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French Rapper-Turned-Actor Joeystarr Co-Stars In "Polisse" (Criticize His Performance At Your Own Risk)

by Emmanuel Akitobi
May 17, 2012 8:59 AM
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The feature-length French police procedural Polisse, from director/writer Maïwenn, has been garnering acclaim since 2011, when it took home the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.  This year, it received an impressive 13 César Award nominations; including a Best Supporting Actor nod to rapper/actor Joeystarr.

Described as a film which "follows the daily lives of a tight-knit team of men and women working in the Child Protection Unit of the Parisian police", Polisse could easily be dismissed as a big-screen French-version of Law & Order:SVU.  But after watching the film's trailer, and an explosive clip that feature's Joeystarr's character, I think Polisse deserves a serious look from American filmgoers.  Check it out for yourself:

Now watch Joeystarr do his thing in this exclusive clip:

Pretty intense.  Polisse opens here in DC and becomes available On Demand on May 25, and I definitely will be checking it out.  Make sure to check the listings for an independent theater nearest you, as Polisse could be in and out of theaters before one realizes.

But just who is Joeystarr, anyway?

While trying to locate more info on the 90's hardcore-rapper, I kept reading about how much of a bad-ass he is.  Originally of Martinican-descent, Joeystarr-- born Didier Morville-- formed the rap group Supreme NTM with partner Kool Shen in 1989.  Joeystarr's personal history is filled with accounts of volatile moments, including a troubled childhood spent with a violent father who killed his pet rabbit and then made young Didier eat it!  WTF?!!

It should then come as no surprise that violence and Joeystarr would almost become synonymous.  Before he started rapping, Joeystarr spent time in the Army, presumably learning how to kill.  13 years ago, he reportedly did several months in prison, for assaulting a flight attendant.

The strangest story I read about him, though, was an incident in 2003 for which he was publicly condemned for animal brutality, after he hit a monkey on national television.  Not that I'm a champion for the rights of monkeys, or anything, but I didn't want to believe that Joeystarr could stoop so low.  That was, of course, before I saw the tape:

I don't know . . . after watching the clip of Polisse and the clip with the monkey, I'm starting to see a pattern.  If he ever intends on working in America, he'd better not try that over here.  Monkeys in this country have rights, and they can fight.

Regardless, I'm interested in seeing the entire performance that earned Joeystarr a César Award nomination.  Most especially, I'll be looking to see if that explosive off-camera persona is present in his acting.  Although, after viewing the above clip from Polisse, I may already know the answer to that question.

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More: Trailer , Joeystarr

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  • M. Costa | November 13, 2012 8:29 PMReply

    You say that monkey's in the US have rights. I know you're being humorous, but you're also kind of hinting that you think animals don't have rights in France - like France is some backward country. The fact of the matter is France is one of the most advanced countries in the world, and Joey Starr was fined more than 9,000 dollars in 2002 for animal maltreatment. If he were caught again doing something similar, he'd probably be imprisoned. It also caused a lot of protest and anger towards him from the French public. So, my point is - animals have lots of rights in France, and in all of the European Union. The US isn't the only developed country.

  • Kathleen Burke | June 8, 2012 10:21 AMReply


  • BluTopaz | May 17, 2012 1:37 PMReply

    As for this movie not being written off as a fake Law & Order SVU, Elliott slapped perverts around worse than that every other week.

  • CareyCarey | May 17, 2012 11:54 AMReply

    It seems to be an injustice to man that wisdom comes after the storm. Would-of, could-of, and should-of are a poor defence against things in our past, but fortunately, with a little self-discovery, soul-searching and lots of pain, people do change. Not many folks truely change but again, some do. Now, I was hesitant to read this post b/c it had all the signs of a "set up" piece. You know, rapper turned actor was the first calling card for those who deplore the supposed untrained actors. Yep, we've been here before. But I know how that works so I read on. My interest was peaked by the news that the film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Okay, now we're talking about something relevant. And Joeystarr was nominated for a Cesar Award! Come on now, that's big. So he slapped a monkey... and? So he's an ex-rapper... and? But wait, let me go back. I met a Cesar Award winner. That's right, over at my blog I actually have a picture of me, him and Harvey Keitel. Anyway, the guys name is Guillaume Depardieu. He's the son of the actor Gérard Depardieu , a French actor and film-maker. He has won a number of honours including a nomination for an Academy Award for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac and the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in Green Card. Well, after his son won the Cesar he later went on to gain popularity - in not a very respectable way. Well, Guillaume Depardieu never fully recovered from a life of drug addiction, a road crash and a hospital infection which forced the amputation of his right leg. He also had been a male prostitute and gigolo as part of a teenage revolt against his father's famous name. He also served two jail sentences for theft and drugs offences. Heck, shortly after we took the picture he boarded a plane and later was arrested in Paris - for Heroin possession. At the age of 37, he died of pneumonia. Nevertheless, my motto is "What About A Time Called Now". Until Mr. Joeystarr shows me that he's anything other than an actor who made a few "misstakes" -- like all humans are proned to do -- I am looking forward to seeing (if I get a chance) the feature-length French police procedural Polisse. Why wouldn't I? It goes without question that I may not agree with the personal lives of many actors, but why should that stop me from watching them work their craft?

