Rolling Without Limits

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Fabien Denaud, Actor With a Difference
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Fabien Denaud, Actor With a Difference

Fabien Héraud has managed something incredible for someone in a wheelchair: he has a starring role in a movie. He was chosen to play the lead role in Nils Tavernier’s movie, “De toutes nos forces” (With All Our Strength). He is a French actor and truly shines in that part.

A home-made video is what drastically changed Fabien Héraud’s life. He produced a short video with a group of friends. They were fooling around together and he was in his wheelchair. Nils Tavernier, the producer of the movie, searched for five months and visited over 170 organisations before finally finding the new lead actor for his movie, De toutes nos forces. This is how Fabien Héraud, who is twenty years old, became a professional actor. His character is Julien, a young man who decides to encourage his father to join the Ironman race in Nice, which is one of the most difficult sports events to take part in.

What was Fabien Héraud’s experience like from the time of the casting until the filming of his role? Well, at first, he decided to film the video of himself goofing around with his friends in his wheelchair. He didn’t actually take this seriously because he wasn’t sure he would get the part. What might have caught Nils’ attention is that Fabien fell on the ground, but he kept smiling nonetheless.

Afterwards, things started to move more quickly. There were other castings, in Paris, and then filming started. In order to get in touch with the character, Fabien had to take four months of personal coaching to manage to play the role of Julien. He needed to learn how to express the different emotions he would be using for the movie. His life is quite different from the one of his character, so the emotions needed would be different as well. Fabien tends to be happier than Julien.

It was a challenge for him. What he liked most was playing someone who is quite the opposite of who he is. His character tends to become angry, nervous and even try to escape emotionally. Fabien has never really felt that way in his own life. However, they have one trait in common: determination. Fabien loves to move forward and set himself goals.

Looking back, he has no regrets when it comes to the experience of taking part in this movie. First, he discovered the world of cinema and films. Plus, this particular movie sends an important message: forgetting about one’s handicap. He does not really consider himself handicapped. This is one thing he liked about the movie – it forces you to forget about that part of Julien. This is something that was actually a bit of a challenge for Fabien. He needed to make sure that Julien stood out more than his wheelchair, and that came through the character’s determination. Julien does not want to stay home doing nothing. He has goals for himself. He wants to do something and show his parents that he can.

photo credit:,manual

Leave a Comment

  1. Broken English
    Broken English
    Voted. Good for Fabien!
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  2. pftsusan
    What a remarkable person.
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  3. John Mark
    I think it is wonderful that Hollywood is casting more people with disabilities, older people and overweight people as actors and actresses.
    Log in to reply.

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