Jerome Pradon has starred in many musicals including "Martin Guerre' at the Prince Edward Theatre, "Miss Saigon' at the Theatre Royal and "Les Miserables' in Paris and "Napoleon' in Toronto. His film roles include playing "Ricard' in "The Brylcreem Boys', "The Choreographer' in "The Dancer' and "Judas' in "Jesus Christ Superstar'. He's just finished a run as The Man in "Whistle Down The Wind', and Soho Independent spoke to him backstage about his rising stardom in theatre and musicals.
Talking to Pradon, the international nature of his career is evident simply from his voice - an observation he is used to. "My accent is all over the place because I am constantly coached for whatever part I am playing. For this part in Whistle I am coached in standard American, but normally outside of work my accent is a mix of French, English and American. I come from an anglophile family so we used to go to see films with subtitles a lot - I learnt that way."
This theme develops naturally into one of performance - and Pradon loves the fact that he is able to perform in different places in different languages. "I love doing both - every time I do too much of one I miss the other part. If I do six months or a year in the West End, I start to itch to do something in French and then I go back and then I want to come back here. At the moment I would like to do something in French now as I have been working for six months on Whistle, although I did have time off to do a TV film in France during the London run."
Pradon is also interested in expanding his non-musical acting - the TV film, which is due for a sequel, is as a policeman. "I'm not tired of musicals, I love them, but since the roles have been getting better, I am at a point where that unless it is a lead in a new musical or something really interesting I would now prefer to do straight acting in England, France or the States."
One of the problems of stage acting, particularly in musicals, is the repetition - but Pradon says "it is just a case of always being new to the character and to what is happening on stage and be fresh every night. You learn your craft better than in film, because you do it over and over again. When you are in front of a camera you have to do it immediately. This role I'm doing now is very challenging, there are so many areas and dark corners you can explore... that's what I like about theatre, it is always different. Of course, some nights are better that others!"
Pradon has three top musical memories that he shares with us. "I have three fantastic memories - Les Miserables because it was my first and it was a complete discovery of the joy of doing acting and singing at the same time on stage...it was mind-blowing. Another was "Killing Rasputin"' which was a very small piece and very intimate, I was Rasputin, it was very special and dark and challenging. And I loved doing filmed theatre, which was Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar" which was probably one of the best experiences of my life because working with Gail Edwards was an amazing experience. When you work with great actors and directors you are in a state of grace; it doesn't feel like you are working at all, just this sort of trust between you and the director and you go for it and let yourself go. I had to go to extremely dark places with Judas, it was a hell of a character."
Jerome Pradon is quick to provide a thorough overview of his coming-soon appearances. "I will probably do the sequel to the French TV film next. I want to do a one-man play that I translated into French from the English with one actor playing 5 characters, 2 men and three women, a real challenge. It is called Road Movie written by the Englishman Godfrey Hamilton, which I saw at the Drill Hall and I thought it was great material. It's a fantastic opportunity for an actor because it is a great way to show your abilities. It is a love story between 2 men about loss, grief, Aids and is very moving but funny. I will take my time to do that, however, it is a tough piece and you need to be really prepared for it. I feel that I can grow old and it will always be there for me to do. I think that it's important not to hurry, not to rush into things - I suppose that doing things quickly isn't my ambition, it's more to be a good actor and do roles that I am proud of."