Actor, screenwriter, director, Martin Lamotte was adopted by audiences long ago thanks to his roles in comedies such as Grandpa is resisting (1983), Santa Clause is garbage (1982), Wing or thigh (1976) and he’s been almost family since the series Our dear neighbors (2012-2017). Today he is showing in the film Present time, by and with Florian Hessique, released on June 9th. He plays the role of Mario, stable owner and gives the answer to Joshua (Florian Hessique) who, following a serious fall from his horse, has just come out of a little more than ten years of coma, and returns in this place to remember.
franceinfo: In Present time, Joshua does not know who or where he is, there is a real resonance chamber with Alzheimer’s disease …
Martin Lamotte: It is all very worrying, we do not know how to approach this subject and when faced with people who have lack of memory, we have a lot of difficulty speaking. It’s true that facing a person who has completely forgotten is awful. We have the impression that she doesn’t love us, that she despises us, even though she has erased everything. Relationships with people who have Alzheimer’s disease are very painful.
We know you through comedies and there you have a very serious, very calm role.
Yeah, yeah, I like that too, but I haven’t done a lot of it, because I prefer comedy.
I’m a comedian and it’s great to make people laugh. I’d rather make them laugh than make them cry. It’s easy to make them cry.Martin Lamotte
You started out by taking theater lessons. I have the impression that the boards are really a starting point, especially since we stay in the human.
Yes, it is great. It’s two hours of fun. The theater is a troupe. Unlike the comedians who are alone, the theater, we are all together and we play a play, we respond to each other and this atmosphere is incomparable.
It is very difficult to know things about your parents. What did they convey to you then?
My parents transmitted to me this lightness and this taste for mockery. We were a big family, we were five kids, so we tried to make each other laugh. It was a game. I was very, very shy.
Has humor been a vector of encounters, of wonder?
Of course. It was my only escape.
Why the profession of actor?
I quickly liked the fact of dressing up, doing different characters, getting out of your skin and doing something else. It was kind of therapy.
A word about a film that is inseparable from your name is Grandpa is resisting, it was an immediate triumph. How did you experience the success, first of the play, then of the film?
The play was a triumph, we played it for two years and we had to stop, because producer Christian Fechner asked us to make the film. At the time, it was not good to act at the same time as a film or to make a capture. Afterwards, the film was something else, we finally had the possibility to do what we wanted and after the success that came, we stole the film a bit. It was funny.
How did your parents see the success of this play?
My father worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs, so he was in tune with this whole period by saying that he had lived it. I told him that we had done this play, he was a little worried that it would be a comedy and then he said to me: “Well, I’m going to come with a friend, he’s a gentleman who resisted, who was imprisoned in a concentration camp, who got out of it and who loves to laugh. “ When the curtain raised, I wondered what reactions he was going to have and at the end, I went to see them and he said to me: “Well done, you are below the truth. “
How do you define yourself?
My approach is childish. I like what makes me laugh. I like to pass it on to others. That’s why I do theater, I hear them. In the cinema, we hear nothing.
Did humor keep you going?
To move forward and then to gain self-esteem too, because when people laugh and then applaud you, you feel good, you charge yourself. Recently, I played in Canada and I realized that it was the same, that is to say that I was very afraid of that and I had a very, very nice review that said: “We don’t know who plays that role, but he’s really, really good.”
This acting profession has given you great emotions. What has he given you the most?
If I hadn’t been an actor, I don’t know what I would have done and where I would be now, because it really is an incredible lifeline.
This film Present time is also a victory over life, because it was shot between two confinements, when culture was put on hold, considered non-essential. Is that a great hope for life too?
Yes. It is a beautiful hope of life. Badly managed, because the theater has not really picked up. It is impossible for a theater to resume with a gauge of 30%. Everyone knows it, maybe not our leaders, but it’s still a big lie to say that everything has picked up. A few shows with two or three characters, yes, but there are no troupes. It touches me. Because it prevents me from working for obscure reasons and I don’t care, I won’t pay tax, that’s all.