Théo Curin, former vice-champion of the disabled world, plays Sam in the TV movie TF1 “Handigang”. A first role held alongside the former host Alessandra Sublet. For Allociné, he is looking forward to his new acting career.
Already appearing on the small screen in Plus belle la vie, Théo Curin took his first steps as an actor for the needs of the TV movie Handigang, shot before his participation in the telenovela France 3 but which arrives only tonight at 9:10 in the afternoon on TF1 . At the microphone of Allociné, he opens up about his decision to stop sports competitions to devote himself to new areas such as comedy. What are his future projects? What was his experience on Handigang? Answer.
Allociné: We all know you as an athlete. What prompted you to embark on this new acting career?
Teo Curin : Simply because the opportunity presented itself. I started in Vestiaires on France 2 but I embodied my role. It wasn’t much of a cinema because I had to be myself. During the first birth, I was contacted by a film agent and I accepted because it was an opportunity.
Then there were Handigang and Plus belle la vie. I accepted because cinema made me dream and seemed inaccessible to me. I’m from the countryside, my parents couldn’t afford to give me acting lessons and nobody around me is an artist. So when I found out I had to go to castings, I was happy that it materialized and I discovered a real passion in this profession.
You don’t have to be disabled to deliver disability messages, same for the LGBTQ + cause
What prompted you to accept this role?
The occasion is already extraordinary: it’s prime time on TF1, as a protagonist, it’s incredible. Reading the script, even though I don’t want to be the spokesperson for people with disabilities, the topic moved me.
I was touched by the story of Sam, I have never had a teenage crisis because at 13 I left my parents’ house to study sports in Vichy, almost 500 kilometers from them. I’ve never done anything stupid, and that’s what I loved about this scenario: the opportunity to do things I’ve never done. What I like in cinema is to embody people who are not.
Finally, this film is an extension of what you’ve been doing for years using another format …
That’s why I accepted the project. This film is about difference, we are talking about disability but also about homosexuality, for example. We talk about all the differences and it is the message that I have been trying to convey for years. Besides, you don’t need to be disabled to send disability messages, same for the LGBTQ + cause … as long as you’re motivated!
The best is when we get together! This is really the message I want to convey and this film is an example of that. Obviously it is based on the adolescence of a person with a disability, but it also speaks of homosexuality, which is a very important subtlety. Vincent (played by Arthur Legrand) suffers more from his homosexuality than from cystic fibrosis, for example.
It was also an opportunity to kiss a man for the first time in my life. [rires]. For the record, this scene was shot on the second day of shooting. I didn’t know Arthur yet, it was a lot of fun, this sequence connected us.
I want to break away from my swimming image
You don’t swim in the TV movie, it might be amazing for your fans …
Precisely, what’s great about the TV movie is that it tells Sam’s story and not Theo’s. I want to break away from my swimming image. Later, if I’m offered for a sequel, I’ll do it. But it was important to set the scene in another way.
How do you identify with Sam?
Simply wanting things to happen and also daring. Sam dares, like me, to break the codes, say what he thinks, respond to teachers or be independent. The first thing I wanted when I left the hospital was to be independent. I couldn’t stand my relatives helping me because I knew I could do it on my own, even if it required training. Sam can’t stand being helped less and less by his mother.
Was it complicated to expose yourself so much?
In no time! As long as the people around you are nice, that’s enough. The shoot may seem impressive, but the people who got involved in this project knew it wasn’t just a TV movie.
Did you understand the fight scene?
No. On first reading, I didn’t like this sequence very much because I was inactive. I was just pushing someone at one point. So I told Stéphanie Pillonca (the director of the TV movie) that I wanted to fight too and she said “Ok”. She brought in a stuntman and a crew who wrote the choreography for me.
This is one of the scenes where Stephanie watched the combo less because she was afraid something would happen to it.
