Singer Pete Doherty to Make Film Debut as Famed French Writer Opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg

     December 12, 2010


Rocker Pete Doherty, more famed for his antics than his music, is moving on to acting. The frontman for British bands Babyshambles and The Libertines has landed his first leading role as 19th century French writer Alfred de Musset.

The yet-untitled biopic is a low-budget French production and is reportedly based on De Musset’s fictional autobiography, Confession of a Child of the Century. It will also star Charlotte Gainsbourg. More details after the jump.

“We start shooting in Paris on December 27,” Doherty told The Sun. “The storyline centers around a love triangle, so it’s pretty intense and romantic.”

He claims he doesn’t know why he got the part. “I don’t know if I’m a good actor but they say I am,” he told The Sun oh-so-modestly. (Who are “they”?)

pete_doherty_imageAllow me to speculate, Pete.

Pete Doherty loves France and often performs in Paris, so much so that one may wonder whether he can’t secure venues elsewhere… The French love him back, all the while pretending to be shocked by his often scandalous behavior (although pouring a bottle of wine on himself during a live TV interview would be qualified more as ridiculous).

The movie’s producers liken him to a modern-day Alfred de Musset since Doherty is considered to be a fine lyricist. Or he’s a really fine actor and has been pulling a Joaquin Phoenix all these years.

Since this is a low-budget movie, I’m guessing the filmmakers can’t really afford a bigger name. I’m sure their “actor fund” is mostly being used to secure Charlotte Gainsbourg, an A-lister. She won the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009 for her performance in Lars Von Trier’s troubling Antichrist and has just wrapped up filming Melancholia with the same director.

They also probably thought, “Hey, Charlotte is a singer, too, and the daughter of another notorious rebel.” (Her father Serge, whose life was adapted in the movie Vie Heroique (Heroic Life) in 2009 by comic book writer-director Joann Sfar, once famously burned a 500 franc bill on live TV.)

But I have to give Pete some credit: he’s actually a great songwriter and I was impressed by a Babyshambles performance at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Munich back in 2007. It was especially appreciated as my interview with him two weeks earlier was canceled at the last minute because the record company had, um, “lost” him. (A few hours later, he was pouring wine on himself on TV.) I hope he’ll be a little less absent-minded on the film set.

To get an idea of his persona – and the extent of his French vocabulary — watch this clip from the popular talk show Le Grand Journal in 2009. (They invited him back even after the “wine incident”. I told you the French love the guy.)  At the end of their interviews, guests are escorted to a small room called La Boîte à Questions (literally, The Question Box) where they answer questions sent in by viewers. The other celebrity in the “box” is Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s mom… The video is followed by Serge Gainsbourg’s infamous money-burning provocation.

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