As sympathetic as he is in real life, Martin-David Peters trades his smile for a macho grin in Indefensible. At 54, the career of this father is in full swing. Despite Me Legrand’s villainy, we want to throw flowers at him rather than tomatoes.
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Martin-David, how do you view your character as Me Frédéric Legrand?
For an actor, Me Frédéric Legrand represents freedom. That’s what I like about him. He is a temperamental and unsympathetic being who can change his mood at the snap of his fingers. I have never before played a character who has such mood swings. It is truly liberating!
Naturally, viewers take a dislike to Me Legrand because of his macho behavior. Does the public opinion of him scare you?
I am aware there is negative energy in the cabinet. So, I expect — and I would like that, even! — that the people I meet in the street say to me: “I don’t love you!” He is not in the plot to please. Still, I hope that somehow viewers will learn to love it.
What could make it endearing?
Me Legrand has a comic side that the public will eventually discover. Sometimes he is in a good mood. Viewers will get to know him in other spheres than work, for example, when he lives a little romantic idyll. Honestly, he might be nice, that guy, but his life isn’t going well and it’s affecting his way of being at the firm. Since I dug deep into the character’s personality and backstory, I understand his motivations. I know where he comes from, so I have a hard time judging him.
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All the same, he was so mean to the young intern Inès… How do you explain his behavior towards her?
It is true that Me Legrand has a particularly aggressive attitude towards the intern, but from her point of view, it has a formative side for her. Deep down, he tells himself that little Inès knows nothing about life and that she does not know, unlike him, that a career in law can be extremely difficult. He thinks that if she is not able to face him, she will never be able to move forward in this universe.
Do you think Me Legrand is a good lawyer?
He claims he’s the best! He even says he has never lost a cause in his career. To interpret it, I clung to that. So I think he’s really good. When he pleads, he is extremely skilled and can even use charm when needed. In fact, he would do anything to win, whether it was legal or not. The shady actions he will pose during the season will have repercussions on the Lapointe-Macdonald firm, even if he is not really part of it, since he only rents space in the same office.
Participating in a daily TV series takes a lot of time. How do you approach this workload?
I have already worked for three years on the daily clashso I already knew this rhythm before agreeing to participate in Indefensible. My experience has taught me that success in a daily life is a matter of preparation. For my part, I do a lot of preparation at home before going on set. As my memory is not at its best, I read and reread my texts very often while listening to music, so that they flow once I am in front of the cameras. When I have questions, I join the creator of the series, Mr. Richard Dubé, who explains more specific situations to me. He and all the other members of the team are really there for us, the actors. Indefensible is a demanding contract, but I feel like everyone is helping us by protecting us.
What is it like working with Sébastien Delorme?
Sébastien doesn’t know it, but he’s kind of my role model. When I watch him work, I am amazed by his calm. He has the main role on his shoulders and endless text to remember, yet he remains relaxed. I see him go, and I say to myself that this is what must be done, that this is the key to his success.
In addition toIndefensibleyou played in My name is Muhammad Ali at the Quat’Sous, and we saw you in Audrey is back, The man who loved too much and After. What drives you to accept a project?
A bit of madness! When I have good offers that come up, I have a hard time turning them down. In Indefensible, for example, there are fabulous texts on gripping dramatic situations. This quality of writing makes my job easier: I just have to let myself be carried away by the words.
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You are living a period of exceptional success which comes late in your career… Do you savor it more than any other actor?
Sure! I finished my studies at the Montreal Conservatory of Dramatic Arts 28 years ago. I’m over 50, and that’s when things suddenly happen to me. I had contracts before, but it’s new that they follow each other in this way. At 54, I savor what is happening to me and I say thank you.
You are the father of two teenage girls aged 16 and 14. How do they react to your success?
They don’t talk to me much about it, but I feel that they are happy for me, especially since they know that my career has not always been like this. They saw me working hard to get there. Besides, they sometimes gave me the cue to help me learn my texts.
Do you think they will follow in your footsteps?
I don’t know if the game will interest them, but they are artists, no doubt. My eldest daughter is particularly interested in fashion design, while my youngest draws tremendously well and has a musical talent. They have art in them and if they become professional artists, I will try to guide them as best I can. I would like that. Why not?
What are your next ambitions?
I launched my first novel last year, Clark or the bear skin, of which I am very proud. I’ve been writing for a long time, and with this book, I really got a taste for the work of a novelist. I am therefore preparing to write a second volume. I already have a ton of plot notes and would like to sit down and take the time to write it. I’m thinking of coming back with the same character of Clark: he still has a lot to tell!
IndefensibleMonday to Thursday 7 p.m., at TVA.
My motherTuesday 8 p.m., from November 8, on TVA.
Martin-David is from the movie vikingcurrently in theaters.
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Martin-David Peters happy to play a character we love to hate in Indefensible
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