Simon baker interview – Figaro – translation by DS Pallas

“I think I’ll take a break”
Confession interview with the hero of the series “Mentalist” wich Season 5 begins Tuesday on TF1

After his summer holidays, Simon Baker has taken the path of the Warner Brothers studios in Burbank, Los Angeles. Since late July, the Australian is shooting the first episodes of season 6 Mentalist – perhaps the ultimate… Meanwhile, from his home in Hollywood, the actor reveals the secrets of the fifth season, which starts on TF1, and discusses the future of the series.

Simon Baker, last year, we told you have spent holidays in France, incognito, in Lyon. Have you repeated the experiment this summer?
I just popped in in July at the Prix de Diane in Chantilly, with a detour to Paris, and then I went on vacation in Australia with my wife and our three children. I also went surfing in Indonesia, right the opposite, a paradise for fans of board sports, like me.
The Mentalist Season 5 is eagerly awaited, as we get closer to the revelation of the identity of Red John, the enemy N° 1 that Patrick Jane, your character, hunts for years …
We are not far from the goal, a list of seven names of the characters will be revealed and among them is really Red John. I myself was surprised by some of the mentioned names, frankly unexpected …

But do you know from the beginning who is Red John? Has Bruno Heller, the creator of the series, entrusted you?
No, and even better: I’ve never asked! And I do not know if my playmates know the answer – I have not asked either. In fact, I try to guess by myself who is Red John. Besides, I’m getting a pretty good idea. I will not tell you, I can just say that, if I am right, the fans will be both pleased and shocked by the revelation …

Will Americans viewers get the answer before the end of the year, during the season 6?
Yes!

Won’t the revelation of Red John identity be the end of the series?
Hum … “Peut-être” (he said it in French), but it’s not sure. Obviously, this chapter, or rather the Red John saga will indeed close. And if there’s a sequel, a season Seven, the investigations are likely to be different. Patrick Jane could remain with the CBI and keep his consulting work, who knows? Everything will depend on how the American public will react to this season 6: it will be based on the audience figures. The future of the series has more to do with it than with the resolution of the Red John plot.

Some fans think that Red John has psychic powers. What is your opinion?
I do not think he has such gifts.

What about the announced departure, but not confirmed, of actors Amanda Righetti (Agent Van Pelt) and Owain Yeoman (Agent Rigsby)?
It’s difficult for me to comment, I don’t know about it and I do not even know if it’s true. You know, in any case, some actors are dependent on the script and do not really have a choice to stay or not. Then there are those who go away due to weariness.

In the Episode 100 of season 5, we will pull the clock eight years back: we will discover a Patrick Jane we’ve never seen, right after the murder committed by Red John of his wife and daughter…
The fans should not miss this episode, which I especially love. It was very fun to play because it has changed the usual plot for me. And I was able to explore a new facet of Patrick Jane, who then suffers from things more than he can act on them. I don’t know how the production did it, but they make us look eight years younger simply by changing our hairstyle: a true miracle! (Laughs.)

“I really want to direct a movie”

What would you do if the series ends at the end of season 6?
What would I do if the series ends in a year or two or three – who knows? That’s a good question. I did not really thought about it. I’m already trying to make The Mentalist end in an aura of success and to keep it interesting to watch until the end. Then when it’s over, I think I’ll take a break from the small screen, take a well-deserved holiday, travel around the world, and probably produce some films.

Will you return to TV?
I’m not against it, but later and with different roles, even though I love the character of Patrick Jane. It’s really a part of me since 2008, but if I ever do another series, I will wait and allow time for the public to forget a little about the Mentalist.

You directed ​​a new episode in this season 5…
And I’ll do it again in the sixth season. I love it, it’s really my thing. Besides, I really want to direct a film and I know I will as soon as possible! It’s really one of my goals in life.

What are your plans with your production company, Windalong?
I still intend to adapt an Australian initiation novel about surfing: Breath, by Tim Winton. It looks pretty good and the author will sign the movie script if the project succeeds. I have other ongoing projects, a lot of ideas that I’d like to develop!

