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In the meantime, he's doing press for his summer flick "JCVD" starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, which opened on French screens earlier this month. "He is like my Proust madeleine," says El Mechri, who has always been a fan of "the muscles from Brussels," and who grew up fascinated with the idea of the American dream, encapsulated by the Belgian actor.
El Mechri refers to Van Damme's story as more of a rise and fall, but that's what makes the film interesting. Inspired by the action star's own life, the film was a hit at the Cannes International Film Festival and will later be released in the U.K. and Japan.
No slouch, El Mechri will go straight from work on "Midwife" to begin his next project, a comedy about a fashion editor who gets fired and creates her own magazine. "It will be very light. That's the regressive part in me," he says.