Marion Cotillard

originally published in French Premiere, March 2008

translated by Mariana

An Oscar? A César? Marion Cotillard is our star. Ever since Olivier Dahan chose her to incarnate Édith Piaf, Première was there.. We went with her to Prague on the set of La Môme, we witnessed her metamorphosis and we followed her new vie en rose across the world. Those who crossed her path since her debuts confide to us… Two or three things that they know about her…

Marion viewed by…

“Oliver Dahan saw a photo of a teenage Piaf and fancied to make a film about her. But the film being expensive, I warned Olivier that I was going to have a hard time getting it done based on the sole name of Marion. Very quickly, we understood that everything was doing well. When Marion started to incarnate her character, to create it with her physique, her voice, her cheeky humour and her carriage… it galvanized us! I waited all the same to see if she was going be convincing for all the chapters of Piaf’s life. But every day brought its portion of good news. We quickly knew that we were going for something big. I was proud I helped the blooming of Marion’s talent. Moreover, I was the one who commended her to Ridley Scott for A Good Year. If she hadn’t done La Môme, I’m sure that her talent would have expressed itself elsewhere. To define her in one word, I’d say: sincerity. Marion is incapable of being hypocritical towards others or towards herself. It’ll be her big strength. She doesn’t calculate.”
Ilan Goldman, La Môme‘s producer

“She’s my most beautiful encounter cinema-wise. We resemble each other, we both hate female relations, jealousy between girls… She’s absolutely in accord with what she declares in the media. When she says that she’s bio and an ecologist, I confirm it to you. She actually becomes hysterical if she sees someone throw some paper in the street. And at her home, all the products are organic. You open her fridge, you go to her bathroom, you freak out. She only takes showers, she sorts her garbage. She’s the person who’s the most actress and the least actress that I know.”
Mélanie Laurent, actress in Dikkenek

“I had seen her in Les Jolies Choses by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. I thought that she truly looked like a young Piaf, same silhouette, same gaze… She was the one, I had no doubts. I didn’t even make her pass any tests. Marion has hugely documented herself about Piaf, she’s read everything. Almost more than I did!”
Oliver Dahan, director of La Môme

“We spent one year together across the world to promote the film. We laughed a lot, chatted a lot, always in a light way. Marion is very spontaneous, human, hard working. And very beautiful too. She’s lucky to have gorgeous skin, smile and eyes, that she takes care of in a natural and bio way! She only uses organic beauty products and she taught me so much about it that I changed my way of working. She’s splendid when she has some red lipstick on, she seems made of fire. Because the colour red is like her, sanguine.”
Christophe Danchaud, makeup artist

“Marion is a friend. I met her on the set of Boomer, a short film. She even played in Narco by Guillaume Canet, but her scene didn’t make it to the final cut. She totally moved me deeply in La Môme. I had never seen such a performance in France. The more the film went on, the more I was overwhelmed by what I was seeing. So much that in the end I wasn’t seeing anything at all. Marion had wiped herself out in order to become Piaf. Everything that’s happening to her today is so well deserved that I’m not that surprised. A regret? I had made tests to play Cerdan. I didn’t realize. Piaf didn’t talk to me. Marion, on the opposite, had totally immersed herself in Piaf’s universe. At her place, it was crazy: there were books, DVDs, documentation, CDs about Piaf everywhere. Marion was possessed. The Golden Globe, the Oscar nomination… It’s awesome. It’d be unbelievable if she doesn’t get the César!”
Gilles Lellouche, actor in Ma Vie En L’Air and Jeux D’Enfants

“In Taxi it was already clear and evident: she bursted the screen. She played Lilly, a light character, with such an intensity that we felt her huge actress potential. I remember her side that wants to go to the end with things, very hard working, exigent. Don’t forget that she comes from a family of artists, where being a good actor isn’t an evidence. Besides, she resembles Édith Piaf, someone who didn’t get things come her way easily. Even as a beginner, she already had a professional intelligence and an eye for her craft. She’s a long-lasting star and she will last for a long time. I’m very proud of you, Marion!”
Frédéric Diefenthal, actor in Taxi 1, 2 and 3