You’re not the kind of actor who have a Twitter account and share beyond the scenes photos or pictures of your children…
Definitely not, indeed! It’s not even by choice: I’ve never taken the time to look at the social networks or see how they work or their interest. And to be honest, I don’t think I’m interesting to “follow” on Twitter, I don’t think my life or what I think is worthwhile to be followed every day…

The actress Naomi Watts, your best friend and compatriot, slipped into the skin of Lady Di, for the film Diana. What famous person would you like to play if you had the choice?
Ernest Hemingway: this creative genius has always fascinated me. He is a man of contrasts.

New Interview -for Journal des Femmes – Meet Simon Baker (at Chantilly Hotel) by DSPalla

Simon Baker, elegance personified
At the Prix de Diane, we met the actor from The Mentalist, Simon Baker. The face of the brand Longines watches is up to his reputation as the charming man.

One Sunday morning in Chantilly, we have an appointment with Simon Baker. Yes that easily. The actor of The Mentalist series is also the face of the watch brand Longines, partner of the Prix de Diane. This equestrian event, under the sign of elegance, takes place every year in Picardy. And the Australian actor, already present last year, seems to have taken his habits since he’s back for the 2013 edition.
In his hotel near the castle, he receives us with a huge smile. Famous or not, the beautiful reddish blond does not seem to be big headed and welcomes us warmly. A charming “Hi!” and a handshake later, we are definitely in love. And the interview has not even begun…

Simply wearing a shirt (wich we had the pleasure to unbutton to place our microphone) and a pair of jeans, Simon Baker had left the three-piece suit dear to his character, Patrick Jane: “People are not always used to see me with my true look.” However, even if the suit is not part of the daily life of the actor, he still displays a natural elegance which earned him the favor of the ladies. “People often ask me, in relation to my collaborations with Longines and Givenchy, what is elegance ?, what makes a gentleman ?… For me, this is a matter for your wisdom.” We have decided: gentleman he is. But even if this means breaking a few hearts, let’s say the devastatingly charming actor has been married for many years to actress Rebecca Rigg, with whom he has three children. Damned!

We would have happily made an appointment for a session of mentalism, especially since the actor is a gallant man, the kind our grandmothers dream about for us: “I am occasionnally a bit late, but I don’t like to keep people waiting. It’s bad manners”. We understand why the watch brand Longines has chosen him as its face. Enough to definitively establish his status as the ideal son-in-law. But since the fantasy that makes us melt with his genuine smile is not available, we can always try to find out if, at least, he feels good in France… Just in case he changes his mind… “It’s always a pleasure to be in France,” he assures us. But soon our last hopes are ruined: “I am Australian, I’ll always be, that’s what I am, what is engraved in my heart. I also like to live in the U.S. Two of my children were born there, so I also have a close link with that country. “

While we’re already imagining an emigration plan, the time allowed is up. We must say goodbye to our favourite gentleman. And surprisingly, he replies in a “so charmant” French, that so irresistible smile on his lips. Quickly, we schedule another meeting for next year!

Translation of Die Welt article – Simon Baker

THOROUGHBREDS AND HATS JOIN THE RACE

The horse racing season was opened with expensive horses and crazy hats – but the real star of the Prix Diane at Chantilly was the “The Mentalist”.
(article by lifestyle journalist Siems Luckwaltdt)

“As a child I was terrified of horses” he confesses to me in the morning interview. A certain respect is still there, but in the meantime the Australian actor Simon Baker feels secure in the saddle.

After all, he was trained 4 hours a day for a film by the legendary Rudy Ugland a couple of years ago. And Ugland has taught the likes of Marlon Brando, Mel Gibson or Jack Nicholson to gallop through western settings.

“These incredible powerful animals are full of energy and are constantly under current. They are incredibly sexy” gushes Baker.

It is a pity that the star of the hit series “The Mentalist” is spared an appearance on horseback today. Instead, professional jockeys (category below 60 kilos) risk their necks in nine races. With up to 70km/h these “little big men” in their brightly coloured jerseys dash around the course of the traditional Hippodrome of Chantilly for the “Prix de Diane Longines”.

The grass that’s shining in the sunlight absorbs the thundering hoofbeats.

But if you come close to the rails of the barrier you can hear the thoroughbreds wheezing.

Only for a second, and then the aerodynamic man-horse hybrids race on towards the finish line of the two-kilometre course.

During such moments, even the guests in the VIP tent of the sponsor Longines forget to sip from their champagne flutes.

The owners of the horses and those placing bets on them stare motionless through their binoculars. Fathers hold on firmly to their kids, who are watching from their shoulders.

