Variety Columnist Liz Smith

from Variety (US) / by Liz Smith

HAD LUNCH with Marion Cotillard who plays France’s great singer Edith Piaf in the hot film “La Vie en Rose.” This young Frenchwoman has made 10 films, speaks perfect English, resembles a combo of Natalie Portman and Winona Ryder, and gives an astounding performance as “The Little Sparrow.” Marion portrays Piaf from her 20s to her tragic death at 47. Piaf came to haunt Marion’s dreams. She found it impossible to get out of being Piaf. Once she smoked a cigarette and later dreamed the singer sat on her bed saying, “You just can’t smoke a cigarette if you want to play me.” She told me that when the French were asked to name their 100 most important persons, they named only two women — Madame Curie and Edith Piaf. … Cotillard made me laugh describing working on another film for director Tim Burton — “a genius” in her eyes — down in Montgomery, Ala. We were discussing interpreters and she said, “We really needed some there on ‘Big Fish’ to explain to New Yorkers what the Alabamians were saying.”

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