Christian Bégin has had a fruitful and diverse career for 38 years. Animator, actor, author, he wears many hats and, as he himself says, he will not have enough life to carry out all the projects he has in mind. Through this flood of occupations, Christian manages to clear his mind and relax when he goes to his home in the Kamouraska region, where we went to meet him.
• Read also: Christian Bégin gives details on his next show
• Read also: Christian Bégin joins the cast of Indéfendable
Between the shows you host and the ones you play in, I imagine that your home in Kamouraska allows you to clear your mind …
Absolutely, and that’s one of the reasons I bought it 13 years ago. I’m always worried, in my head and in my life, so just going to the street and back home allows me to decompress. It’s a way, let’s say, of lowering the intensity of my activities.
How did you come to buy it?
I discovered Kamouraska a long time ago when my son was younger. We were going camping in Gaspésie and, one day, we stopped at a campsite located on the river bank in the Kamouraska region. We really fell in love with the place and went back for a few years. Then there was a big pause during which I didn’t go back. During the second year of Curious start, we did a show there and I made friends with people who have become very important in my life. At the end of this shooting, truly enchanted by the place, perimeter of about fifty kilometers. Our vegetables all come from local horticulturists, even our meats. That said, it is Marie-Fleur who carries out this project at a safe distance, day after day. She really changed her life, she sold everything in Montreal, she moved in with her boyfriend and her kids, she got really big move. I participate remotely in the administration, in the philosophy of places and in some collaborations with which I had told them that if one of them ever found a house for sale, this could interest me and that it would be nice to tell me about it. I told him without really believing it. I thought it would never happen. But a few months later, one of these people called me to tell me there was a house for sale in Saint-Germain. I went there and had an instant home crush, which didn’t give a glimpse of all the potential it could have. I knew immediately that I was home. It went like this: on a whim. I bought the house in 24 hours. Since then, I haven’t been there as many times as I wanted.
And it didn’t take you long to get involved with your fellow citizens …
The first years, when I lived in Saint-Germain, I was a city councilor. For me it was a way to integrate into the community, to observe, to look at what was happening and also to make people understand that I was not there as a tourist, but for myself, to settle there. After these three years, I had too much work, so I resigned from my position, but I continue to be part of the cultural committee. I have always been a good ambassador and a citizen who wanted to participate in the activity of his community.
And then, in March 2021, did you decide to become a grocery store owner?
Yes, with Marie-Fleur Saint-Pierre (a famous chef), we bought Le Jardin du beadeau, which is the grocery store in Kamouraska village and has been around for over 15 years. We have kept the same mission, which was to promote local products, we have improved the offer, we have established other partnerships; we created the grocery store we wanted.
How do you rate this experience after one year?
Let it be a wonderful adventure and that it also satisfies a need, because we are the first administration to have kept the grocery store open all year round. It is very rare in Kamouraska to have a business open all year round, seven days a week, and we found that this met a community need. It is a very conclusive experience for me, it is like searching for what I have sown for 15 years with Curious start, that is, supporting local producers and talking about who we are through what we produce and eat. I would say that around 80% of the products we have at the supermarket come from Quebec, including local products within a radius of about fifty kilometers. Our vegetables all come from local horticulturists, even our meats. That said, it is Marie-Fleur who carries out this project at a safe distance, day after day. She really changed her life, she sold everything in Montreal, she moved in with her boyfriend and her kids, she got really big move. I participate remotely in the administration, in the philosophy of places and in some partnerships with producers.
Kamouraska has truly become a destination …
Yes, whereas before it was more a place of passage for the passage to Gaspésie. We feel that a lot is happening here, that there are many young people who are investing in the region and that they are leaving. business. There is something like a renaissance in different regions; it also happens in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and in the Charlevoix region. What I like most is in fact the new declaration of love of a certain generation for peasant and regional life.
When you host your shows, you feel fascinated by the people who are with you. Has your curiosity always led you to reach out to others?