Even Simon Baker, appointed “ambassador of elegance” by the Swiss watch brand Longines, loses sight of his fans for a moment.

The beau with the surfer complexion, who has lent his face to the current campaign of Givenchy’s perfume “Gentlemen only”, is here for the second consecutive year, as the star guest in France’s horse capital, however, he remains calm.

The son of a teacher and a caretaker has long been accustomed to this VIP treatment.

Afterwards, when jockey Thierry Jarnet on his horse “Treve” has won the prix de Diane Longines with a new track record and about 570.000 Euros prize money, the dream of all the elegantly clothed teenage girls comes true.

“The Mentalist” casually walks a couple of hundred metres around the track, which was opened in 1834, and waves in the direction of the grandstand and the picnic blankets (crusty baguettes, chilled champagne and sometimes a noodle salad). Then, the “Baker Mania” begins. Everyone is running towards him, keeping their smartphones ready, digicams in position, programmes and felt tip pens within reach. No one is even looking at the breathless winner of the highly paid fourth race, who – on a giant screen – can be seen so euphoric, he is lost for words. Instead, the only thing you hear all around is “Siiiiimon”.

It is this mixture of stylish folk-festival for everyone, a test of strength for the people in the horse circuit and a well-tempered thrill together with equally tempered gourmet dishes, which make this afternoon in Chantilly a short trip to another world. Especially for someone like me who has never read “Wendy” or “Billie and Zottel” (children’s comics/row of books about horses, aimed mainly at girls). There is no stiff small talk here, no sign saying “Rich people only”. It is simply wonderful here!

“Elegance is a balance between the effort that you yourself put into your appearance and the appreciation of others for your effort”. – that is how Simon Baker explains his rule of style. This fits the fashion highlight of the day: the hats. Whether there are plastic horses on them or QR codes on the wide brims, silk flower potpourris or brightly coloured fascinators, daring static designs like a protruding Eiffel Tower or creations of conservative fashion designers in pale pink.

From time to time I react to a new gigantic headdress “monster” seen from the corner of my eye, some brightly yellow buildings made from woven straw, wrapped fabric or papier maché Some men caught my attention by wearing Panama models, a boater, a burgundy top hat and a brightly coloured fedora, which was bought on location. Connoisseurs come naturally prepared. In the Longines sponsors tent, a rose model worn by a lady dressed in Chanel, was awarded with a watch. Whether it was the latest model of the “Conquest Classic” – series? Oh, never mind, I’ll just take another pistachio macaroon.

Now back to the ladies´ favourite, Simon Baker. Asked if he has ever seen an episode of his successful TV series? – in a mixture of French, English and Swiss-German, the wonderfully eccentric President of Longines, Walter von Känel, answered: “ I had to. My co-workers have been out of their minds because of this man for weeks!” And how did he like the crime show about an ex-medium? “It is like making a good mayonnaise. It takes time”.

With plain language and the military virtues of his army days (which he ended as a brigadier), von Känel has turned Longines into the leading brand of top-priced watches, with prices between 600 and 3500 Euros. There are also some more expensive versions in the repertoire. “Keep it stupid simple” – is an important motto for his story of success. Combined with his understanding of human nature, concentration on a core business and his vision of his brand. La mission est atteinte! (The mission is achieved).

The racing course of the Hippodrome is particularly appealing: in the background you can always see the castle, which was built by the Montmorency family in 1560. And above the stately park with its water canals, fountains, symmetrical flowerbeds, a gigantic fireworks lit up the sky the night before. As a crowning finale of the dinner at the fine painting room of the museum Conté, which is located in the castle. It contains the second largest collection of paintings after the Louvre. During the gala dinner, you feel as if cherubs, equestrian companies and scarcely clad ladies look down on the guests’ plates from their golden frames.

After lobster, there is veal filets, followed by red fruits for dessert, which are decorated with a (sugar) hat. Simon Baker had two of the winning ladies of the first Longines Award at his table: the enchanting Sophie Thalmann – a presenter, Miss France 1996, and married to a jockey- as well as the very modest Princess Aga Khan. That evening, Baker, who last year left the event with a winning sum of 5 Euros (!), asked both ladies for inside tips for the race of the following day.

The third prize winner, show jumping champion Athina Onassis de Miranda. was only present via video message, because she was away on a tournament.

