Vincent Cassel, 49, On The Dark Side Within Us

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The Talks: Mr. Cassel, how come you always play such raw characters?

Vincent Cassel: I guess because that's what attracts me, really. Even when I watch people in real life. In French we call ità plusieurs couches.

TT: Are you talking about multi-layered personalities?

VC: Yes. The way people behave, the paradoxes, the contradictions. All these things we have to live with and still pretend that everything is only black or white. That, I think, is the most interesting thing in human nature. The fact that we have to do one thing and pretend something else. That's when it becomes very interesting. If you can literally speak the way you feel, then it's not interesting anymore. It's when you have to lie that it becomes interesting.

TT: Where do you think your interest in this comes from?

VC: I don't know, I started this career dreaming about Jean Gian Maria Volontè and Robert De Niro and they never really played nice, clean cut, crispy-clean kind of guys. They always played characters that were spiteful but at the same time fascinating. By the time I started to make movies that is the kind of thing that I chose. I think they're just more interesting. And in a way I think they represent life better than heroes and the so-called good guys, really.

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