This is a universal, unique movie, it has potential to cross barriers. But we never thought about that on set, when we were doing the film. We knew that in making a silent movie, we were doing something a little bit under the wire, a bit interdit. It's a pastiche, but for the French taste, you would have thought.
I watched a lot of Douglas Fairbanks movies. He always played the same role with a mustache. Zorro had a mustache. The Musketeer had a mustache. Tarzan had a mustache.
I recycle. I have a house in the south of France and I have a small garden. My name is Dujardin - 'from the garden.' I grow carrots, peppers, strawberries, green beans, and things for salads, but there are lots of wild boars all around and they steal the food.
I watched Gene Kelly for his smile, for his energy. Vittorio Gassman for his movement. Clark Gable for his mustache. And I watched Lassie who was happy as a dog.
What matters to me is my own estimation, and I'm very tough on myself. I need to be proud of what I've done and I work hard for it. I had a very Christian upbringing... lots of guilt. A good thing, It keeps you sane.
I'm happiest on set because I'm not myself. I'm someone else. The moustache, the dinner jacket. It's not me. You're always this sort of double, and it's liberating. Imagine being stuck with yourself... all those doubts.
I'm not an American actor. I'm a French actor. I'll continue in France. If I could make another silent movie in America, I'd like to!
For you, it's a silent movie. For us, it's a talking movie because we had lines on set. There's a lot of noise on set and music. We spoke in English, in French, in gibberish, but it was very alive. The challenge was tap dancing.
I can't speak American dog very well. There was a lot of improvisation with Uggie - like when I put the dog on the table or sometimes I follow him, sometimes he follows me. I had a lot of treats in my pocket. We worked with Omar Von Muller, the dog trainer. It was very easy because it was a big movie.
It's quite pretentious, really, isn't it? The notion the audience is going to be interested in you for an hour and a half. Think too much about that and anxiety takes over.
I like the hot-cold, the sugar-salt, being able to play over-the-top and dramatic things - in the same film. Just as in my life, I can be very funny and at other times almost extinguished.
It was actually quite easy to work with Uggie, because he's a really well trained dog. Very talented. I just had to follow him a little bit, improvise a little bit. Sometimes he'd follow me. Especially because of the sausages I had in my pocket.
I don't really know Hollywood, but living and shooting in L.A. was very motivating, inspiring. The lights, the extras, their American faces, the energy, the Orpheum Theatre. It was all very inspiring.
I guess we're all lucky to be in this profession where you can be someone else for two or three months on a film shoot. I find it restful. Vachement agreable.
I discovered that silent film is almost an advantage. You just have to think of the feeling for it to show. No lines pollute it. It doesn't take much - a gaze, an eyelash flutter - for the emotion to be vivid.
In France, I have lots of opportunities. Maybe now I'll be offered films in America. It's the encounter, with the director and the story that counts.