Pierre Morel, a Frenchman in Hollywood


Film. The antithesis of auteur cinema, Pierre Morel is the director of Peppermint, a sharp American action film. Meeting, at the Deauville Festival, with a French director become bankable in Hollywood.

 Interview : Jacques Braunstein
Images : Olivier Schmitt for Else

It’s not Tarantino, not John Woo either … Nevertheless, the “success story” of Pierre Morel is incredible. He directed Taken, number one in the US box office in 2008. Did From Paris with Love with John Travolta and Gunman with Sean Penn. Today he directed Peppermint a 100% American movie starring Jennifer Garner as an exterminating angel determined to avenge his family.

A sort of feminine version of John Wick or Death Wish, the original “revenge movie” with Charles Bronson that Pierre Morel confesses not to love so much. Peppermint is above all a character of a strong and armed woman who recalls those of her mentor, Luc Besson (Nikita, Lucy …). The director-producer who gave him his chance: cameraman on Taxi 2, director of photography of The Transporter then director of Banlieue 13.

Peppermint went so far as to shoot in Los Angeles. While many big budget American movies are made in Vancouver or Detroit. In part because the film won the lottery of the tax credit in California, he explains. This allows him to walk his camera from the Hollywood Hills to the streets of Skid Row, the homeless neighborhood, rarely seen in the cinema. How did this native of Caen become director of a film produced by the company to which we owe Underworld, Hyper Tension or Million Dollars Baby ? Interview.