Checking out at the reception desk of his hotel, Simon Baker is wearing his self-tinting glasses, a checkered shirt, worn outside of his jeans, and a worn leather briefcase over his shoulder. “How´ya going, mate?. The Australian is shining through now. And before my inner eye I can see Longines´ ambassador of elegance, running along the beach with his kids or throwing basket balls in front of his garage. “G’day”.

Translation of German Elle Magazine article

I don’t know who did the translation but it can be found on Fran’s site. Thanks to both.

 

INSTYLE MAGAZINE (German Edition, May 2013)
HERE COMES SIMON
The actor Simon Baker (‘The Mentalist’) talks about his happy family, his style of parenting and his style of clothes
Paris, Rue de Varenne: Through a nondescript entrance next to an antiques store, we enter into a hidden courtyard. Just a tiny sign next to the entrance tells us that the launch of the “Gentleman only” fragrance by Givenchy will take place here. The face of the campaign is the Australian actor Simon Baker, who, in his anthracite-grey suit, looks like a perfect gentleman today.
“After you, Miss”, he says, while he holds the door to the room, where the interview is going to take place, open for me. “I’m sorry, but I see that my wife has already tried to call me on my mobile three times. I should call her back quickly, is that o.k.? Or does that take time off your interview? Then I’ll call back later, no problem,”
How kind of you (to turn your phone off). I hope your wife doesn’t get mad if you don’t call her back?
No, she is very liberal about it. Sure, when I travel she wants to know if I’ve landed safely, but she is no control freak – if that’s what it sounds like (laughs).
You’ve been married to actress Rebecca Rigg for 15 years – and completely without any scandals. That’s quite unusual for Hollywood standards, isn’t it….
Yes, and I consider myself very lucky.
What’s your secret?
Trust is the most important thing. But every relationship is also hard work. You should never take anything for granted.
It’s not just your marriage, your family life seems pretty perfect, too, You have three kids, Stella (19), Claude (14) and Harry (11). Are you a cool dad?
Well, to be honest, I have rather old-fashioned values, but at the same time I am very tolerant. It is important to balance these two sides. My parenting style is hard, but fair. When one of my kids has a good argument, why he or she wants me to allow something that I had previously forbidden, then I’m not so strict that I wouldn’t reconsider my former decision.
How would you describe a typical day of your family life?
Unfortunately, I don’t have very much free time, but if I do, I like to go to a restaurant with my wife and spend time with my kids. We do a lot of sports together, and often go to the beach. When I was a child, I always used to go surfing, and I still love to do that today. I sometimes feel quite old in between all these kids, but I still enjoy doing it! Especially my youngest son, Harry, likes to go surfing with me. In the beginning, he thought surfing was stupid, and only came along for my sake, but nowadays, he thinks it’s quite cool. (Yawns) Oh, sorry about that, I am rather tired…
You seem to have jetlag?
Unfortunately, yes. I’ve only arrived from Los Angeles yesterday afternoon. So for me, it is actually 7 o’clock in the morning!
What do you usually do on long flights?
That depends on where I’m going and why. On the flight here I’ve tried sleeping as much as possible, in order to be fit today. When I’m going back to Australia tomorrow, I will have two weeks off. So on that flight I’m going to relax, drink some wine, watch films, read (at the moment I’m reading “Skios” by Michael Frayn). I’m really ready for a holiday!
Well you certainly don’t look like it. In your suit today you look rather similar to Patrick Jane, the Mentalist from the successful TV series. How do you like his style of clothing?
Very much. Suits are his trademark. I love wearing suits myself, for example, those by Givenchy. They seem to fit me astonishingly well. With other suits I often have the problem that I have to have the jackets changed to fit my wider shoulders and the pants have to be made tighter at the hips.
Better than the other way round….
Ha ha, you’re right, that is definitely better than narrow shoulders and wide hips!
How many suits do you have in your closet?
Quite a lot. But I often give some of them away. Most of my friends never even go to a store, but they come directly to me and say: “Hey, Simon, I need a suit for this or that occasion, can I have one of yours?”
Is “Gentlemen only” a fragrance that you would only wear with an elegant suit, or is it an “every-day” perfume?
I think it is a fragrance that can be worn every day. For my part, I pay attention not to wear too much of it. I don’t like it if a man smells too much of perfume.
In your opinion, what makes a gentleman?
It is someone who is always on time, looks a woman in the eyes when he talks to her, offers her his umbrella when it’s raining and – now that you mention it – of course he always calls his wife back immediately.

