Interview with Pierre DENY 
by Linda Compagnoni Walther

September 26 2009

Mistral: Bonjour Pierre, what was your first reaction when you learned about my Catherine de Montsalvy website ?

Pierre DENY: I was very much surprised

Mistral: Do you remember how you got your role as Count of Dunois – one of the non fictive characters of Juliette Benzoni’s  Catherine, Il suffit d’un amour, in Marion Sarraut’s TV adaption?

Pierre DENY:
At the time, in the early eighties, it was much easier for actors to meet directors, there were not all those intermediaries - who have become essential nowadays – hence Marion Sarraut received the actors very simply in her office and we talked together. I was chosen by Marion just like that, without any shooting tests, only with "intuition".

Was it the first time you played in a historical production – wearing armour and a sword?

Pierre DENY: "Catherine" was my first performance with armour, sword and horses.

Do you have any specific fond memory of the filming “Catherine, il suffit d’un amour – which had such an amazing cast, like Geneviéve Casile (Queen Yolande) Pascale Petit (Sara) Dora Doll (Comtesse Ermengarde) Philippe Clay (Barnaby) Jean-François Poron (as Duke Philippe of Burgundy) and introducing Claudine Ancelot as Catherine? 

Pierre DENY: First of all the memory of a long, beautiful human and professional adventure, but especially many moments of fun and laughter, because we had lied a bit to Marion about our real abilities for riding horses. Riding from time to time, during holidays or riding with a 15 kilos armour, a lance in the hand and a closed helmet, is not exactly the same thing!!! Almost all of us had taken riding lessons with Mario Luracchi, a specialist of filming with horses!

Do you remember the reaction of the tv-spectators, press, and critic when “Catherine” was on French TV the first time?

Pierre DENY: No, I do not remember

Did you ever work together again with your colleagues from “Catherine” (apart from staring in the most successful serie Une Femme d’Honneur with Corinne Touzet (Princess Zobeida) and Pierre-Marie Escourrou (Arnaud de Montsalvy) ?

Pierre DENY: I have met some of them very often … Claudine Ancelot, Philippe Nahon, Dora Doll and of course Corinne Touzet and Pierre-Marie Escourrou, with whom I exchanged the armour, for the uniform of the forces of gendarmes, in the TV-serie “Une femme d'honneur”. But there were so many characters in “Catherine” that it is not unusual, to meet after 25 years, companions who were part of the adventure.

In your long and very successful career, you have most always been given the part of the good guy. Did you ever wish to play THE really bad villain and who would that have been?

Pierre DENY:
In this business and maybe even more so on television than on stage, there are hard conventions to knock down, the physical relationship has to be immediate between an actor and the role he incarnates . But I do not despair to play some day “Macbeth” or “Neron”…

As we know, you work also as a director of your own first-rate plays. What is the big challenge for you to work behind the scene or in front of the camera? Do you have any great idol you admire?

Pierre DENY:
I have very modestly directed a short film but the experience gives the desire to do it again, particularly, as my film has been rewarded on several festivals. But I am above all, an interpreter and I take more pleasure to be in front of a camera than behind it! At the cinema, my “idols” will always remain  actors and directors from the seventies. ...Scola, Fellini, Sordi, Mastroianni...

To our international web-visitors of the Catherine de Montsalvy fansite – how would you describe your role in the very popular and favourable French TV-Series “Çing soeurs?

Pierre DENY:
It was a very beautiful role, of a man for whom apparently everything seemed to be going fine, who found success in his business and his love life, and who sees suddenly all the ghost of his past rise again. He fights to keep up appearances, his family, his job but he is sucked up in a whirlwind and he lets go …It is a pity that the channel has stopped the show after the first season!

How are your projects in the near future? Can we soon expect to see you in a new TV-production – international movie or theatre play on stage?

Pierre DENY: Yes, I am currently on stage at “la Manufacture des Abbesses” in Paris, in a very beautiful play named “Thérapie anti douleur” written by Laura Forti and directed by Yvan Garouel – from Sunday till Wednesday at 9 PM until November 11th. It is a play, funny and also deeply moving, the story of a family, who is gathering around a dying father… At the same time, I got one of the leading roles in a new series for “France 3” named “La nouvelle Maud”, directed by Bernard Malaterre and which will be broadcasted next spring on tv.

Mistral: If you had a wish free, which of the characters you played so far or which personality would you like to be for twenty-four hours?


Pierre DENY: I liked all my characters from stage or film, which have left their marks. But … if I could choose for one day and amuse myself a bit, I would happily wear the costume of “James Bond” for 24 hours..!!!


I would like to express my sincere thanks to Pierre DENY for answering my mail. His reply was exceptionally nice. Now he has also done us the great honor and joined Gérard Chambre and Pierre-Marie Escourrou to be part of our "Hall of Fame" as I call it  Without doubt, all this brings a lot of glamour to my small website. Thank you Pierre for sharing a moment with us . I send my best wishes and great success for your career in the future.


Thank you very much

© by linda, webmaster 26 September 2009


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