Félix Maritaud possesses a magnetism that radiates from the screen. For director Robin Campillo, it was obvious off-screen, too. Maritaud had no acting experience when Campillo invited him to audition for 120 BPM. When it led to a role in Campillo’s ACT UP biopic set in 90s Paris, an arthouse star was born.
“It’s been a pretty crazy and incredible trip since the day I got that part,” Maritaud says. No kidding. Within a year, he was cast in Knife+Heart and Sauvage, a trio of French queer indies that couldn’t be more different. Take Knife+Heart, a giallo slasher pastiche in which Maritaud depicts a gay porn star whose days might be numbered. It’s tremendously sad and also a hoot.
That said, it’s Sauvage that earned Maritaud a Rising Star Award at Cannes. His character, a gay hustler in Strasbourg, is malnourished, homeless, and addicted to crack. Yet he’s an energetic go-getter, livening up the screen with impulsive exploits. It’s a role few actors would dare play – let alone executive so vividly. Next up, he’s depicting Michel Foucault at a live art installation at Venice Film Festival. Movie-wise, Maritaud teases: “I’m impatient to share them with you.” As impatient as we are to see them.