Aside

Translation by DSPallas for Simonize 

 

Simon Baker: ‘ Living in France? No, fans keep asking me for my personal phone number! ‘ [size=2]

By Frank Rousseau, April 07th, 2013

Between two seasons of his TV series, Simon Baker, the charismatic hero of “The Mentalist” has performed in “Mariage à l’Anglaise” (I Give It a Year), a pretty slick comedy, which allows us to think that our nice Australian is going again to surf the wave of success.


Simon Baker, his marriage “à l’Anglaise”

His blonde and wavy hair reminds us of the sandy dunes from Tasmania where he was born. He is blind as a bat but, paradoxically, impersonates a detective able to spot the most microscopic of clues. Ironicaly, his surname is translated by ” bredmaker ” in French, and yet, in the TV show that made him famous all around the world, he hunts only butchers and bloodthirsty human beings. Not need to go any farther with this portrait. You’ve guessed it, we are talking about Simon Baker.

In Dan Mazer’s “Mariage à l’Anglaise”, you play the part of Guy, a kind of playboy who is going to do everything to seduce a married woman played by Rose Byrne (“Bridesmaids”, “Damages”). Question: To make a lady fall for you, what is the most efficient manner, according to you?

Do not calculate anything. Do not plan anything. Remain natural. Do not try to play a role. Allowing yourself to be seduced is not bad either. Leaving the initiative to the women is definitely a good thing. It brings a change. It’s refreshing. I think seduction also requires to be able to listen to the woman who is in front of you. Showing off too much is a serious weakness in my humble opinion. Now, if there are oysters and cheese soufflés on the table, you will maximize your chances! And last but not least, if you don’t ask the lady to pay the bill, it’s an undeniable bonus! (laughs)

People often say about you that you are one of the sexiest actors in the world. How do you perceive this simplistic representation of yourself?

You just said it, it is a simplistic representation. Listen, I am more than forty years old, I have three children and above all, I’m married. That means I am not on the market anymore! The “Sexy” word means nothing for me. It’s just a label stuck on the skin of actors and actresses to sell more newspapers. If only you knew how I just don’t pay attention to that! In the morning when I shave and I see my face in the mirror, I would rather say: “ Look at those rings! You look tired old boy! ” than “ What a heartbreaker! ” (laughs)

You met Rebecca, your wife, in 1992 then you got married in 1998. Since, happiness has brought a pattern to your couple. Is there a secret behind this long-lasting union? A recipe?

No! First of all, a desire. Then, an obvious bond between us. And at last, three children who have durably consolidated our relationship …

” Mariage à l’Anglaise ” is a “very” quirky romantic comedy. It’s also for you, Simon, an opportunity to temporarily park the DS of Patrick Jane aka “The Mentalist” and take a break from your investigations. It’s more than five years since you play the same character. In the long run, would there be a risk of him rubbing off on you?

I would like so much to give you a positive answer! It would be great to tell oneself that for an actor, playing a character only once, let’s say a chess champion for instance, would be enough to inherit his qualities and then give Kasparov a thrashing. Unfortunately, it does’nt work like that. Patrick Jane has no influence on me. Of course, he brought me a financial support and opened doors, but I have never asked him to search on my inner truth, to know what’s in me! I’m not talented for this kind of introspection! And then, I have a confession to make: the only things I try to focus on are the lines I must learn for “The Mentalist” and you know, this is already a tough job.


Simon Baker: his character

What are the main traits of character of Simon Baker? 

I am an upright person. I like honesty. I do not love abusive people or people who take advantage of the weakest. I don’t beat around the bush. I am direct. When I compete with someone, I can be merciless. Mostly because I don’t like to lose. You can ask my wife, she could talk about it for hours and hours! Some say that my blood boils at the drop of a hat. Me, I’d rather say than I have temperament.

Is it true that when you direct an episode of “The Mentalist”, you can easily transform into Mister Hyde? 

No! Not really. This said, I like to have control when I undertake something. I have an overview on things and I know perfectly what I want and what I expect from the others. In my opinion, the most important thing is the storyline. It always comes first. My job as a director, is to encourage everybody to be creative. I always listen when somebody comes to knock on my door to bring in new ideas. You know, competition is tough in the television or the film world. If you don’t jump on the bandwagon, it will leave without you! Finally, I would say that I am equally demanding with myself and with the others.

