MEETING WITH EDGAR GIVRY
Edgar Givry, a French actor with an impressive theatrical, cinematographic, television, and dubbing career, is the voice - among other English-speaking actors - of Richard Dean Anderson, ever since the beginning of the MacGyver series thirty years ago. He has worked on all the seasons of MacGyver, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, as well as some post-Stargate roles. We had the great pleasure of attending the Toulouse Game Show on Sunday, November 27, 2016, to meet these two actors who had never met before. There was thunderous applause when these two "inseparable" adventurers of the small screen spontaneously gave each other friendly and respectful accolades. On stage, they performed a totally improvised dubbing performance that enchanted the audience. A stealth encounter yet powerfully iconic for all the fans.
A little later in the afternoon, I met Edgar Givry. A few days before, I had expressed my wish to be able to speak with him for a few minutes and he kindly offered to meet us for a discussion at the TGS. Kind and friendly, with an approach "à la O'Neill" and a jovial smile, he confided in me his joy at finally being able to meet Richard. During the course of the conversation, I realized that the dubbing was not, for him, a simple job from which one disconnects when the hours are finished. On the contrary, Edgar immerses himself completely in the soul of the actors for whom he is dubbing. He confided in an interview given to François Justamand a decade ago for the webmagazine "Objectif Cinéma": "The secret of successful dubbing is to be sufficiently freed from the technique, which is so constraining, to be able to reproduce as closely as possible what the actor expressed on the screen: his breathing, the nuances that he put in his performance, his phrasing... in short, you must know how to forget your own personality in order to serve the other." So he got to know Richard Dean Anderson in all the nuances of his special performance, but also beyond his roles and discreetly followed his life, in order to best capture his personality. He does not hesitate to say: "I learned a lot from Richard to do my job as an actor."
I asked him why the opportunity had never presented itself in three decades to meet Richard. He then spoke of a missed rendezvous one summer... He no longer remembered the famous year when Richard had come to spend a few vacation days in France at the home of friends on the Côte d'Azur. It would have been in 1987. That year, Richard hoped his arrival in France would be as discreet as possible. However, as soon as he arrived at the airport, all the newspapers had spread his picture on the front page... Impossible for this man, so careful to preserve his private life, to take advantage of his vacation while being the target of the paparazzi. He preferred instead to shorten his stay and the meeting between the two men was not able to take place.
Asked how he got the dubbing role, Edgar Givry shared a funny anecdote: "You know," he asked me, "how Richard got the role of MacGyver?" Of course, I replied, hair disheveled after a motorcycle ride (without a helmet), his jacket a little worn, sneakers... "Well, I arrived at the casting call in nearly the same way, a boat ride, a windy day, and I still wore my rubber boots... and I was chosen." And an osmosis happened quickly throughout the seven seasons and two telefilms that comprised MacGyver's adventure. At the time, it was the Start Company located in the Pathé Studios in Montmartre, which handled the dubbing of MacGyver until 1991, then moving to the famous studios of Boulogne Billancourt until their closure and demolition in 1995. A few years later, when the Stargate SG-1 franchise arrived in France, the Parisian dubbing studio SOFI (which no longer exists as of February 2016), under the direction of Michel Salva, was in charge of recording the French version of the series. Edgar Givry had worked there for several years and easily slipped back into Richard's sneakers (pardon, his new US Air Force uniform), for a new voyage of a good ten years.
Edgar explained to me that he had recently been asked to lead the French dubbing team for the new MacGyver series. Although he shares an opinion rather similar to Richard's on this new series, which he feels is too far from the original spirit, he has agreed to keep this experience on a more "managerial" side, adding to the already long list of his artistic skills.
There was a lot of respect in Edgar Givry's voice when he talked about Richard Dean Anderson. He had spoken with him behind the scenes a few hours earlier and was still amazed by what he had said to him with the spontaneity and humility that characterize him: "Thank you so much Edgar. You made me famous. Your voice is sexier than mine"...
Their personalities are not so different, in fact. They both share a common sense of humor, spontaneity, simplicity, kindness and a keen sense of empathy and modesty. Thanks also to you, Edgar, because your warm voice is not only the voice of O'Neill and MacGyver, it's also the voice of a man of heart, a man of talent, it is yours and we love it.