Once again, many thanks to our good friend, J for all the translations over the past few days.
Below is a translation of Billy’s appearance on Sacrée Soirée from December 16th 2009.
This is for entertainment purposes only. I’m an amateur and my French is far from perfect. Some of the audio was unclear so I made educated guesses as to what was said. — indicates where some words are missing; things in brackets are my comments.
Jean-Pierre Foucault: Live with you for Sacrée Soirée we have many surprises, there’s something for everyone (then a bit about phone in/text competition to win up to 20,000 euros) So, he is the hero of CSI, which is the number 1 TV series in the world, broadcast in more than 200 countries, he is also one of the producers of the series, and will reveal all the show’s secrets to us – William Petersen! (CSI theme plays and WP appears to huge applause) Good evening, William.
William Petersen: Good evening, Jean-Pierre.
J-PF: Good evening. (WP gets up again, bows to the audience and they eventually quiet down) Thank you. W, welcome to Paris. I think you love, you like our country a lot, is that right?
WP: I do, very much. We were in the south of France last spring for the television festival —(MIPTV)— and every time I come to Paris it’s just a great experience.
J-PF: You’re from Chicago but I believe that you’ve lived not too far from us, on the other side of the Pyrenées, is that right?
WP: (looks a little confused at the translation but soon understands the Q) Yeah, yeah, many years ago I lived in the Basque land in northern Spain and studied there for a year, and actually fell in love with the theater there. That’s how I became an actor.
J-PF: So, you’re here because of CSI, as I said a moment ago, a TV show which is known and enjoyed all over the world … I can’t give the actual number but there are millions of TV viewers who watch the series each week. How do you explain the success of the series? It’s very difficult to describe.
WP: It is. I mean we thought we were going to make a show that would be good and would find a certain audience but we were never sure how big it was going to be, but, uh, but we felt that forensic science and the way people solve crimes had changed and that nobody really had a language for that, they didn’t understand it and so we thought we would touch a nerve with the show but we had no idea that it would be such a success, all over the world. It’s amazing.
J-PF: As well as being an actor, you’re also a producer. Are you also interested in CSI work yourself, have you got into it?
WP: You know I was terrible in science when I was at school — I was just terrible. I just wanted to play football, baseball — I just didn’t get it. But since we started the show, I’ve fallen in love with science and I love the way Crime Scene Investigators are able to figure out what’s going on, how to solve these crimes. I mean, it’s wonderful to be part of solving the puzzle, putting the pieces back together.
J-PF: We’ve tried to decipher the mystery of your character. Let’s watch and try to understand.
(Clips from CSI start.)
Voiceover: He’s France’s favourite CSI, WP alias Gil Grissom, the genius of the Las Vegas CSI. In nine years he has examined close to 200 hundred bodies, investigated hundreds of crime scenes, collected thousands of insects and fascinated millions of TV viewers.
— (something about clues and science) —
Nick Stokes: How do you know all this?
GG: It’s our job to know everything
V/o: The least typical CSI on the show isn’t just a lab rat but a very special kind of guru …
Nick Stokes: what do you think about this
GG: Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless
V/o: — the leader gives out helpful advice to his young disciples …
GG: Breathe through your ears, it’s more comfortable.
V/o: But sometimes even the wise one gets into the action. A collection of clips … his biggest stunt was particularly spectacular (Grissom leaps out of a dumpster). Always impressive, Gil Grissom is a guru who — men as well as women
V/o: He can be quite a flirt …
Holly Gribbs: Is there a grasshopper in here?
V/o: He can even be a little risqué despite his gruff exterior.
Sara Sidle: Hey Grissom … could you come tape me up?
GG: I love my work.
Catherine Willows: It shows.
V/o: —(more on the Grissom as guru thing)
he has had such a success that he’s now retired.
Female voice: You’re tired?
V/o: Ah yes, in the US he has left the series, weary of playing the spiritual guide full time.
GG: Stop being fixated on me.
V/o: We’ll try, Gil, but it won’t be easy.