Filming in Paris: would it be a cheering prospect for you?

Of course! But it’s still necessary to find a believable reason to justify the coming of Patrick Jane in France. A motive that is not far-fetched. My dream would be to play opposite to Jean Paul Belmondo. My lifelong idol!

Did you ever planned to settle in the homeland of Voltaire? 

France is full of exceptional surfing spots, this would be perfect! What I also like with French people is the way they distancing themselves from their job. In France, you work for a living, you don’t live to work! I also like French culture and gastronomy. With very simple products, you know how to make things that make my mouth water by simply talking about them. As a ham sandwich spreads with butter made with a very fresh baguette. Nothing’s better on Earth! Idem with soufflés. When we were in Paris with my wife last April, a French chef taught her how to cook them. On the other hand, I think if tomorrow, I ask my wife to move to France, at first she would be delighted, then on hindsight she would hesitate …

Oh really, why being reluctant?

Because the French fans occasionally ask for my personal phone number!

Wich is???

OK! You have something to write it down? It is 555… Err, damn, I forgot!


Simon Baker, soo to becoming French?

How much French do you know?

I know how to say “shit” and some basic words. I won’t go very far!

By the way, how an Australian becomes acclimated in the land of Barack Obama?

By never losing contact with my friends and my family. By choosing the real priorities. The first one being to escape the Hollywood circus when given the opportunity! Since four years now, I have an home in Australia. I go there with my family at least twice a year! I have three children and I want to make sure they do not lose their Australian culture. Therefore, I don’t want to force them neither. Just what’s needed so they keep a good mental health!

What do you miss the most since you live in Los angeles?

A very stupid thing, decent tea sets. Americans drink their tea in mugs, while in Australia, the tea ritual as it is religiously accomplished in England, is still very present in our culture. Personally, I like a civilized approach! Drink tea in a mug is almost like heresy! Like eating a tartlet while wearing mittens!

When you travel abroad, it’s always with wife and children in your luggage?

Yes! Whenever I can and when it matches with their school vacation. It’s important for my balance and important to my family, for it means that I am present. That I’m not just passing through. I grew up in a small town. Narrow minded. Very early, I told myself that if I had children, I would give them the opportunity to travel, open themselves to the others, see landscapes and people different from the ones they can see by looking through their bedroom window. That is my luxury! I can stay with them in New York, fly to Paris for the week end, via Rome or London. My children can live unbelievable experiences that I never knewn as a kid! My generation was a stay-at-home generation, after all. There were strong probabilities that you would be studying, working, building a family in the very same town where you were born! Today, if they want, my kids can study in Los angeles, in England or anywhere in the world. For them, the possibilities are endless.

In what kind of environment did you grew up as a child?

I did not grow up with money but with space. There’s a lot on the North coast of the New South Wales (Australia). When I was young, I had only one thing in mind, surfing the waves. The problem was, I didn’t even know how to swim! For my parents, it was out of question that I could buy myself a surfboard. I had to bring home at least a bronze medal in swimming first! So I took swimming lessons. In the meantime, I was playinga lot of cricket on Saturdays. To get the money for my surfboard, I collected returnable bottles of Coca Cola and sold them to a wholesaler! I was also selling flowers to the tourists by the road side. With the fifteen dollars I’d gathered, I was able to buy my first surfboard.


Simob Baker: His Hollywood debut

Do you remember your first contact with Hollywood?

Yes, it was with casting director Mali Finn. My impresario at the time kept insisting I met this woman of influence in Hollywood. When I met her she told me immediately “Kid, I want you to read this script.” And it was the “LA Confidential” script, the masterpiece of Curtis Hanson, based on the James Ellroy best-seller. Originally, she wanted me to audition for the role of Detective Edmund Jennings ‘Ed’ Exley. But Guy Pearce got the part. My disability, I think, was my Australian accent! It was so thick! So, I ended playing a smaller role. The one of Matt Reynolds. I think I was in an English pub, the King’s Head in Santa Monica, having lunch with my wife when I heard the news. I shouted a “Yeeahh” in the middle of the pub. Not very discrete, I agree. I shall not hide the fact that we had a big shindig afterward…

Between us, don’t you feel like playing the role of James Bond one day? You have the required class and stature…

But not the required passport, I’m Australian! First, they generally give the job to an English. Secondly, Daniel Craig owns the “license to kill” and I must admit that the spy costume suits him pretty well. Apart from that, I’ve always liked the 007 saga as well as films from the 60s and 70s. Like “The Thomas Crown Affair” or Hitchcock’s. Thrillers with some romance, a bit of cat-and-mouse game, that keep us excited from beginning to end. Typical of an era.

