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Anybody know why Francois Truffaut was in Close Encounters? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Anybody know why Francois Truffaut was in Close Encounters?


whoopdido
01-31-12, 03:06 PM
Seems like an odd choice. He had never acted in any movie other than what he directed himself and he barely spoke English, yet he was Spielberg's first choice to play Claude Lacombe. It just seems odd. Obviously Spielberg had just made Jaws, but he was still relatively unknown at the time. Sure Jaws was a huge hit, but I'm sure many thought he was just a one hit wonder and I know a lot of big name actors turned him down for Close Encounters, so it's just kind of surprising that Truffaut would have given him the time of day since he was and still is thought of as one of the greatest directors of all time and what was so special about Truffaut in Spielberg's eyes that his first choice was a non-English speaking director, who had never acted in any movie that he hadn't also directed?

inri222
01-31-12, 03:16 PM
http://www.1worldfilms.com/francois_truffaut.htm

In 1976, Truffaut accepted the invitation of the wildly successful young American director Steven Spielberg to star in Close Encounters of the Third Kind as the scientist in search of communication with extra-terrestrials. His stoic portrait in that film is an emblem of Truffaut's pain, the arduous difficulty a born outsider encounters in communicating.


While I think that part of that is true, I just think that Spielberg did it as a tribute to one of his idols.

riotinmyskull
01-31-12, 03:17 PM
mutual admiration?

Finisher
01-31-12, 03:25 PM
Spielberg was a huge fan of Truffaut's work.

whoopdido
01-31-12, 03:25 PM
mutual admiration?

I can see that. Definitely on Spielberg's part, but I find it curious that Truffaut would have so much admiration for a guy that was so new in the business. It was obvious right from the start that Spielberg had immense talent, but he was still young and new to filmmaking. I'm struggling to think of a current example, but it would be like Spielberg playing a fairly major part in Christopher Nolan's Insomnia simply out of respect for Nolan. Nolan had a breakout hit with Memento, but he was still a relative unknown, although obviously talented. But talented enough for Spielberg to actually act in basically his second movie? Actually it would be closer to Spielberg appearing in a foreign director's second movie and barely being able to speak the language.

Groucho
01-31-12, 03:28 PM
But why was Steven Spielberg in Blues Brothers?

bluetoast
01-31-12, 03:29 PM
So sort of like Tarantino appearing in that Tsukiyaki Western movie, except that Miike has been around for a while.

Meglos
01-31-12, 03:30 PM
Landis was going to publish those photos.

The Valeyard
01-31-12, 03:34 PM
Landis loves cameos.

Boba Fett
01-31-12, 03:36 PM
A smaller, but modern example would be Miike's cameo in HOSTEL

Also, Roger Corman appearing in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is a decent and very similar example.

EDIT: Actually Corman usually always gets a bit part in Demme's films, which is an obvious sign of respect from Demme for getting his start with Corman.

Matt
01-31-12, 03:44 PM
But why was Steven Spielberg in Blues Brothers?

Same reason John Landis was in 1941.

Josh-da-man
01-31-12, 03:55 PM
Because David Cronenberg was in Nightbreed.

Solid Snake
01-31-12, 04:01 PM
Spielberg was a huge fan of Truffaut. Gushes over the man when you ask him. He got Truffaut in his movie cuz he wanted to meet Truffaut I guess and this was how..and considering how enjoyable Truffaut was. I can see how much fun it'd be to have him there as just a person to hang out with and talk. Doesn't the BD (which is fucking awesome) talk about it a bit.

whoopdido
01-31-12, 04:09 PM
Spielberg was a huge fan of Truffaut. Gushes over the man when you ask him. He got Truffaut in his movie cuz he wanted to meet Truffaut I guess and this was how..and considering how enjoyable Truffaut was. I can see how much fun it'd be to have him there as just a person to hang out with and talk. Doesn't the BD (which is fucking awesome) talk about it a bit.

I guess I'm more curious why Truffaut chose to do it.

Supermallet
01-31-12, 04:11 PM
Because David Cronenberg was in Nightbreed.

I love Cronenberg in Nightbreed.

