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'I feel like I was in Casablanca', says British rocker Pete Doherty after making his acting debut in Cannes

posted 21 May 2012, 08:17 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 May 2012, 08:18 ]
I feel like I was in "Casablanca" and in (British television series) "Tony Hancock", says British rocker Pete Doherty, who made his big screen debut at the Cannes Film Festival.
CANNES, FRANCE (MAY 20, 2012) (REUTERS) - Former front man of British rock bands The Libertines and Babyshambles Pete Doherty makes his big screen debut in 19th century period drama "Confession of a Child of the Century", selected for the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard category.

Doherty walked the rain-soaked red carpet on Thursday (May 20) night with the cast including British model Lily Cole, and French director Sylvie Verheyde, for the film's world premiere.

The movie is based on the 1836 autobiography by French poet and novelist Alfred de Musset, which charts his love affair with fellow French female writer George Sand.

Doherty plays the lead Octave who, after the betrayal of mistress played by Cole, descends into a world of despair and debauchery the so-called "disease of the century". Later he meets Brigitte, played French-British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, which makes him change his philandering ways but which also makes him question whether he can truly open himself up to love again.

Verheyde and Doherty had a mutual friend in the film's casting director who put them in touch with each other. Verheyde sent the musician a letter and DVD of her last movie "Stella" and after a meeting, decided to work together.

Doherty joked about his awkwardness in walking Cannes' famous long red carpet the night before.

"Sylvie's a really talented filmmaker and writer and I'm obviously a great actor," joked Doherty to Reuters Television, "But when it comes to red carpet, it's like to be honest, it's not really happening for the moment. In fact, we have to redo it. We've been asked to re-walk the red carpet for the first time in Cannes history. It was so bad so we have to pretend the premiere is tonight."

Verheyde said she cast Doherty because of his modern day similarities to the book's author.

"He (Doherty) was the figure of the poet now, like Musset was a figure of a romantic poet at this time. Just like Musset he has this share of innocence and debauchery," she said.

Doherty has been having a love affair with France of late, including recently fronting a campaign for young, trendy French label The Kooples. But the British rocker said he's always felt a French connection, which stems from his roots.

"When I was younger, I used to always pretend to be French. I used to move schools a lot. I don't know, it sounds really stupid doesn't it? I used to sit in Soho with a copy of (French newspaper) Le Monde and pretend to read it. My grandfather, he was kind of the same. He was born in Liverpool but his father was French. I think he a French Jew who tried to get to New York but he only made it to Liverpool," he said.

The Cannes Film Festival ends with the announcement of the winner of the coveted Palme d'Or on Sunday (May 27).