Why are you a sponsor of Cetasea?
Usually I’m not very “celebrity”, “reason” because it’s hard to find time in our work. And then Frederick Gilbert contacted me and said that we need to find a place for the treatment of marine mammals. I couldn’t say no, especially after my Big Blue experience. I became the mascot of the sea, I am an actor, a hedonist, an egoist, but I am also a sponsor of an association for the disabled. There are things you can’t say no to.
Isn’t it easy being a cetacean sponsor?
This requires a lot of energy. We are still looking for a location and investment. We are faced with a general lack of consciousness that puts nature above profit. Everyone is to blame. We are in a society “dependent” on modern life. Following this logic, in Cetasea I try to be an ambassador for this cause.
“I became the talisman of the sea”
Prior to Covid, there were leads to find shelter for mammals. Are you starting from scratch?
No, not really, because everyone has been wondering since Covid. We may come to the time when we make a choice. Our theme of conservation of mammals and the aquatic environment is also becoming fundamental. That is why I give underwater concerts to change our perception of water becoming sacred.
Yes, they are organized by Michel Redolfi in water at 35°C. He puts the speakers in the water, plays sea music, and I sit on a saucer, sitting on the pool, reading poems about the sea. In Toulon, we did it in the bay, it was magical. It’s the opposite of a nightclub. Suddenly the show becomes more than just entertainment, it becomes spiritual. I also want to contribute to this awareness.
“Our topic of conservation of mammals and the aquatic environment is also becoming the main one”
This awareness, how long have you had it?
I think about my role as a citizen in a world where peoples have become mafias defending capitalism. Today we are witnessing a struggle between the great powers. Where is the future? The outbreak of the third world war will not make the planet think any more. What is a citizen? Where do I stand in this discussion? We forget the main thing.
Has the sea never left you since “Le Grand Bleu”?
I’m like everyone else: I live in Paris and hardly see the sea. I had the opportunity to meet Jacques Maillol (whose story is told in Le Grand Bleu by Luc Besson, ed.). Maillol opened the doors of man’s relationship with this element. Today we understand that the real revolutionaries are the Amish and Native Americans, who have a real relationship with nature and its conservation.
I grew up in California, in San Diego, by the sea and worked on fishing boats. Then in 1979 I went to live in London to do theater. Before I met Besson, I made a film by John Boorman. Besson chose Christophe Lambert, but who said no. I passed the casting, spoke English, French, knew the sea…
“The image that I created does not concern me”
In France, your image has remained tied to the “Big Blue” …
The sea, especially others who associate me with it. I try to put my heart and mind on something really important. The image I created, I have nothing to do with it.
It is the viewer who retains this image. They understood this connection with the sea, this passion. I’m just an image, so I don’t take this celebrity seriously. I’m not tired of people talking to me about Big Blue, the world is a big shelter and I’m a good nurse. I see the world like this! (laughs). And besides, my eyes are not blue, but hazel!
What gives you this depth and dedication?
I had a dual life between France and the United States. In the 1970s, actors were politicized, as was Saint-Georges of the time. I had a choice between being a priest or going to the Air Force Academy. I spent a month in the seminary and discovered that you can be good without being a priest. In the Air Force, my father, US Air Force Colonel Harold Barr, served in three wars. I was born on a military base… I understood that I had to make my own choice. I left home, went to drama school, met my then wife, a Yugoslav survivor of the clashes… I made a career with Besson, with Lars von Trier, I work in complete freedom. I realized that I could live without selling my soul to corporations. Today I have a 6 year old boy named Jude from an Italian mother. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.