mardi 26 octobre 2010

Bald Ambition

The infamous love scene from art house classic, 'Leytonstone, mon amour' (dir. Frank Lebœuf).

World Cup winner and former Stamford Bridge favourite, Franck Lebœuf, revealed this week that he is studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Instute in LA. Since his debut in the iconic 'Taking Sides' (2001), I've followed Frank's acting career with great enthusiasm and have been disappointed to see it stagnate - discounting, of course, the irresistible triumph that was his performance in 'The Ball is Round' (2008). Frank feels that he's often overlooked by French casting directors because of his celebrity status and believes he's more likely to land prime roles in Hollywood - where nobody has a clue who he is - than at home. He recently told an interviewer, "In France, you get labelled: in the US, they give you a chance."

I think Frank has a point. Earlier this year, Vincent Cassel shaved his head to play the lead in 'Notre jour viendra'. Had Frank been on board, the studio could have saved itself the cost of a buzzcut and a couple of Bic razors. Stateside and free from prejudice, Frank - who has enormous range - will be hoping to rival his younger brother Shia, as well as rent-a-frog Gérard Depardieu, but poses a particular threat to that corner of the industry dominated by fellow slap head Bruce Willis.

In anticipation of a New Wave of Frank-mania, I've taken to musing about what might have been...
  • Frank Lebœuf as Ghandi - Frank's (on pitch) philosophy of resistance without violence chimes perfectly with the teachings of Bapu. Dickie Attenborough surely regrets offering the part to Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • Frank Lebœuf as King Mongkut of Siam in 'The King and I' - Yul Brynner had undeniable charisma but were his feet as fast as Frank's? Mais, non.
  • Frank Lebœuf as Jordan O'Neill in 'GI Jane' - A contentious one, this - given that the film revolves around the notion of a female Navy seal - but, as Marcel Desailly will testify, Frank knows a thing or two about the ladies. He's also good at pull-ups.
  • Frank Lebœuf as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in 'Apocalypse Now' - Little more than a cameo, yet demanding a powerhouse actor capable of infusing every line with tension... went instead to Marlon Brando.
  • Frank Lebœuf as Uncle Fester in 'The Addams Family' and 'Addams Family Values' - As Frank repeatedly demonstrated on 'A Question of Sport', he does comedy like very few ball-playing centre-backs can. Christopher Lloyd has never been invited to appear on 'A Question of Sport'.
  • Frank Lebœuf as Harry Stamper in 'Armageddon' - Bruce Willis and co. stopped the asteroid but in the process Willis' character, Harry Stamper, bought the farm. The film was released in 1998, when Frank's team accomplished their improbable mission and Frank didn't die, ergo, Frank's harder.

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