November 14, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

French actor Mathieu Amalric plays a wayward son in A Christmas Tale and the bad guy in Quantum of Solace

Do you get recognized a lot now for Playing the lead in ‘The Diving Bell and The Butterfly’? I have a normal life in France, because I try not to go on many television shows. So when people recognize me, it’s because they saw my films, which is nice.

Is it true you never thought of being an actor until your ‘Christmas Tale’ director, Arnaud Desplechin, put you in his 1997 movie ‘My Sex life’? Yes, it was his idea. He invented me! I wasn’t aware I could do it. I wanted to direct.

You’ve directed a few movies. Do you prefer it to acting? The real me is a director. In April, I’m going to stop acting and direct another film.

Your Bond villian in ‘Quantum’ is just you — no Blofeld scar or scary beard. I was really scared! I thought, How come I’m not lucky enough to get a prop to help me be a villain? And [director] Marc Forster said, ”Your eyes will be enough.”

You have three Céars, a.k.a. French Oscars. It’s just a joke! Me, a guy who never thought of being an actor, I have three? It’s stupid.

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