Sunday, January 24, 2010
Lino Ventura & Steve McQueen
Shortly after moving to Paris for the first time and becoming situated, I started putting myself about. My reason for being in France was to launch a film career and some of the films that inspired me--Classe tous risques, Le deuxième souffle, Le Clan des Siciliens, L'Aventure C'est L'Aventure, Garde A Vue--all had a common denominator in the form of an incredible actor, Lino Ventura. I wanted to meet him.
All it took was a phone call and I was invited to Lino's home in Saint-Cloud only a few miles from the center of Paris. He met us at the door holding back an excited and protective German (or Belgian?) shepherd. After a quick hello to his curious daughter, we secluded ourselves in his study where we talked film, past and present, and the possibility of working together. Lino was not averse to collaborating with first time directors.
At the conclusion of our long talk, Lino insisted on driving me back into Paris. During the ride, the subject of Steve McQueen came up. Lino's only comment was, "J'ai peur pour lui" ("I fear for him"). At the time, it struck me as an odd thing to say. A year later, McQueen succumbed to mesothelioma and I would never know if Lino's concern was instinctual or if he had known McQueen personally as his illness had not been publicly announced at that point.