We worked on it for a whole morning, I will remember it for a lifetime. It seems to me that this is one of the scenes where Stephanie watched the combo the least because she was afraid something would happen to us.
Finally, it’s a very strong scene because it can happen in real life. Stéphanie’s strength is that she knows how to evaluate things. For the fight, we opted for something new that had never been seen before.
Did you recognize yourself in this fusional mother-child relationship?
Yes, and that’s what I liked about Stephanie because she added scenes that I suggested to her. I found that a contact scene between the two characters was missing because my parents helped me a lot when I was young with my prostheses for example. When we were shooting with Alessandra Sublet, I really saw a mother in front of me. During the scenes where she was helping me, it was simple and easy, natural. Although there were several cameras around us, it felt very natural.
Have you ever faced the same problems as your character in school or elsewhere?
Not really with regards to accessibility issues, as I was able to walk very fast again with my prosthetics. On the other hand, I have friends in wheelchairs and I can clearly see the difficulties they have in Paris or other French cities. The problem I suffered from at first, but no longer, was the gaze of others. Why was everyone looking at me like that, like I was an alien in the night?
Then one day I realized that the gaze of others was human. Sometimes I also look at others. For example, today, if I meet a person with blue hair on the street, I look at her not because she is judging her but because I am not used to seeing her. And when people look at me on the street it is the same, there is no particular judgment. When I realized it, I simply started living again.
How did you feel on your return to high school for this photo shoot?
Honestly, it was good. Also, there were real students doing extras. He made me laugh going back to high school, even though I hated him at the time. In fact, I think I’d rather go to high school for fantasy purposes.
We talk more and more about people with disabilities …
Is there enough talk of the inclusion of people with disabilities in France?
We talk about it more and more. I am very positive about it.
Several months ago you crossed Lake Titicaca, today you are the protagonist of a TV movie. What’s next?
There is my next sporting challenge, the “Santa Fe-Coronda” race which takes place in Argentina [57 km à faire à la nage]. I would also like to get other roles and I am also a fan of television. I would love to have my own TV show someday and be able to do both: comedy and animation.
You have declared that you are discontinuing sports competitions. Are you going to fully focus on your acting career?
No, because I will continue to test myself from time to time. I decided to stop competing because I was facing ranking problems, but it is true that now leaves me time for other requests, going to castings, shooting a film or series, imagining television projects. It’s easier now.
If I put all this together, I wouldn’t have had a minute to myself. I’m 22, I don’t want to burn out and I have no taste for everything that happened at 30. It is important to find a balance. Today I am very satisfied, I like the diversity of my life. For a month I was promoting my book, now I’m on Handigang and also I’m training. I am currently also writing a short film with a friend, it will be shot this summer and I will act.
My dream is to get a role that doesn’t require you to be disabled and my second dream would be a movie with even more stunts, even if I play a disabled person.
Finally, what would be the perfect role for you, the one you dream of playing?
Frankly, I think there are a billion roles I would be interested in. Little anecdote, once, I had an argument with a producer, I said that it was not normal for the handicapped characters in the film to be played by able-bodied people. And this producer told me something very interesting and true in my opinion. He told me that it was also an actor’s job, to embody things and people that we aren’t necessarily. Being an actor is knowing how to act comedy, sadness, euphoria … but it is also playing a blind person, in a wheelchair, paraplegic … Then, I thought to myself … If we see things from this angle, so it means you can also see me playing someone able-bodied or at least in a normal role.
One of my dreams is to do a casting for a rather tall man with curly hair and that’s it. Obviously my handicap will show, but I don’t care, and the director has to be in the same mood. After that, I have to make sure I have the qualities to play the role. And on the contrary, I also like to embody the role of a person with a disability as we did with Handigang because it allows us to add even more truth.
So my dream is to get a role that doesn’t require you to be disabled, and my second dream would be a movie with even more stunts, even if I play a disabled person. The day we shot the stunt for the movie was my favorite part of the shoot, I had never done it in my life and I loved it.