To celebrate the release of the excellent Public Enemies, out on DVD and Blu-ray 2nd November, we caught up with one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses, Marion Cotillard.
Her rise has been nothing short of meteoric – from a range of movies in her native France to proud owner of an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose.
– Do you still consider yourself as being from France? Or are you now from Los Angeles or a New Yorker?
I live where I work. So I was African this past month. I’m still from France, definitely, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been in my country. I love to travel. I miss my friends and family, that’s all.
When I did Michael Mann’s movie, we were for four months in Chicago so I lived in an apartment there, because I’m French so I need a kitchen to cook sometimes! To have a healthy life, you need to have your home bedroom and make the bed in the morning.
– Do you like this gypsy kind of life?
Yes, for the moment. I know that it will not be my whole life and one day I will maybe take some time off and stay in my house in France. But I love to meet people.
I love to make different contacts. The world is rich with so many things that I want to discover that I’m very happy with this gypsy kind of life.
– Is it a stereotype that the French women are obsessed with cooking and food?
I love to cook and French love good food. In Chicago, you can find very good food. It’s just that I like to know what I eat.
– What made you feel ‘I have to be in Public Enemies’?
I didn’t know anything about the [John] Dillinger case and I read the script and I started to do some research about American history, native American history, this very special and tough period of the depression and the creation of the FBI. I thought it was so interesting. I love to learn things, I love to learn history.
What I loved in the movie is that you can feel in each character the failure and the violence, the pain of this period. You can see it in Dillinger, you can see it in [FBI Agent Melvin] Purvis, you can see it in [her character] Billie Frechette.
You can see it in all the characters and I think it’s beautiful to manage to make you feel what was the period, just by seeing someone live. Without a word, you feel this failure.
– You are doing more and more American movies. Is it something you did on purpose because people in the French film industry were jealous of you and you needed to escape?
No. I have never thought of my work this way. I was in Los Angeles and I had this amazing opportunity to meet Michael Mann. I couldn’t believe it. I loved him right away.
I wanted to give everything I could to that guy because, as I said before, I loved the story and it was more than a gangster movie. It tells you much more than just guns and robbing banks.
And it was not ‘I have to do that and I have to do this.’ I just couldn’t do something that I don’t believe in – I would be very bad at it.
– How much did the Oscar change your status in Hollywood?
I think that what has changed things in my life was the movie La vie en rose and the Oscar is like the proof of the change. You know, it has changed but I’m not more confident.
I wish I could be but I’m not. It brings me all these beautiful opportunities to meet people that I loved forever, that I’ve admired forever.
Each time my American agent calls me and says, ‘This director would like to meet with you’, ‘This director would like to offer you a role,’ it’s magical. I will not get used to it. It’s amazing.
Public Enemies is available to own on DVD and Blu-Ray from 2nd November