From Elaine’s Lumière column for T Magazine’s The Moment.
The original poster art of Jean Dujardin in “Les Infidèles.”
At the inauguration of the Warner Brothers screening room in the Paris residence of the American ambassador Charles Rivkin the other night, the buzz among the American guests was less about the state-of-the art film technology than whether politically incorrect street posters advertising Jean Dujardin’s new comedy had sunk his chance to win the best-actor Oscar for “The Artist.”
Dujardin has been referred to as the “Gallic Clark Gable” and “France’s answer to George Clooney.” The film “Les Infidèles” is a series of sketches about adultery. One advertising poster shows Dujardin dressed in a suit and tie, holding open a woman’s bare, high-heeled legs, with the caption: “I’m going into a meeting.” After complaints — and fears that Dujardin’s image could be damaged — the posters were ordered to be taken down.
But that’s not all. Dujardin and his co-star Gilles Lellouche posed on the cover of the latest issue of Premiere magazine in suit jackets, dress shirts, ties and hairy legs, their hands covering their privates. In an interview in the magazine, Dujardin explained that infidelity has not been explored deeply enough in films and that he “wanted to go all the way, even if it has to hurt.” Asked whether he had ever been unfaithful, he replied, “Everyone knows it. That’s how my relationship with Alex started.” (Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy, his current wife who is featured in the film, fell in love and left their respective spouses in 2003.) The film’s trailer includes images of the two actors with women who are not their wives in various stages of comic nakedness and lovemaking. (Fortunately for Dujardin, the film opens after Oscar night.)