Eric Cantona is all set to make his theatre debut in a play directed by Rachida Brakni, his wife, whom he met on a film set in 2002. Keen for a repeat of his critically acclaimed performance in Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric, the French media have already billed the play as one of the “theatrical events” of 2010.
Cantona says he is thrilled at the prospect of performing once again in “real time” in front of a live audience. What he wanted from the theatre, he explained on prime-time television last week, was “a relationship, a real excitement, a direct relationship with people”.
“If he is apprehensive he doesn’t show it,” Brakni, 32, told the Observer. “He is someone who is inspired by a challenge. He sets the bar very high and so do I.”
For Brakni, however, who leapt on the play after having searched for a part that would suit her husband, the risk is a meticulously calculated one. “I wanted to find him a part that would measure up to his talents,” she said. “Eric is a very demanding person. He is someone of great rigour, great discipline and great talent.”
Face au paradis (Faced with Paradise) is an untested contemporary play written by Nathalie Saugeon and will open on 26 January 2010 at the Théâtre Marigny on the Champs-Elysées.