Have you already been told that you look like a young Michael Caine with your glasses on?

No! It’s the first time I’m told that. The toughest part for a poor-sighted on a set, is to not hit a camera!

Do you wear contact lenses?

No! And it’s better this way. When you look in the eyes of Patrick Jane, you think he is focusing, he is observing, but in fact it’s because I see only a blur!

But you’re not Mister Magoo?

Not yet, I still have some margin!

Aside

Another translation by DSPallas on Simonize

SIMON BAKER. THE PERFECT MAN

The actor of “The Mentalist” has everything for him  : handsome, faithful, cool. Our reporter couldn’t resist.

Simon Baker doesn’t care about Hollywood clichés. No way for him to pose by the pool, he rather prefers to get his feet wet…

The hero of the successful top TV show « The Mentalist » makes a detour via the movie world. Already spot in « The devil wears Prada », and in « Margin Call », he’s part of the cast of the rom-com « I Give It A Year » (out in April 10th), where he plays the role of a seducer.
At 43, he’s an atypical star : born in Tasmania, far from Hollywood, he met success late in his career, after years of minor roles. Another distinguishing features : he’s in love with his wife, Rebecca, for more than twenty years now, and had three children with her. Neither diva nor megalomaniac, rather embarassed by the popular fervour he has generated, this surfer managed to keep his feet on the ground. His challenge : « To remain normal ».

“He is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen !» A cry from the heart from his british movie director, Dan Mazer, who is however not exactly a beginner. « He’s beautiful without any effort. Easy… For instance, his hair : We were shooting very early in the morning… Gee, he wakes up with his hair already dressed! How can you be so beautiful? Unbelievable. » Simon Baker is not aware of it, he notices: « He has no self-importance ; He’s nice with everybody, very polite, attentive. »

During an outdoor filming, the others actors were champing at their bit, Dan Mazer tells: «  It was Elvis and the Beatles all into one! The old, the young people, men, women, it was all about him! It was impossible to shoot! This guy is dynamite!  ». And however lacking in self-confidence, he always needs to be reassured: «  He’s been nervous during some scenes. “I am not funny, what are you going to do ?” he said to me, worried. Wich added to his charm, and to his charachter’s. This actor does not know his talent. So I encouraged him: “Go on! Let yourself go !” And he did.  »

For a photo session, no way for him to play the clown as his colleagues. Need to say that in “I Give It a Year”, an off-the-wall comedy, subtlety isn’t an option. With the very elegant Simon Baker, Mazer plays with contrast, without forcing it. In the film, Baker the gentleman throws some stunned looks which make us burst out laughing. A straight comedian, a bit like in the Hugh Grant style. «  He’s a refined man, who appreciates good restaurants, good wines. Me, I’m rather the hamburger-Coca Light type. »

The actor tried to pass on him his aesthete’s hedonism. They went out with family for gourmet trips in the British countryside, or hoped in the Eurostar to visit Paris, its wine bars and its museums. The ex-actress Rebecca, Australian as Simon, would showed up with their three children, Stella (born in 1993), Claude (1998) and Harry (2001). Mazer: « They are very nice. Simon took them to a cricket match, to a film festival in the Southwest of England… »

When we met him, on this freezing English day, Baker is warm-hearted, smiling. He kisses you “à la Française” (TN: In France, we kiss people on both cheek to say hello, we don’t hug), takes you by the arm to sit you in front of him, across a small table. He offers you to pick at his plate full of fresh fruits pieces. But he may have had a go at a comic role here, no way, for a photo session, to play the clown as his colleagues.

It’s not because the Americans have arbitrarily awarded him recently with the “Sexiest man” trophy, no: this “Mentalist” is a disarming shy man. Not necessarily the one best placed to talk about himself.

How does it feel to suddenly epitomize the romantic ideal for the American people? Your wife must have moderatly enjoyed it…

Simon Baker : Rebecca ? She doesn’t care. No, it doesn’t change anything. I’m not so much conscious of all this stuff…

Good father, faithful husband… You are a perfect man!

Oh no ! Not at all ! I’m human. And if success didn’t change me, it’s because I’m not 20 anymore. I’m realistic, I’ve the experience of life. Besides, I needed this time to mature.

43, the best age of your life ?

Yes, probably. It was not four years ago, in any case, when I started « The Mentalist ».

Do you feel tired ?

I’m always a bit tired…

Tired of filming « The Mentalist » with this frantic pace of twelve hours a day?

Yes, a bit of this but… Life wears you out. Being always busy, being successful, managing this success, being even more busy, overwhelmed… It’s a spiral that tires me out. And I don’t get any younger !

Growing old is not a problem for you…

Yes, growing older is a problem. For me, it’s not easy ; It’s a concern.

Are you anxious?

Very anxious. As I’ve a lot of energy, I give my all, and I wear myself out.

For testing your stamina?

Yes, no… well I’ve never been very confident. I’m hard on myself, never happy with my performances. I have doubts. I always ask myself if what I’ve done couldn’t have been better. It’s a constant concern for me. If I was a mathematician or an accountant, it would be clear : it’s right or wrong, full stop. In my so subjective job, there’s not right or wrong.

There is critics.

Yes, dreadful. You’re always under the microscope of others.

Does it wear you out?

Sometimes. At my age and with my experience, it affects me less than before. Before, it has disturbed my balance.

Does your wife, Rebecca, who was an actress too, help you to overcome your fears?

Yes, she understands me, it helps. She comforts me, but she tells me when I ‘ve been bad. She’s my wife !

How do you two fight against routine after so many years?

With projects and challenges. It’s not conscious, but we always set ourself challenges. We move forward together, we boost each other.

The action is not equally divided between you. Rebecca can be frustrated…

That’s the challenge ! We have to deal with it.

Is it true that Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman are the godmothers of two of your children?

Yes. It was before they became famous. Rebecca was in school with Nicole. And when I met my wife, her best friend was Naomi. It’s a real friendship, not a Hollywoodian acquaintance. We are close. There’s nothing artificial or opportunistic.

Living for several years now among Americans without complexes and so self-confident, did it change you?

It had an effect on me. Americans assume their ambition, whereas in Australia, we hide it. In the USA, I’m seen as a guy lacking in ambition. But it’s okay.

But you went in Hollywood to achieve success, to build a carreer…

I worked for five years in my home country, but there were not many opportunities. I just wanted to make a living. And then I got this fantastic offer with « LA Confidential ». It launched my career. After that, I took other things that I should have declined, but I had a family to support. I had a kid.

Your wife was working too?

Yes. But after our second child, we came to an agreement : she stopped.

Did you learn to talk money and fees with producers like a real American?

No, I’ve never been good at that. Well, little by little, I found out about the value of an actor.

You are in a growth niche, the « charm » target, wich attracts a wide audience. You bring big money!

I would never have dared to say such a thing ! I would have been too embarassed… And the French, how do they do ?

They too, are embarassed to talk about money.

To the point of paying their taxes abroad !

… And you, are you happy to pay your taxes in the US?

Yes. I’m not an american citizen, but it seems fair.

What do your parents say about your career?

To me, they don’t say much! But I believe that they are proud, even if they are not particularly demonstrative. They are australians!

Does Stella, our 20 years old daughter, want to follow in your footsteps?

I don’t think so. She is seriously studying in College. I was a bad student, very distracted.

Have you experienced amorous temptations while shooting your films?

No, I’ve not experienced that.

To be attracted to your co-star, you’ve never experienced that?

It happened… But cinema is all playacting!

You seem not very fond of the waves of enthusiasm that your success generates…

Yes, it’s embarassing. People don’t act naturally in front of me. I feel they are overexcited, uncomfortable. They listen to all I say, they stare at me. I must be careful.

You are intimidating.

But I don’t want to be! I want to remain normal!

So you don’t go out in public places anymore?

Yeah yeah I go out, I have a normal life. I go to the restaurant, I don’t want my little fame to affect my daily way of life.

Do you work on any form of spirituality?

Yes, I meditate several times a week, when I feel tired out. I force myself to stop, I go into myself. I meditate. I have learned. Now, I can do it on my own.