French actor Lambert Wilson takes on the role of iconic adventurer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau in the breathtakingly beautiful new film, L'Odyssée. by Herman Eloff
Filmed on location in Cape Town, Croatia and Antarctica the film tells the story of thirty years in the life of Cousteau - the well-known researcher, scientist and adventurer whose marine documentaries piqued the public’s interest in the sea.
Wilson, perhaps best known internationally for his role as The Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, chatted to Channel24 about taking on this mammoth role.
“Cousteau was definitely part of my upbringing and permanently on the small screen as I was growing up. For me as a kid he was a very present figure that I loved. We all wanted to be part of the Calypso’s crew,” Wilson explains.
According to the 58-year-old actor he was in London when director Jérôme Salle phoned him and asked if he would be interested in taking on the role of Cousteau.
“I just knew, no matter what, it’s going to be an interesting character to portray.”
Cousteau, who died on 25 June 1997, was not only an explorer, filmmaker and conservationist but also an inventor. He helped co-develop the Aqua-lung - the first open-circuit, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
In Salle’s L'Odyssée we get a fascinating glimpse into the complex character that was Cousteau and the many ups and downs he faced in his life.
“It was a role I was immediately interested in. I don’t look exactly like him so I had to lose some weight and had to learn how to dive. I knew that the character would undergo a transformation over the span of the film and that was exciting.”