In the mid-1990s, Haitian actor and film director Jean-Gardy Bien-Aimé took a crew of young actors with him to Cap Haitian, Haiti’s one-time capital in the 19th Century, and the second largest city in Haiti to film his third movie Le Cap a la Une.
The film didn’t have an extraordinary plot—the script was basically about a few young Haitian professionals who after vacationing all over the world—decide to have a staycation in Haiti, not knowing that their lives, especially that of Marco, a young doctor among them, will change forever. The film established Jean-Gardy Bien-Aimé’s standing as a romantic drama director, after directing a couple of satires like Les Gens de Bien. But most of all, it made a heartthrob out of Smoye Noisy, who played the male protagonist Marco in the film, and eventually made him one of the most recognizable actors and faces in the Haitian movie industry.
Probably realizing what he had going for himself, Noisy was very selective in terms of his next role. Several years would pass by before he would be seen in another film. The project in question, Millionaire par Erreur, a film he himself had written and that Le Cap a la Une director Jean-Gardy Bien-Aimé would direct. Sandra Lobir and Réginald Lubin, fresh off from their roles in La Peur D’Aimer were on board, as were a plethora of new faces. In the film, Noisy played the governmental employee Stéphane, whose integrity as a state employee, hadn’t exactly won him the ill-gotten gains of his embezzling colleagues. After getting laid off, Stéphane goes to withdraw his last measly dollars from the bank, only to find himself being catered to generously by the bank’s personnel. Unbeknownst to him, his account was the beneficiary of a $3 million dollar deposit, intended for a millionaire’s daughter (Alessandra Lemoine), but mistakenly placed in his account. The inspirational film’s happy-go-lucky plot, made it a big favorite with moviegoers and DVD buyers.
Noisy would star in two films, back to back; the first a screen adaptation of a popular radio soap opera series in Haiti Vanités, Intrigues, Passions (or VIP, as it’s known), and the second as Mike in Le Miracle de la Foi, the love interest of a young woman discovering Christianity (played by the late Ginou Mondésir). It seemed to most movie observers that Noisy was really stretching himself with each role, going from comic to dramatic and back again. There was a bit of Marco in Didier de la Rue, but the role of Stéphane Roustand in Millionaire par Erreur, was far from either of those roles. Nowhere was Noisy’s growth as an actor more apparent than in the role of de la Rue in Vanités, Intrigues, Passions. The movie found him playing a loving husband whose love is not too unconditional, whose fragile ego leads him to be unfaithful to his wife (played by Sophia Désir, the series’ creator). Some say that the role of Didier was Noisy’s best role, in terms of what the demands of the character, as Noisy’s gifts as an actor were fully displayed through Didier’s journey from the state of a traditional husband who refuses to yield to the idiosyncrasies of his modern wife to compromising slightly to bring domestic peace to his household. But some feel the best is yet to come. Keep reading to read our interview with the actor.
Tell us about yourself, your childhood.
Talking about myself is not something I feel too comfortable with. I only want to be the type of person whose circle, whose surroundings benefit from what he has to offer and who helps build in a world where people choose to demolish, to vilify and destroy.
I spent practically my entire childhood with my grandmother, in simple surroundings, in an environment where respect reigned, and where one gave respect to everyone. My grandmother was an extraordinary woman who never had any arguments with anybody. She was a diplomat without words, and that’s a philosophy I unfortunately had to discover much later on through my own personal experiences in life.
Out of all the films you’ve been in, which one is your utter favorite ?
The one I love the most has got to be Millionaire par Erreur, because it was a production that brought together a lot of talent and competence from the private sector within the country and placed them all in one project, which even today has become a benchmark for Haitians all over. Millionaire par Erreur is like a family photo album of the biggest names in show business.
A lot of your fellow actors have left Haiti. What motivated you to stay?
Some people have thought it over and have seen that leaving is the best for them, while there are others who estimate that leaving is not the solution. I think I fall in the latter category, happily I say, because every Haitian cannot leave the country. Who’s going to stay behind to water the plants and to open the door for the others if everyone leaves?
Would you say that Haitian cinema is dead?
I wouldn’t say it’s dead, but we can definitely say that it’s lost a bit of speed, and that it’s still looking for its way. If you’re inside a car, you can’t beat a faster speed than the car will allow. It’s the logic to explain the current state of our cinema right now. But we can believe that the country will recover and that our cinema is what can help relay the message to help transform the mindset that makes it so difficult for us to cultivate the riches and assure prosperity within the country.
Out of all the characters you’ve played Marco (Le Cap a la Une), Stéphane (Millionaire pa Erreur), Didier (Vanités, Intrigues, Passion), Mike (Le Miracle de la Foi), which would you say is the one most like you?
I liked Marco from Le Cap a la Une, which was my entry into cinema, alongside Jean-Gardy Bien-Aimé, and because it was a production that allowed me to discover and evaluate the potential of film as a medium in our community. It was the first film that exposed our talents in that field and that opened the doors for Haitian cinema.
What advice do you have for young actors who are emerging on the scene today?
This advice isn’t necessarily for up-and-coming actors, but for all young people, no matter the field they’d like to get into. First, choose what you really want to do, and let your passion drive you. Remember it’s notability and talent that makes one succeed, but attitude, respect that you show for yourself and people around you. And also to never forget to put forward work and discipline towards what you believe in.
Some people consider you to be the best actor in the industry.
Each and everyone has their own criteria in choosing their favorites, driven by their emotions or passions, then if I’m their favorite, then it’s an honor and a privilege that touches my heart, and that I receive with a great deal of pride. And at this time, I’d like to say that I love them very much, and I thank them for all their encouragement.
What other actors do you look up to?
I have a great deal of admiration for Tonton Bicha, who I find to be outstanding with natural, original talent. Also, Reginald Lubin whom I consider to be a multiple-threat. That’s in terms of Haiti, but we have a lot of others outside of Haiti who are also doing some great work.
A lot of movie fans thought that your part in the last film you did—Journée d’Cooleurs—was a little too brief. What’s next on your plate in terms of movies?
I’d love to do a film that really showcases Haiti’s reality, with a screenplay that has the input of every Haitian in Haiti as well as overseas, and together we can build something worthy, that’s going to be a source of pride of us all. In regards to Journée d’Cooleurs, it was just a cameo that my friend Bertony Volmar wrote in for me. The actual actors were a couple of young talents, who needed more of a platform, and thanks to this movie we came across a lot of great sources of talent that were available and ready for great performances.
Where do you see your career, say five years from now?
My biggest dream is to see Caribbean Group succeed in finally getting Haitians to sit together to come up with a formula that can help us to fully showcase our talent potential and other riches within us and around us. That’s my biggest dream, and that’s not going to change for years to come, for as long as God gives me breath.