
So many people! As an actor, so many great directors I would love to work with. From Jacques Audiard, to Abdellatif Kechiche, Christopher Nolan. And as a director, so many actors I would like to work with as well. However to be fair, I like to work with a close circle, I am confident if you are a creator, you need your bubble of friends, your comfort zone of people that you can trust and who trust you.
I have tons but the biggest one was to make this movie Cyrano My Love because it was more expensive than everything else that I have done before. Working hard or being creative is not such a challenge, but finding money is and you have to convince people that they are not going to lose their investment. That is not really the most interesting part of the creative world, it was a challenge and took some time but the reward was really worth it.
I just started to play so It was a theater dream where I start acting and don’t remember my lines, a classic! I hadn’t been on stage for 8 years, so I guess I am going to have that one a couple of times.
It is not having any moral of financial debts to anyone, this is independence to me.
So many shows I recommend you on Netflix, I would go with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bojack Horseman, Rick and Morty, that’s my top 3!
Shakespeare would be number one, Frank Sinatra too, if you get the dead people in. And if it’s a living person, probably Steven Spielberg, that would be a cool lunch!
If it is in France, I think you should go with a French female singer, we have had quite a few these last few years whether it is Christine and The Queens, Jeanne Added, Angèle, Aya Nakamura. It is pretty inspiring to see those young girls being not only just singers but also creative persons writing their own texts, dealing with their own audience and enterprise, and it is very empowering to see.
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