GG: (whatever he said in the Jello man scene)
V/o: True, CSI will continue but we’re going to miss you all the same.
J-PF: So, it’s true that you decided to leave the show during the ninth season. Why did you do this? Tell me why you left especially since it seems not to be going so well now. You are a producer.
WP: Well … I loved playing Gil Grissom and I loved doing CSI. In fact it was really all — nine years and I ended up being more GG than myself. I spent more time with him … I really felt — that I always wanted the show to be true and I really felt that Grissom, because of the things that have happened to him over the last two seasons have moved him to a place where it’s appropriate for him to leave CSI and I sort of just followed along with the idea because I’d done, I think he felt that he had had done everything he could do and that it was time to try something else. And I felt the same way.
J-PF: Can we imagine that he might come back?
WP: (pregnant pause) Well sure, anything’s possible (big grin).
J-PF: (in English) “Sure!” (laughs)
WP: You can “imagine” … (laughs)
J-PF: But is my imagination close to reality or is it a dream?
WP: Well … we’re talking about different things, we’re looking at some stuff, what I’d really like to do. You know actually at this point in the story, Grissom is in Paris at the Sorbonne.
J-PF: That’s great.
WP: Yeah, he’s teaching and, uh, that’s the story that’s going on now on CSI in America. And I’ve always thought of doing a CSI film set in Paris and Las Vegas, so …
J-PF: You’d be very welcome.
WP: Thank you. And I was very fortunate backstage to meet the great Jean Reno and I mentioned to him that I need an investigator from Paris to be a part of the movie and that he should call my agent.
J-PF: And what did he say?
WP: He’s interested.
J-PF: Not bad. That’s straight from the set of Sacrée Soirée. William, I have a question to ask you. Doubtless it’s the first time you’ve heard French spoken? On the CSI clips?
WP: Well, not the first time …
J-PF: Not the very first time.
WP: Yeah, you know last spring we were down in Cannes and we were in the hotel room and CSI came on, Les Experts —my wife and I watched it in French and I sounded so good and she said “How come you don’t speak French?” so I’m gonna have to learn.
J-PF: Indeed. I invite you to welcome your voice, your French double. His name is Stefan Godin. He is the voice of CSI. Here he is.
(WP and Godin speak briefly, inaudible)
Godin: (to WP) I’m really impressed. I’m really impressed. I’m really impressed.
WP: Oh, it’s great.
J-PF: So Stefan, how long have you been the voice of our friend, William?
Godin: Nine years, as long as Mr Petersen has been on, so it’s nine years now I’ve been dubbing his voice.
J-PF: So first a little exercise. We’re going to look at the original version, which we don’t know, because we’ve never heard you speak as you have this evening. So let’s watch the original with our friend William Petersen.
(clip from CSI pilot episode in English and then with French voice by Godin – Godin explains that normally they do the dubbing with a timed tape with the script captioned on it and how they gave him the French script backstage because the episode was at least five years ago. After a bit of toing and froing about detail, he does it, and well.)
J-PF: It’s not easy.
WP: It sounds great. When I heard him, in Provence, on TV, I was like “I have got to meet this guy”. It’s perfect, he gets what I am trying to do on the show, totally. He makes it better.
(Protests of no from Godin, J-PF)
J-PF: Thank you, thank you very much. Is it true that … Bravo, because it’s not easy to what you did, without the proper tools. A film, is it in the works or not?
WP: Well, we’re trying to … I’m trying to get some excitement going about making this film — in which there’ll definitely be a part for (indicates Godin)
Godin: I want to act in it, I don’t want to do the voice, I want to act in it.
J-PF: He’ll do your American voice.
WP: Stefan and Jean Reno.
(Thumbs up from Godin)
J-PF: Stefan and Jean Reno, that’s it. CSI, season eight, available on DVD. More than 4 million DVDs of the series have already been sold in France. And now William, in front of Stefan, I have the pleasure of presenting you with this award for achieving 4 million DVD sales in France.
(General thanks yous and goodbyes)
J-PF: A very nice guy, our friend, and also the (man who does) the French voice.