“I worked with Marion in 2001, shortly after the first Taxi. I saw a photo of her and I immediately wanted to work with her. When I met her, I was seduced by her charismatic, complex and unsettling charm. She has a harmonious alchemy, a successful combination between her smiles, her gazes, her way of moving and her way of speaking. Her attitudes unleash more questions than answers in a director and stimulate the imagination, mine in particular. For Une Affaire Privée, Marion showed immediately that she possessed a dimension that her character didn’t have in the script. Her spontaneous performance enriched the story in a way that I hadn’t planned. I didn’t need to speak. We were on the same wavelength. She was supposed to play in La Clé, but the success of La Môme didn’t allow it. Few actresses have her aura. Maybe Sandrine Bonnaire and Catherine Deneuve. I know for certain: very big roles are waiting for her, in France or in the United States.”
Guillaume Nicloux, director of Une Affaire Privée

“I met her thanks to Élodie Navarre, a mutual friend. While working with Marion, I was blown away by her multifaceted talent. She goes from seriousness to seriousness with a maximal intensity each time. She works hard on her roles. For Les Jolies Choses, I remember that she had imagined and written a diary for Marie, her character, to make her more real. Her performance was commented. It goes without saying that the success that she’s receiving now doesn’t surprise me. I saw her six months ago in Los Angeles, the Americans were crazy about her! For her, the United States will be a new and very exciting playing field.”
Gilles Paquet-Brenner, director of Les Jolies Choses

“Marion surprised me: she could have played in silent films. She has the simplicity and the openness that I expect from an actress. We shot Big Fish in Alabama – a special place, very crazy. In that kind of environment, it’s very important to work as a clan. The entire crew adored Marion.”
Tim Burton, director of Big Fish

“Marion was graduating with a first prize from the conservatoire of Orléans when I was admitted. I remember her at the very beginning of her career, passing auditions for a funny commercial and saying: “But I want to make this commercial.” This kind of sentence comes to our mind when we watch the rise of such an actress. She said “I want to make this commercial”, and she made it; “I want to make this film”, and she made it; “I want a big, beautiful role”, and she had it. She didn’t want to reach the top of the film posters immediately, she preferred to fully live each step that would take her there. She has always been hard working, and her journey fits her ambition. Before discovering La Môme, I was afraid of not getting into the film, because I knew her for too long to accept her in the character. But from the first minute, I forgot everything. I was blown away. Marion does the same as Cate Blanchett and all the great international actresses. It’s the entire France that will go to the Oscars with her.”
Audrey Dana, actress and conservatoire friend

“Marion arrived on the set with a very tiny morale. At the time, she was very vulnerable in her life. However, in the film, she was wonderful, generous, with an instantaneous understanding of what I wanted to do. Because she has real artistic intelligence: she doesn’t satisfy herself in just doing what a director tells her, she reinvents. Right after La Boîte Noire, she began the filming of La Môme. I’m happy for her success, fully deserved.”
Richard Berry, director of La Boîte Noire

“Like all big actresses, Marion knows how to create the vital space for the character she’s playing. She does it with a rare intensity and talent. She puts herself in danger, she invests herself so much into her role that she borders schizophrenia. The fact that she can play a woman at such different ages is impressive. Besides, she has something very unique: she insufflates life at her co-stars, which makes that the viewer is completely taken into the story.”
Pascal Greggory, actor in La Môme

“I was 19 years old when I filmed Furia but Marion didn’t hesitate one second to trust me. I’ll be forever grateful to her. In order to play the young résistante opposing a totalitarian regime, I was looking for a mysterious actress who attracts one’s attention. The role was very physical, with violent torture scenes. It’s Julien Rassam who recommended her to me. According to him, she was suitable to play everything and was worth much more than her role in Taxi, that had just come out. I preferred to discover her in Chloé, a TV film that she had filmed with Anna Karina. She had this wild and passionate side that I was looking for. In the end, all that’s good in Furia comes from her. She prepares herself lengthily for a role. She creates. She’s a sensitive actress. She’s very spiritual, she thinks constantly about others. Marion in La Môme, it’s the best casting idea that the French cinema had since a long time. I really hope she wins the Oscar.”
Alexandre Aja, director of Furia


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