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Interview with Actor Théo Christine for French biopic "Supremes" (2021)

Interview with Actor Théo Christine for French biopic "Supremes" (2021)

One of the most compelling films I have seen in the past year was at the 74th Cannes Film Festival at the world premiere of the French film “Suprêmes” (2021). Produced by Nord-Ouest Films, directed by Audrey Estrougo (“An Ordinary Story”, 2014) and starring Sandor Funtek (“Blue is the Warmest Colour”, 2013; “Dheepan”, 2015) and Theo Christine (“How I Became A SuperHero," 2020; “War of the Worlds, 2019), this biopic feature depicts daily life in the tenement housing ghettos in the suburbs of Paris, France in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when fierce unrest between distressed youth and police exploded and a local hip hop scene was born.

French rap culture became a popular rebellious underground music movement in the face of these volatile street wars. In 1988, two young rappers- Joey Starr (played by Theo Christine) and Kool Shen (Sandor Funtek)- together with DJ Franck Lower (Cesar Chouraqui) formed a hip hop group called Suprême NTM. After a deal with Sony Music, the group catapulted to stardom in France, becoming the most successful French rap group to date.

The superb rising star Theo Christine, known for “How I Became a Super Hero” (2020) and “War of the Worlds” (2019), attended the 74th Cannes Film Festival for the “Supremes” (2021) biopic world premiere. We met shortly afterwards for an interview about his experience working on the film and his journey to becoming an actor. Theo is certainly a force to look out for, so stay tuned! And, as he says, "wait for me, I’m coming." Here is what Theo Christine had to say:

 

Can you tell us about your path to becoming an actor? Did you always know it's what you want to do?

THEO: Not at all! I wanted to do a career in sports before all of this. I was nineteen when I started to think about acting and movies.

 

You are from Martinique but you live in Paris now. How has that experience impacted your life and career? 

THEO: I used to spend lots of time in Martinique during my childhood and then we definitely moved to France on the west coast. I grew up always being  by the sea and it made me an ocean lover, so when I moved to Paris the two first years were kinda difficult because I was out of my element and I knew nobody. As acting became a new hobby for me, I understood that I needed to stay in Paris for a few years to be able to become an actor and make enough money to live in that expensive city. I met such wonderful people through my theater lessons, shootings and parties. I feel great in Paris today. It's an amazing city!

 

When did you learn about the role of Joey Starr and how did you manage to land the role? 

THEO: Audrey told me, "I wanna work with you on this movie". I immediately thought, "OK YOU DID IT, LET THE REAL WORK BEGIN!" That was in November 2018, but the movie wouldn't be out until November 2021. We had so much time to work, thanks to Covid 19. We first thought that our movie would be in danger, but then we decided to continue the work no matter what. We needed to keep faith even if everyone doubted. But we did and time showed us that we can trust the words work and determination.

 

How long did you have to prepare for the role of Joey Starr? And are there any similarities between yours and his character at all?

THEO: I would say a year and a half of rehearsal, theater, rap, dance, graffities, concerts. Today, I don’t really know if there are similarities for real or if I just became more like him for real because of the movie. It’s hard for me to say, Audrey says that we are both kind people.

 

How was your relationship with actor Sandor Funtek while making your character come to life?

THEO: Sandor acted like a big brother to me. I had never done music in my life before that movie. Sandor used to play in a funk band with his friends so he was way better than me when it was about rhythm and rap. He is a hard worker, like me. We both love to suffer through our work. If it’s not the case, especially for this movie, we can go home. We also understood quickly that we needed to be 100% together for doing this thing, in the good moments and also in the bad ones, stronger together!

 

In the film, Joey Starr had a lot of personal demons. What was the biggest challenge of playing this role?

THEO: The biggest challenges were the concerts, being on stage, rapping and dancing at the same time, keeping in contact with the audience and looking like him in the movies. I knew I was able to support everything if I was fine with the concerts.

 

Who are your biggest role models, both in life and in your career?

THEO: Nelson Mandela for his fight for peace, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Jim Carrey for making me dream and laugh. Also, Manga characters for their relation to friendship ( Luffy, gon)

 

You attended the 74th Cannes Film Festival for the premiere. How was that experience?

THEO: That was a dream I think. Bigger than we expected, I think that is why we don’t remember much. I think I felt like it was the first “good accomplishment” of my life. To be here and think that people you admire did the same before you, is a really good feeling, makes me even more complicated.

 

What will you be working on next?

THEO: I did my first movie in English, it’s called SUMMIT FEVER by Julian Gilbey and will be out next February in the UK. I have nothing more for the moment, I like to take my time and if I have the chance to be able to choose my movies carefully, I will. 

 

Where would you like to see yourself and your career in the next 5-10 years?

THEO: Since I was a child, I dreamed big, when I was playing basketball, my goal was the NBA or nothing! Obviously I failed, but it won’t happen again! I also want to work across the Atlantic. So wait for me, I’m coming.

Interview with Actor Théo Christine for French biopic "Supremes" (2021)

Interview by Vanessa McMahon. September 16, 2021.

 

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