An Interview with Frank Leboeuf
The ex-Chelsea defender is now a mildly successful actor.
Most people know Frank Leboeuf as the guy who went from being given a gigantic egg-shaped lump on his head by Vinnie Jones's blitzkrieg Wimbledon to a World Cup winner and general poster boy for the follically challenged everywhere. Frank was a cult hero during his time at Chelsea, a centre-back in a bizarre time-loop where his elegant touch, ridiculously good long balls (seriously, they make Gerrard's entire career look like a Frank Leboeuf tribute act) and diminutive frame seems far more suited to today's game than his own era.
But nevertheless, the man was a bit of an enigma in football, the kind of geezer you could imagine sitting on the King's Road sipping an espresso and reading In Search of Lost Timeas his teammates wrecked up a couple of strip clubs in Soho. It didn't really come as much of a surprise, then, to hear that Frank Leboeuf is now an actor, comedian and general polymath.
Apparently, this has been a lifelong dream for Frank. While at Chelsea, he shot the movie Taking Sides, and after spending a couple of years in LA learning the ropes and hanging with Owen Wilson, he acted in two plays in France, which were both comedies.
Still confused, I managed to track him down to his latest film Allies, a British movie about World War 2, for a chinwag. It's just come out on DVD if you want to see Frank in action; he's pretty good.
VICE: I see you're an actor now, Frank. And more than that. You're in funny films. Are you funny?
Frank Leboeuf: No. I don't find myself especially funny.
Following in the footsteps of Vinnie Jones and Eric Cantona, both footballers-come-thespians, must have been hard, considering neither have really taken off. Was it hard to be taken seriously?
In France, yes. They still think I'm a football player, like I'm still playing. But in the USA and England, I've been given a chance to show what I can do. Time is working for me and I just have to be patient before they decide to give me a chance.
What's been your favourite role you've played?
Certainly, being a French resistance fighter in Allies was very special. To be honest, I would have loved to have been in the film a bit longer to completely enjoy it. The nice answer is that all the different characters that I had to play were interesting and I enjoyed all of them.
How, as a Frenchman, did you end up in a British movie?
Strange one. I was on holiday in the Grand Canyon with my wife Chrislaure and the director, Dominic Burns, called and said he wanted me in the film. My wife helped me record a test scene. And it worked. Must have been the scenery.
If you could pick anyone in history to play you in a film – in Frank LeBoeuf: Ma Chambre, Mon Regles– who would it be?
I suspect some bald guy.
Jason Statham? Bruce Willis? Yul Brynner?
Which footballer would you most like to play in a biography of their life?
In terms of pure ability and personal charisma, the only fit is George Best... Even if the hair issue is a bit of a problem.
Who is the funniest person you know, Frank?
He doesn't look funny, I know. But I swear he is.
What sort of lessons did football teach you that you could take over to acting?
I guess it would be the discipline and the concentration. I always listen to the director and am ready to repeat and repeat the scenes if needed. And concentration seems to be easy to get for me because I had time to relax during a football game and be suddenly focused.
Now we get to the dark heart of the interview. What's your biggest regret?
Nothing. I don't live with regrets. You just have to take full responsibility for your actions like a man.
I captain a Saturday league football team – fancy a game next time you're in London?
Absolutely not. I don't play football anymore. There is a time for everything. And football is part of the past.
Thanks for talking to me, Frank!
I hope you enjoyed it.
Inexplicably, here's more stuff about Frank Lebeouf: