Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-10-17
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MOVIES Arnaud Valois talks 'BPM,' journalism
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

One of the most critically lauded films of 2017 ( including being the recipient of the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival ), BPM ( Beats Per Minute ) focuses on the a group of ACT UP activists in Paris in the 1990s. In the midst of fighting for more funds for HIV/AIDS research, a love story develops between organization members Sean ( played by Nahuel Perez Biscayart ), who's HIV-positive, and Nathan ( Arnaud Valois ), who is HIV-negative.

Valois ( a onetime masseur-turned-actor ) recently talked with Windy City Times about the film, the industry and the concept of promotion.

***Note: Some details about the film are discussed during the interview.

Windy City Times: Congrats on the film. First, I assume the title refers to the club-dancing the activists are seen doing?

Arnaud Valois: Yes, it does. They want to gather and really live their lives because some of them think they might die at some point [soon], so they want to enjoy everything [as much as] they can.

WCT: I read about your life, by the way. You went from acting to becoming a masseur to being in this film that's getting all of this praise and even Oscar talk. Does your life feel very surreal?

AV: Yes; it's really crazy. It feels like a fairy tale, for sure. There are all of these meetings going on now with American directors. It's, like, "Wow!" The promotion is incredible and you meet very, very interesting people here and around the world. It's been an incredible journey.

WCT: And you were very young when ACT UP was really active...

AV: Yes—I was about 8 or 9.

WCT: So how did you do your research?

AV: We had access to French TV archives, and we saw two DVDs about ACT UP Paris. We also had access to a book from the first president of ACT UP Paris. The director, Robin Campillo, didn't want us to be experts in AIDS or the 1990s; he wanted us to be surprised—and even naive—about this period. He wanted us to go with the flow and not be too professional; he wanted us to just live the story. It's his memories and his story; we had someone we could trust, and he wanted to guide everything.

WCT: What was the most challenging scene in the movie—or would you say the whole movie was challenging?

AV: Hmmm... It's like two movies in one. There's the movie about the group, the dance scenes—we had a lot of fun together; we had beers after the shoots, and it was really great.

The second part, when Sean and I are alone together, was the most challenging part of the movie. My co-star lost a lot of weight [to portray the wasting away], and he would be tired after long days of shooting. Reality and fiction became really mixed. I thought he might've been sick for real because he was so skinny and fragile.

We shot the movie chronologically so he was really tired—so, in a way, it was easier to play this, but it was still very challenging.

WCT: Even I was starting to worry when I saw how thin he was getting.

AV: Yes—he lost about seven kilos [more than 15 pounds], and he was [already] really tiny. And we're friends in real life, so I said, "Oof!"

WCT: There was one scene in the movie that I wanted to discuss. After Sean passes away, your character has sex with another activist [Thibault]. It bothered me a little, to be honest.

AV: Many people seem to be bothered by this; I find I have to answer this in some interviews. I think Nathan just wants to continue living. Thibault and Sean fought a lot, but did love each other—so maybe this was a way for Nathan to connect to Sean through Thibault.

When I was shooting [that scene], I didn't think about it. It was just in the moment. I try not to think; I try to just go with the director's instructions and the mood of the scene, and capture my partner's energy.

WCT: In this country, it can be considered controversial if there are straight actors in [LGBT] roles. Out of curiosity, what's the position is in France on this issue?

AV: There is not really that level of controversy. It's not an issue; it's not about communities or quotas. It's not something we talk about—but maybe we should, but we don't.

WCT: Also, what's the biggest difference between France and the United States, regarding promotion?

AV: The questions are very much about the business [in the United States]; there are a few questions about the film—like "Do you think playing a gay character is going to be an issue?" and I say, "I really don't think so. I've received, like, 20 scripts after the movie"—but there are also questions like, "Would you like to be in American movies?"

And Americans are concerned—and this is really interesting—about playing real characters. Questions like "Was it difficult to approach this?" I'm not asked in France. Also, people ask where I see myself in five or 10 years—and I don't know; maybe I'll do more movies, or maybe I'll go back to massage.

WCT: And in France, what do journalists tend to ask you?

AV: They ask me about being very young in the '90s and being able to re-create this world, or how is it to promote the movie in the U.S. and other countries, or about the reception in other countries—things like that.

WCT: So my questions are a little French, but mostly American.

AV: [Both laugh.]

The trailer for BPM ( Beats Per Minute ) is at The film is available at .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

The Boogeyman comes for the adults in new Halloween film 2018-10-18 - Late in John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween, young Tommy Doyle—whose babysitter, Laurie Strode ( Jamie Lee Curtis ), has just fended off one ...

Gay News

Entertainers come out for Michigan Avenue event 2018-10-17 - National Coming Out Day, observed Oct. 11, had the crowds coming out to AT&T's downtown flagship store, 600 N. Michigan Ave., for an ...

Gay News

CIFF: LGBT movies, star-studded premieres 2018-10-17 - The Chicago International Film Festival ( CIFF ), the longest-running international competitive film festival in North America, turned 54 this year. With screenings ...

Gay News

Billy Master 2018-10-17 - "Shit, I'm attracted to everything."—Jake Choi expresses his sexual orientation. If only I could place him. If only I could place him, although ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Michael Urie, Todrick Hall, Streisand, Met Gala 2018-10-16 - Torch Song Trilogy is back on Broadway, with Michael Urie in the starring role ( and Mercedes Ruehl as his mother ), Vulture ...

Gay News

Sisters in Cinema planning media center 2018-10-16 - The Chicago-based non-profit Sisters in Cinema has launched a crowdfunding campaign for the rehab and building of the Sisters in Cinema Media Arts ...

Gay News

Illeana Douglas 2018-10-14 - Illeana Douglas is a renaissance woman. Her distinguished career includes theater, standup comedy, movies, including several Martin Scorsese films, TV, writing, music ...

Gay News

Jill Soloway looks ahead to celebrating new book in Chicago 2018-10-13 - Jill Soloway spoke with the Windy City Times ahead of the release of their new book, She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling ...

Gay News

Sisters In Cinema Campaigns to Build Media Arts Center In South Shore 2018-10-12 - Chicago - October 9, 2018 - The Chicago-based non-profit Sisters in Cinema has launched a crowdfunding campaign for the rehab and buildout of ...

Gay News

Personalities speak against anti-LGBTQ bullying for Spirit Day Oct. 18 2018-10-10 - New York, NY, Monday, October 11, 2018 — GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender ( LGBTQ ) media advocacy organization, today ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.