Marion Cotillard: The No. 1 of 'Nine'

from The Baltimore Sun (US) / by Liz Smith

“THE LAST time I went to look at dailies while I was making a movie, I almost had a breakdown. It took me 10 days to arrive back on set, and all the while I was thinking, ‘What are you doing here? You are such a bad actress, a fraud!'”

That, believe it or not is the divine Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, who simply will not look at her work before it is finished and ready for an audience. “Someday, I hope I’ll be more confident,” Marion told me. Then she paused, and laughed a little. “Maybe not. I think maybe it’s better to be insecure, actually.”

I spoke with Marion last week, before she left New York for Christmas with her family in France, and then a vacation in Africa. Word had just come of her Golden Globe nomination for the Rob Marshall/Harvey Weinstein dazzler, “Nine.” In this spectacular, ravishingly sexy and poignant musical, Miss Cotillard is the film’s breaking heart and soul.

She plays Luisa Contini, wife of troubled — and unfaithful — movie director Guido Contini (Daniel Day- Lewis) She must make the decision to stay or go. Her scenes are the true emotional center of the film. (And she has two of the films best numbers, “My Husband Makes Movies” and “Take it All.”) The elusive, usually intense and serious Daniel Day-Lewis matches her. (In “Nine,” Day-Lewis — loosely channeling the sprightly charm of Marcello Mastroianni — is almost adorable.)

Marion said of her co-star: “He is so committed to what he does, he is such an amazing actor. He is very easy to work with, because his involvement is such that it doesn’t feel like work, or like acting at all. I came to feel I was Luisa and Daniel was Guido!”

And working with “Nine’s” other fabulous females — Sophia Loren, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Stacy Ferguson, aka Fergie, Kate Hudson?

“Well, unfortunately, none of us really have scenes together, except for one number. But we all had to rehearse together for weeks. And that was an incredible experience. We shared everything, especially our anxieties. Some people worried over their singing, some over their dancing. So we were just in it together, going to dance class, vocalizing; an awesome ensemble of women. It’s so rare, and it made me very interested in working with an all-female cast, all of us acting.”

Marion credits director Rob Marshall for allaying fears and encouraging the best from his ladies. “Rob gave some of us the confidence we didn’t have, the courage to go to places we didn’t think we could. To say he is a genius would be a terrible understatement.”

I second that understatement. And I say again, don’t be put off but any iffy reviews. This is a fabulous entertainment and more than worth the hard-earned money you plunk down at the box-office.

Oh, and if Miss Cotillard isn’t nominated for an Oscar, I’ll be stunned. (Fergie’s already legendary handling of “Be Italian” is so spectacular I wouldn’t be surprised if she nabbed a Best Supporting nomination!)


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