“I feel like I received a Palme d’Or!” : the pre-fame portrait of Nicolas Maury


He is an actor, screenwriter, director and now a singer. But how did Nicolas Maury get there? Wednesday in Culture Media, Lisa-Marie Marques rewinds in her “pre-fame portrait” the life of the person who plays Hervé in Ten percent and looks back at what happened to him before he became famous. Nicolas Maury was born in Limoges and grew up in Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, in Limousin. A gentle, calm and sensitive child, he is affectionately nicknamed “chiffon” by his mother. A nickname that will inspire the title of the first film he directs, rag boy.

Expressions taken literally

This wise child amuses those around him with his funny habit of taking all French expressions literally. Like when his mother asks you one day to clean your room, otherwise she will burn everything. Nicolas Maury then takes the lead and burns his own business. “I was fascinated by fire, so I am an arsonist. Beware of Europe 1”, he laughs in reaction to this revelation.

It is with this same first degree that the young Nicolas Maury listens to his mother talking about bricks to talk about money. A mother who also speaks of “magic wall” to talk about the ticket machine. One day, the “rag boy” sees bricks on a bus stop. “Mom, if there is a lack of money, there are bricks on the bus shelter!”, he then tells her seriously. “I even went to get them with my little bike. I rode on them, I came back home with two bricks,” he recalls today. “And the same for elbow grease: my grandfather told me that I needed elbow grease, and I went to the Bricomarché to ask for a can of elbow grease.”

A dodo among the rabbits

As a child, Nicolas Maury also had the ability to fall asleep anywhere and anytime. This is how he scares the whole family one day during a game of hide and seek where he falls asleep in his grandmother’s closet, without anyone being able to find him.

“Another time, I fell asleep in a hutch with rabbits,” adds the artist. “It’s like in a fairy tale and rag boy deals a bit with that too, I have a bit of a Goldilocks side, which is to say I can fall asleep anywhere.”

Pop the madeleines

When he’s not sleeping, Nicolas Maury is passionate about cartoons The clever little ones, of which he still knows the credits by heart. In a completely different register, one day he secretly watches the film The Vampire Ball by Roman Polansky. “This film marked me enormously, because it condensed only hyper crazy beings, vampires, technicolor stuff… I loved this film”, he explains. At that time, Nicolas Maury also spent whole days with his record eater, on which he listened in a loop Snowy day of Elsa or Be My Baby by Vanessa Paradis.

But Nicolas Maury’s childhood memory, his Proust madeleine, is a real madeleine: those of the Bijou pastry shop in his village of Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche. A cake which Lisa-Marie Marques offers him a box in the studio. “It really moves me, I want to cry. It’s not possible, it was really my 4 hours!” Rejoices the actor and director, before devouring a madeleine. “And to open them we made them explode. It’s magnificent, I have the impression of receiving a Palme d’Or.”

At the age of 12, Nicolas Maury enrolled in theater lessons, on the strength of the shows he already gave for his family, where his sister sometimes dressed him up as a gypsy. From the second class, he was educated in Limoges to follow a theater option, before joining the National Conservatories in Limoges and Bordeaux, then winning the Paris Conservatory at the first attempt. “If I don’t have the Paris Conservatory, I stop,” he had warned his parents.

“My parents were so permissive and they are not at all from this milieu. I found it quite brilliant and beautiful that they let me pursue this destiny of actor. And I told myself that I wanted to integrate the best school to to be able to tell them that they had not just made an ugly duckling”, he says at the microphone of Europe 1. Nicolas Maury then follows the training of the Paris Conservatory, before turning for Riad Sattouf and Yann González. But it’s his role as Hervé in Ten percent that he will truly reveal it to the general public.

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“I feel like I received a Palme d’Or!” : the pre-fame portrait of Nicolas Maury