Dr. DVD
01-31-12, 04:18 PM
Because David Cronenberg was in Nightbreed.

Dang it, someone stole my response!

Same reasons as above I would imagine.

Dr. DVD
01-31-12, 04:21 PM
I love Cronenberg in Nightbreed.



Ditto, but his cameo towards the end of To Die For was one of the best winks to film buffs in history. If you recognized him, you knew Nicole Kidman was a goner.

Numanoid
01-31-12, 05:30 PM
EDIT: Actually Corman usually always gets a bit part in Demme's films, which is an obvious sign of respect from Demme for getting his start with Corman.Chicago radio newsman Buzz Kilman is also in almost every Demme film (for instance, he's the paramedic in the elevator in Silence of the Lambs that looks up to see the dripping blood, and the hitman in Married to the Mob). He and Demme are apparently old college buddies.

Supermallet
01-31-12, 06:41 PM
Ditto, but his cameo towards the end of To Die For was one of the best winks to film buffs in history. If you recognized him, you knew Nicole Kidman was a goner.

Yeah, that was great. I need to rewatch To Die For.

CloverClover
01-31-12, 07:39 PM
I can see that. Definitely on Spielberg's part, but I find it curious that Truffaut would have so much admiration for a guy that was so new in the business. It was obvious right from the start that Spielberg had immense talent, but he was still young and new to filmmaking. I'm struggling to think of a current example, but it would be like Spielberg playing a fairly major part in Christopher Nolan's Insomnia simply out of respect for Nolan.

I don't know, DUEL is still one of SS's best.
Memento is great, but Duel shows us a total mastery of action, editing, suspense, mise-en-scene...There is a fresh anarchy to it as well.. a mischief that french people probably liked.

We know Truffaut loved Hitchcock, so he surely loved Duel and Jaws. Their work also seem to have a big heart, humor and optimism in common.

I'm sure directors were also friendlier to each other back then, people were probably more willing to collaborate. The internet kind of ruined everything... now we are all stuck in our own virtual islands

Strevlac
01-31-12, 08:05 PM
I don't know, DUEL is still one of SS's best.
Memento is great, but Duel shows us a total mastery of action, editing, suspense, mise-en-scene...There is a fresh anarchy to it as well.. a mischief that french people probably liked.

We know Truffaut loved Hitchcock, so he surely loved Duel and Jaws. Their work also seem to have a big heart, humor and optimism in common.

I'm sure directors were also friendlier to each other back then, people were probably more willing to collaborate. The internet kind of ruined everything... now we are all stuck in our own virtual islands

It's also certain that Truffaut had seen The Sugarland Express and some Spielberg's TV work, which he did a lot of.

Add to that that those French directors loved American films and filmmakers...some of them far more than seems reasonable.

eXcentris
02-01-12, 01:40 AM
- Truffaut was not the first choice, the role was first offered to Lino Ventura who declined.

- Truffaut loved and grew up admiring American cinema (certainly more than any of his "Nouvelle Vague" colleagues). He was well aware of Spielberg's work at that time.

- Since he also liked to act, it was an occasion for him to experience a totally different way of making films than what he was accustomed to in France.

(Steven Spielberg was eager to show François Truffaut the giant landing site set, hoping to impress the other director. Truffaut didn't seem to be impressed at all. Spielberg and his crewmates later realized that Truffaut was used to directing movies in small, intimate settings, and Truffaut simply could not grasp the scale of the landing site. When he went into the set of the hotel room where Jillian watches the Devils Tower newscast, Truffaut stood in the middle of the room, raised his arms up, and said, "Now, THIS is a set!". (IMDB)

He would later say that even if the shooting conditions were often "unpleasant", that he only had very good memories about the shoot and that he learned a lot about being an actor.)

- The role of Claude Lacombe appealed to him because it mirrored his own preoccupations and preferences for the themes of communication and language. As a Frenchman isolated in American soil, he's the one who manages to establish communication with the aliens, using signs and music. You can find similar themes in his film "La Nuit Americaine". On that topic, he also said that he regretted not having played Lucien Lacombe before he directed/acted in "La Nuit Americaine".

I would post links, but aside from the IMDB bit, they are all in French. :)