Gerard Depardieu in original polaroid shot during filming of scene in the film A woman or two.

Gerard Depardieu, Paris    


Original Polaroid shot during


filming of a scene in the film:


Une femme ou deux, 1985  


In Paris during early April of 1985, Steve Landis was invited by a friend, fellow American photographer Tom Biondo, to go along with him to meet French film director Daniel Vigne, at a cafe on Boulevard St. Michel.  Vigne was looking for a real American photographer to play the role of an American advertising photographer in a scene of his feature film comedy, "Une femme ou deux.

The film which starred Gerard Depardieu, Sigorney Weaver and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, was primarily shot in France, much of it in Paris, with a couple of days to be done in New York City.  To save money, they planned to shoot as much as possible in France, including shooting an interior in Paris, that in the story is set in a New York photographer's studio.  The Paris location people found the studio of top German fashion photographer Claus Wickwrath, in which to set the scene.  I did not know Claus Wickwrath at the time, only that he was a fine photographer.  I would eventually meet him about 15 years later, in 2000, in New York and relate some of this story to him.

Back to the lunch.  Some how Tom had gotten wind of the project and was told to show up to meet the director so that he might be considered for the role.  The reason he took me along was that he wasn't sure that he would be available, even if they chose him.  He already had a multiple days photography assignment pending in the States, during the same general time frame.  Vigne met us both and told us either of us would be fine with him, and if we were both available one of us could be the photographer and the other the assistant.  Tom's assignment came through and I wound up with the roll.  Also at the lunch was Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who kept telling Tom and me, to make sure we watched her on the Tonight Show, which she would be appearing on the following week.  Unfortunately, it did not sink in to Dr. Ruth, that we lived in France, where the Tonight Show was not aired.  We both nodded to be polite and indicated we would watch.

Vigne had me do some prep concept work, with lighting schemes, ahead of time, and I advised him on other technical details of what might transpire differently in New York verses Paris.  The scene was all improv, and in English.  I had to shoot and direct Gerard Depardieu, who played a reluctant male sex symbol cajoled by Sigorney Weaver's character, into posing for the advertising photo, that I was to create in the scene.  In the photo with Gerard as eye candy and for comedic effect, was the beautiful Julie Anne Freidman, wife of Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes. 

One of my suggestions to Vigne was to have a beautiful model, (which turned out to be Julie Ann), dressed in a sexy high fashion outfit in the photo scene with Gerard.  I suggested she be outfitted in clothes from Azzedine Alia.  No designer was in higher demand amongst the jet set in the eighties than Azzedine Alia.  So part of my duties included arranging and taking Julie Anne to meet Azzedine at his new atelier, in order to pick out an outfit for her to wear in the scene. 

When we arrived I could tell Azzedine had a question for me.  I'd originally met him through WWD.  One of the first designs of his every published in WWD was a photo that I shot at his old atelier, worn by the lovely model Anna Bayle.  He told me he had now banned them from his collections.  I don't know why, but Mr. Fairchild was often behind the scenes stirring up some controversy, with some designer.  He could be brutal at times if he didn't like something.   I informed Azzedine that I no longer worked with them either, and he immediately warmed up.  His little dogs were always barking and snapping at you when you'd come in.  He thought this was very funny.  It was.  It didn't bother me,  but I could see that he loved to see if people would get nervous in reaction to them.  



See a Polariod of Steve Landis on the set of the film, with a member of the art department. 

"Also in our scene was the hilariously funny Robert Blumenfeld, who played the New York advertising executive.  Robert is a New York actor, who speaks many languages fluently, and is a very interesting and entertaining conversationalist.  In the first part of the scene where I'm primarily acting just with him, he leaves me in the dust so to speak.  It was improv, and he is just sensational.  I was a rookie and was trying to hang on for dear life.  It was a wonderful experience. 

In the second part of the scene I had to actually shoot photos of Gerard Depardieu, and direct him as I would in a real photo shoot.  They would shoot different angles for coverage, and I would try to repeat what I'd just improvised.  I found acting with Gerard was easier than with Robert.  But I was also playing myself, at that point, and the ice was broken.  I'll never forget though, after they did the master shot and close-ups of Gerard and Julie Ann, it was time for my close-ups.  I had to repeat the whole scene, while looking at a technician holding a pole with a bare light bulb on it, pretending that it was Gerard and Julie.  They had gone off the set.  It was at that point that it finally sunk in, that's why they call it acting.

About the photographer . .
Steve Landis shoots fashion and beauty imagery.  New York based, Steve Landis specializes in celebrity portraits, covers and editorial pages for leading international magazines.    His style of artistic portrait photography is rich.  Known for high quality black and white photography, his portfolio work is sought after by a select group of  male models, female models, actors and actresses  Creating simple but powerful images are trademarks of Landis' work.




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