  • Cherish | May 17, 2012 11:34 AMReply

    Can he work in America? I don't know. Americans are not very forgiving of people who commit animal abuse. Violent past, assault (probably a female flight attendant)? Sure, we can look past that But slapping a monkey???? Oh no, can't have that...

  • Darkan | May 17, 2012 10:14 AMReply

    It still to this day amazes me how clowns like this dude get rewarded for their bad behavior. He was no different than some of the many so called thug rappers/R&B singers over here in the states who turned from violence to playing cops and the garnered big paychecks after teaching years of anarchy to our children and never having to answer for it. What was the point of slapping that monkey around? Did the monkey cuss at him or something?His team will eventually have him say that was in the past and have him apologize then he'll win an Oscar. Sad world we live in. SMH.

  • CareyCarey | May 18, 2012 10:41 AM

    No Blutopaz, I've never said that nor did I imply such. In fact, May 17, 2012 11:54 -- I said.. "Now, I was hesitant to read this post b/c it had all the signs of a "set up" piece". So coming through the door I knew Emmanuel Akitobi was serving appetizers along with the main meal. That's right, some folks like to get filled up on the succulent pre-meal snacks, but I'm a meat and potatoes man. In other words, you obviously fell for Emmanuel's french dressing served on a plate of okeydoke -- I didn't. I kept my eye on the real prize while trying to warn others of the hazards ahead.

  • BluTopaz | May 18, 2012 9:52 AM

    In other words, your latest soliloquy defending a violent scumbag (who never apologized, btw) has nothing to do with this thread.

  • CareyCarey | May 17, 2012 8:19 PM

    Wait BLUTOPAZ, I forgot. You said " You [Carey] still have not explained what this has to do with this particular guy?". Well, I've been told if you're in a debate with someone, it's not wise to ask a question that you don't know the answer to. You could end up with egg on your face. So if you didn't know, let me remind you. This is a film blog - right? Okay, this film, Polisse, received 13 Cesar Award nominations; including a Best Supporting Actor nod to rapper/actor Joeystarr - right? But for some strange reason you and others tried to invalidate it's accomplishments by focusing on a monkey who was slapped over NINE YEARS AGO! OH LORD... the horror of it all. That's what this is all about - right?

  • CareyCarey | May 17, 2012 6:38 PM

    Yep, now BluTopaz we've come to the end of our road. Although you call what I am passionate about -- my "shtick" -- if loving them; those who may have committed an err in judgement, but have now found a better way -- is wrong -- I don't wanna be right. So it looks like we've come to another love TKO. BYE.

  • BluTopaz | May 17, 2012 6:07 PM

    Whatever dude. You still have not explained what this has to do with this particular guy, esp. since he has not gone on any redemption tours. I feel VERY strongly about someone who hurts anyone who can't fight back, just for the hell of it. But you go on defending his ilk since that's your shtick--in my eyes he is a mean thug.

  • CareyCarey | May 17, 2012 5:19 PM

    Now come on BluTopaz, it's not nice putting words in my mouth. To that point, I obviously do not agree with your characterization/summation --> "scum of the earth tendencies". So I am not going there with you. However, what I am saying is whenever I "hear" people berate another person for a past "error" I tend to walk lightly around them. I don't want to say they're standing on too high of a horse, but I question rather or not they've every committed a crime, and exactly how would they like to be defined and/or characterized? I am suggesting that not you -- I -- or anyone is above reproach and conversely, each of us, with the will to move forward, can change. Now, in reference to who I give the most credence/respect/credibility/ listening ear, as I've said many times -- make no mistake about it -- I believe it's wise to listen to those who have blazed a path before you. That's especially true when said individuals have shown that they've actually walked the talk, not those who are simply talking that thang -- to impress others or be in a popular crowd -- yet, are showing signs that they themselves are not practicing what they so haphazardly let fall from their mouth.

  • Pastor | May 17, 2012 4:54 PM

    @CareyCarey-- You want to show me something about being in the closet? There you go again with that innuendo. I don't want to go anywhere near about anybody's closet. You're going to have to come on out of there if you want to show me something. I heard you were a freak, Darnell, but I didn't know you were so flirtatious with it. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • CareyCarey | May 17, 2012 4:41 PM

    Hello Mr. Pastor. You obviously are mistaken. If you've been really paying attention, I don't do lowlifes, freaky ministers nor fools. I run from them like they're the black plague, aka, The Black Death! Although, at times, I do make exceptions -- like today -- b/c I am talking with you. Now listen, pay close attention, you might learn something. I defend those who have accepted and admitted their indescretions, and thus, began the auguous task of moving forward on a path of being a better person. My position here has not changed. I side-eye those who continue to vilify a person who may have committed a grievous offense against society -- when the alledged offender is trying to move on in their life. What purpose does it serve to throw mud in the path of a man every time he or she tries to walk a straight path? And to your question of where I served my time -- I've "sat down" in Iowa and Illinois. Where did your uncles serve their time -- I may indeed know them? Are they out? Are they good men? Have they turned their lives around? And to your last point -- my closet? Well son, there's a phrase/analogy that speaks to one going in their closet. It's not a place where one hides skeletons -- it's a place where one can find quiet time. It's a place one goes to be alone in an effort to find themselves and find answers to their seemingly hopeless condition. Now I don't wish to run you off nor beat you upside your head with a message that you're obviously ill-prepared to handle, but check this out. There's a singer by the name of Le' Andria Johnson who sings about going in her closet. Listen and you might learn something. I know... I know... it's hard to teach old scaredy cat fake moniker using negros new tricks, but just -- just for me -- give it a try. LeAndria Johnson

  • BluTopaz | May 17, 2012 4:01 PM

    @ Carey--please. That is simply reverse classism on display. So you only listen to people who have shown scum of the earth tendencies--whoopie. This point is not about your lack of moral compass, it's about some dude most of us have never heard of exhibiting a cruel streak towards a helpless animal. And I personally am not interested in knowing whether or not he actually apologized, I have nothing invested in watching him or any of his projects. If someone does something like that on national tv, no telling what this mf has done when there are no cameras around.

  • Pastor | May 17, 2012 3:37 PM

    @CareyCarey-- Wow, dude-- you must have some serious skeletons in your closet. You always seem to jump to the defense of lowlifes . . . and freaky ministers. What's that about? Where did you serve your time; you may know some of my uncles on the inside.

  • CareyCarey | May 17, 2012 2:02 PM

    Folks -- listen -- the optimum word is "ex"________(fill in the blank). Besides, there's alway something to learn from those who commit grievous offenses against morality. Ironic as it may be that the offender turns out to be the voice of reason, it does not trump the fact that they've changed. Why harp on a person's past as if that defines their future and who they presently are? And I've said this before -- a choir boy cannot lead me out of my storms. I need to believe the person or persons, has walked in my shoes and come out the other side. I ain't studdin' those who talk that talk, but has not walk the talk.

  • BluTopaz | May 17, 2012 1:33 PM

    @ Darkan--totally agree with you. An ex-pimp playing a cop on a show about sex victims has always been so ironic to me (re: Ice -T & SVU). As for this cretin here, looks like he has a real mean streak, hitting a defenseless animal. He's only playing himself if his character likes to slap people who can't hit back.

  • B'Tion | May 17, 2012 11:12 AM

    @Other Song-- When the media reports on a Mel Gibson project, do they omit the fact that he stays doing wild shit in his personal life? Can the media report on Dave Chappelle without bringing up old stuff about him breaking down years ago? What about a Lindsy Lohan project? If you did it, people are going to talk about it; especially if no one knows who you are, and they want to know. I never heard of this dude, so it's interesting to read about his background. At least we won't be surprised the next time he does something . . . like beat up his pop star girlfriend (Chris Brown).

  • other song | May 17, 2012 10:51 AM

    you mean unlike those wholesome white rockers and pop singers who taught nothing but good deeds to our kids? Get the f*ck outta here! This whole post is stupid. I don't really care about Joeystarr as a person. At the end of the day, is he good in this film? Yes/No? To waste yours and my time talking about his personal life in the context of this article is just silly.

  • Vanessa | May 17, 2012 9:14 AMReply

    Umm..I'm disturbed by him hitting the monkey. He turned me off from wanting to support any of his work. I got chills.

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