For the third time, Gaspard Ulliel is reprising his role as the Bleu De Chanel man. Previously directed by Martin Scorsese and James Gray, the latest film sees the French actor working with Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen. As initiated in the first campaign, the theme of desire for freedom has Ulliel portraying a man who has matured and now seems more serene as he embarks on a new quest for inner peace.
“This new facet is what appealed to me,” Ulliel reveals. “I like the way this man has evolved; it’s almost as if we grew at the same pace. He is constantly looking to break with convention and the diktats of society. He scoffs at prejudices and is happy with who he is, but his approach is more mental than physical now.
“This time, he’s making an inner escape. I think it’s a valuable philosophy, especially in today’s world. He is sincere and constantly calling things into question, which means that he is constantly delving inside to find out who he is and trying to reconnect with it all.”
Shot in Bangkok, the campaign includes underwater scenes filmed in London that were extremely challenging. “We shot the scenes in an enormous swimming pool that was 10m deep and installed in a room heated to 40°C (104°F), which was a first for me,” recalls the actor. “But the real difficulty was when it came time to remove my mask and oxygen tank: you can’t see anything but a blurry mass of water and you lose all bearings, so it can quickly become overwhelming.”
All to the compelling rhythm of David Bowie’s “Starman”, McQueen’s riveting footage is enhanced by the fragrance’s signature midnight blue. The intensity of the new scent is further heightened by the message at the end of the film: it’s right in front of you.
“To me, it perfectly summarises the story of the new Bleu De Chanel man,” says Ulliel. “It almost takes the opposite stance of the first film, which raised a lot of questions at the time. Now, the phrase speaks for itself: the obvious choice is right there, you just need to know where to look.
“What’s fun is that the beginning of the film leads us to believe the hero is searching for a woman he saw in the building next to his, but in the end, we realise he’s looking for something else … Actually, I think he still doesn’t know where to find it, but now he knows what to look for. He no longer wants to dream about his life, but live his dream.”