By Sasha Frate
Patrice is a guy who has been humbled by his life’s circumstances and people that have come into his life along the way. He has a tough-guy appearance with his built physique, his love of motorcycles, and playing roles like that of Russian mobster Anton in the Nicolas Cage film Rage, but he’s actually a funny and sincere guy who appreciates close friends and the positive influences that have helped guide him in the right direction. Born in Paris, Patrice was raised half the time in an orphanage and half the time by his ailing grandparents. He aspired to become a baker at a French boulanger-patisserie school, but meeting someone at age 14 gradually steered Patrice in a positive direction, away from his small life in a bad neighborhood.
When they met his friend was 45, but had been diagnosed at 18 with muscular myopathy and wasn’t expected to live past 30. He encouraged Patrice to improve his own life with exercise, telling him that he was only alive because of his strict exercise regimen. Patrice told him that he would love to go to the gym, but admitted he could barely afford to eat every month. This friend already had a family, but he was determined to invest his time into helping Patrice change his life. He told him he would pay for the gym, food and supplements every day until he could begin to manage his life on his own.
After about three years, Patrice began to compete with the help of his friend, winning “Mr. France” at age 18 and placing 2nd in the world championship at age 19. The first time he brought his friend to his competition in the world championship, his friend told Patrice that he had achieved his dream for him. After some time, at about age 25, Patrice became world champion, but his friend passed away a month before this accomplishment. Patrice buried his bodybuilding career with his friend, and the devastation at the loss drove him back down the wrong path. He worked as a bouncer at a seedy nightclub, where he went through a period of fighting and spending time with dangerous people. After being shot twice, Patrice realized he needed to change his life again. He began modeling for magazines and attended to school in Los Angeles and later Paris for acting, which fueled his acting career.
Is there any particular person who you consider most influential in your life?
Cols: Obviously my friend, but my grandfather was also a good influence who taught me the basic rules of life. I also met several people who know [acting] very well and have given some advice. They have helped me in life, and it’s been good for me to have very good people around me.
What inspired you to pursue an acting career?
Cols: I always thought it was interesting to interpret characters through acting, and I wanted to try to build characters different from myself.
You look amazing for your recent role of Russian mobster Anton in the Nicolas Cage film Rage. Can you tell us about your fitness and nutrition aspects of training for this role?
Cols: Typically in France, you don’t need to be muscular for movie roles, and normally I don’t go to the gym, but instead do exercise on my own like TRX, Pencak Silat in the park, stationary bicycle, and mountain biking. When not preparing for a role, I try to train like this all the time. The only thing I need is diet and to use my own body weight to train, such as with TRX. I also try to maintain a good diet, which for me means avoiding alcohol, fat and sugar during the week. On the weekend, though I still eat and drink badly and smoke a cigar.
My training for this role consisted of one trip per week to the gym which consisted of 2 hours of circuit weight training upper body biceps, triceps, and shoulders, 4 times a week of Pencak Silat, 4 mountain bike rides, and back, chest, and arm workouts with TRX – 3 times per week for a period of about two months.
Did you do any specific training to prepare for your fight scene?
Cols: Not for this role, because I practice this type of thing all the time with Pencak Silat. We talked with the producer about what he wanted for this movie, and I had to emulate a character who seemed dangerous. He told me to find someone interesting, and I wanted to portray somebody very dangerous –like an animal-which actually reminded me of a friend of mine.
Do you have any upcoming film projects you are currently working on?
Cols: I have two projects, but I cannot discuss them yet as they aren’t officially assigned. One will be filmed in the U.S., and the other in Mexico. Everybody is always working on some project – we are artists- but until you have the finished product, you cannot be sure how it will develop. Sometimes for a film project, they are waiting for a lead actor, and sometimes they are waiting for money to fund the project.
What is the greatest challenge you face when preparing for your roles, and what motivates you to overcome it?
Cols: I don’t actually find this a challenge at all. You have to create and build a character, and you discuss this with the director. You create the character, you think about something you did or saw, a friend, or situations you’ve been in. Sometimes you construct a character, and the director says “no way!” Sometimes it is a difference of opinion of what constitutes a great actor or character. It’s your job to propose something for the role, but for me it’s not a challenge. You have to wait and see if it is good or not according to the person who has something in mind for what they want to see for the role in their film.
What is your diet like when you get strict for training?
Cols: I wake up at 5am every morning, eat rice with some egg whites, and practice Pencak Silat at 6am. I eat a seasonal fruit in the late morning. Lunch is rice with chicken or salmon. In the afternoon I eat peanut butter on bread like a sandwich, and dinner is usually fish and vegetables.
What is your favorite style of music to listen to when training?
Cols: I actually never listen to music when I train. I listen to music just to listen and enjoy the music itself, and I like Classical, Blues, Jazz and Classic Rock.
What inspired you to live a healthy lifestyle?
Cols: I like to smoke cigars, drink, and eat, but I want to live longer. If I don’t take care of myself and have a proper balance, I will be overweight. I like exercise and keeping a healthy lifestyle, but I also like to enjoy the richness of life. If I do only one I will not be healthy and happy.
What do you do when you are filming?
Cols: When I go to the set I’m not on a diet, because for me I’m already prepared when I go to the job. I just concentrate on my job. In the mornings I do cardio workouts, but if I want to have a drink, I do. When you are filming you already expend a lot of energy.
You rode for your role as Anton in Rage, but in real life you are also an avid biker. Tell us about that.
Cols: Yes, I like all kinds of motorcycles really. I rode a Japanese sport bike for my role in the film, and here in Paris I drive an older Triumph. For longer trips I take my Bobber Harley, like to Spain and Portugal. This summer I rode to Spain from France with a friend, and we camped along the way, cooked meat over a fire, drank wine, and smoked cigars.
Do you have a philosophy you live by?
Cols: I try to live how I want, but I also try to avoid negative influences on my life. I have a couple close friends around me, I try to watch out for them and spend time with them. This is important to me, because we live only once. When I look back, I’ve lost so many friends. We have only one life, and it is too short, so we have to take advantage of all the good things in life.