Yes. What actually happens is that I participate in programs whose concepts allow you to meet people. These are fairly unifying concepts, and Curious start, are still 15 years of meetings. I have always said that it was not a cooking show, but an excuse to meet, because I am not a chef in life. As for There are people at mass, it’s also another way of meeting people and I feel it may have helped change, let’s say, some people’s perception of me. At one time, it wasn’t really unanimous. I was very polarizing and I cultivated this polarization through all kinds of public positions which, of course, were not unanimous. I think I have calmed him down and when I speak now I do so because I feel I can contribute to the conversation. If I have something to say, it must bring something new. I think differently, in fact, and I speak through what I write, for example in my new show whose official premiere will take place in October at Outremont.
One thing is for sure, people still like to see you animate and play!
There is something that has been established over time. Curious startare many years of TV, with There are people at mass, we have just shot the sixth season and we are ready to do a seventh. So there is something in time that ensures that there are bonds, let’s put it this way, that are intertwined between me and the people who are sensitive to the work I do.
Is it a bolder show than the previous ones you will present?
I have not censored myself. They are really the words of a boy of my age who wonders about the world in which he lives. He realizes that business changes and that he doesn’t always have the disk on the pallet. The show is still under construction but I would tell you 90% of the show is finished and so far the response has really been beyond my expectations. My biggest concern with that show was wondering if I still had something to say and if what I had to say was still relevant. After presenting it twice in the break-in, these experiences tell me that yes, people want to take this journey with me. It’s a fun show, but there’s always this association between the comical, the less comical, the serious, the silly and the anecdotal.
Do you think being very present on TV will encourage people to go and see your new show, The 8 deadly sins?
I think so. This is perhaps what explains why I already have a good tour itinerary (as these lines are written, the shows are scheduled until next February).
See you too Boysand soon you will play Indefensible. Are you surprised to be present in your career today?
I never thought I would have the trajectory I had in my profession. I’m lucky, because when I started animating, I was never locked up in a box. I continued acting, created a theater company 25 years ago with Les Eternels Pigistes and even wrote. I have diversified and multiplied my playgrounds, but I never thought I’d have this trajectory. The word gratitude is very often overused, but I must say that I am grateful every day for what happens to me. 38 years have passed. There have been more stormy passages, but for a good fifteen years it has been constant and I have always been offered new deals. I’ve never had a career plan, I don’t believe it, and I see that at my age people still want to work with me and believe that I can carry on projects too. It is quite exceptional, I would say.
In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between you and your Christian in character Boys?
There are many, because Christian, in Boys, is homophobic and verges on misogyny. Besides having the same name, he is very different from me. We may share the idea of aging, which I am not at peace with. It is not the business that I find the most fun on Earth, because I feel that I will not have time to do everything I want. Making choices is sometimes difficult for me, because I want it all! Otherwise, this Christian is very different from me.
Christian, you will be 60 in 2023. Are you planning to slow down soon?
Whenever I say I want to slow down, everyone around me starts laughing. I can’t do it, it’s kind of a lie I tell myself. I am learning to live in peace with the fact that I will never slow down, it is in my very nature. I’m like that, I always leave fifty thousand projects. I realize that when I do nothing, I am not well. I feel like life will eventually force me to slow down.
You also play another role, that of father! How is your son?
My son will turn 30 this fall. The more time passes, the more our relationship is rooted in something new, because he is a young adult who has the life of him. He spent four years in Seoul, now he’s settled here, got married and has a great job, his life is going well. And the nature of our relationships is also changing. It is happening and I am very proud to see his trajectory and the way it unfolds in life. He is a boy who has recovered in a thousand ways, who has also lived through many adversities and who has managed to do great things with his life. Really, he is very comfortable with my son.
Read all the news about your favorite stars in the latest issue of the magazine The week currently on newsstands, or online at jemagazine.ca
YOU ALSO LIKE: What Happened to the Charlotte’s World Actors ?: