In Critically Acclaimed 'Solo,' Théodore Pellerin Channels his Inner Drag Persona

Frank J. Avella READ TIME: 10 MIN.

Félix Maritaud and Théodore Pellerin
Source: Music Box Films

EDGE: I appreciate how Sophie staged the intimate scenes. There was nothing gratuitous about them yet, they were so sexy. Did that change much from page to screen? Was it something that you all worked on together?

Théodore Pellerin: So, that wasn't on the page. We asked for that. We wanted them to have sex at some point. Because the question that we kept asking was, Why does he stay? And how can we make it believable? So, we had to have an aspect of physical chemistry that was there, and also as a way of reconciliation after arguments, and then sometimes [for] leverage or, sometimes, power dynamics that get very troubled. But it wasn't on the page. We added that.

But yeah, people ask me, like, "Why is he staying?" I think that's always the question that we... ask these people who stay in those with toxic relationships, right? Even violent in relationships. And when you're stuck in one of them, it's really hard to understand what it creates in someone. That's what we wanted to explore, the disintegration... where you're not sure where you're going, or what the truth is anymore. It gets so blurry. I think that can happen in relationships where love is so conditional... There's always this dance, and you start to morph yourself and transform to adapt to become this person who will have this constant love, and not this love that will be taken away. Then you start dissociating and losing yourself, because you aren't loved... And it's the same thing with his mom. He is not in a secure relationship where things are discussed, Everything is hidden... And that can really put you in a state of distress and really lose contact with yourself. And you don't know anymore what you deserve, or how you should be treated. And most of the time, they will do something that's awful, and then you will end up apologizing and being the one who feels like, "I did something wrong," right? It's terrible to see someone stay in a relationship where they shouldn't, but that happens all the time.

EDGE: There is an "All About Eve" vibe with Olivier. Whether it was conscious or subconscious, he seemed to want to destroy Simon's confidence and almost take over his life.

Théodore Pellerin: Yeah, yeah. I think that that's also what we wanted, to start off as someone who is very strong – he doesn't start off as a victim at all. He's successful. He has a strong family. He has friends. He has all these things, the security that Olivier doesn't really have. Olivier is new to the country. He doesn't have any relatives. So, yes, I think that there is very much an aspect of that, which is why Olivier is attracted to him. He kind of wants to be a version of him. And Simon wants to be a version of Olivier. There's very much that exchange happening. Oliver is just a little... darker.

Théodore Pellerin
Source: Music Box Films

EDGE: I loved Simon's relationship with his sister, Maude. Alice Moreault is amazing. A part of me wanted a film exploring just their relationship.

Théodore Pellerin: Yeah, to me, it's the relationship of the film – the most important one. It's the one we start with, and it's the one we come back to. And it's the one where love is truly unconditional, and it's very strong. Yeah, I very much agree with you. And I think that Alice is an extraordinary actress, and I loved all my scenes with her. It's definitely the relationship that is the most healthy, and the most important for him.

EDGE: Does your process change from film to film and across mediums? Or do you have a particular way you like to approach the work?

Théodore Pellerin: It does. It's always dependent on the script and the needs of the character and the story. And also, the director... What I have learned that I need – and it will sound very simple – but it's truly to answer all the questions. So, my technique is [that] whenever a question arises, I need to answer it. That is the way that I work. If I have a question about a world, about a dynamic, I will go and read about it and learn everything that I can learn before I go back to the script. And that question is answered... So, my goal is, when I get on set I can, in one breath, talk about the whole script and the whole character, because everything relates to everything. And everything makes sense... I can then be spontaneous and live through it, because I am not in fear of having questions unanswered.

EDGE: What can we see you in next?

Théodore Pellerin: Well, there's "Franklin" on Apple TV+ that just came out last month, with Michael Douglas. And "Becoming Carl Lagerfeld" that comes out on Disney+ and Hulu in the States on June 7th.

Watch the trailer to "Solo."

"Solo" is currently playing in New York at IFC Center and opens Friday, May 31, 2024, in Los Angeles at Laemmle Glendale. The film opens in wider release on June 6, 2024. For a complete list of theaters, follow this link.

by Frank J. Avella

Frank J. Avella is a proud EDGE and Awards Daily contributor. He serves as the GALECA Industry Liaison and is a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. His award-winning short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide ( Frank's screenplays have won numerous awards in 17 countries. Recently produced plays include LURED & VATICAL FALLS, both O'Neill semifinalists. He is currently working on a highly personal project, FROCI, about the queer Italian/Italian-American experience. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

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