MONTREAL – Keeping busy has never been a problem for Quebec actor Lothaire Bluteau.
A French-language star in his home province, he’s appeared in major international motion pictures and on some of TV’s biggest dramas, regularly travelling between New York, Los Angeles and London.
He was seen last year as the enigmatic spy Hard Drive on TV’s “Missing” with Ashley Judd, matched wits with Jack Bauer, played by fellow Canadian Kiefer Sutherland on “24″ and mixed it up with the cops of the “Law & Order” franchise.
Bluteau’s newest project is “Rouge sang,” which translates as “Red Blood,” a historical thriller in which a young mother is forced to shelter five soldiers at her home. It’s being released in Quebec on Feb. 1.
But get him on the phone and he’s far from the brooding, mysterious characters he’s played in such movies as 1989′s “Jesus of Montreal” and 1991′s “Black Robe.”
He’s chatty when it comes to talking about living life in the fast lane. He also acknowledges his solid career came with sacrifices.
“It was very hard,” he says, his voice almost a whisper. “It’s not an easy life.”
Births, marriages, baptisms — the 55-year-old actor says he often had to relegate such events to the sidelines while he concentrated on his craft.
“This type of work has a very high cost. It costs you in terms of isolation, in terms of insecurity. The more experienced you are, the less confidence you have.
“But I love my job!”
He has taken some heat for not doing interviews when he has come to Montreal but he says he wanted to see his father. This time, however, he’s neck-deep in appearances on TV shows and interviews with reporters.
Martin Doepner, the director of the film, has nothing but praise for his star.
“I thought he would be a little bit inaccessible,” he said. “But on the contrary, he’s very human, very generous. This is an actor that has matured in his craft, in himself. He could have taken advantage of me but no, he was always part of the team.”
That doesn’t mean Bluteau hasn’t got plenty of opinions about the state of the film industry.
He says filmmakers have got to continue to challenge moviegoers. They can’t just crank out fare they think will get an audience.
“The day we no longer take risks and make movies just to get an audience — that’s when we’re going the wrong way,” he said.
He cited a 1989 Quebec movie that was aimed at France but didn’t gel when it came to authenticity, especially when it came to casting actors to play members of the same family.
“Everyone had different accents,” he said.
He said independent films can often create new waves and pointed to Quentin Tarantino’s uber-violent “Reservoir Dogs” that came out in 1992.
Bluteau said he shared a house with Tarantino when he attended the Sundance Film Festival and Tarantino was working on the film at the time.
“Everyone would say, ‘this is a great script but nobody’s going to see it’,” Bluteau recalled. “It was a huge success.”
That’s what he’s hoping “Rouge sang” will be but Bluteau won’t be resting on any laurels. He’s got projects in development in the United States. And once again, it’s at his usual breakneck pace.
“Five projects at the same time,” he says.