The original source for the recent news about Marion’s upcoming performances in Jeanne au bûcher posted their article online today. There’s not much more information in it, but they list famous actresses who’ve previously played this part since it’s first staging back in May 1939 in Orléans.
However, they forgot to mention some interesting inside information. Back in 1992 Marion’s parents Niseema Theillaud and Jean-Claude Cotillard took on the parts of Jeanne and her brother Dominique when this oratorio was staged in a cathedral in Orléans, while a 17 year old Marion watched in the audience.
When director Jean-Marc Cochereau approached Niseema Theillaud 12 years later for the same part she declined and suggested her daughter Marion. Marion immediately accepted since she’d wanted to work with him for a long time. After accepting the part she had it stipulated in any filming contracts that she’d get a week off for rehearsals and performing in Jeanne au bûcher. She enjoyed working with the orchestra and doing theatre for the first time since her final piece at the Conservatoire d’Orléans in 1994.
Finally, on May 5 and 6, 2005 she played Jeanne opposite Christophe Maltot’s Dominique along with 265 singers and musicians of the Orchestre symphonique d’Orléans. Director Jean-Marc Cochereau remembers that her performance was strikingly sincere, that she played Jeanne d’Arc with what is her talent: the ability to convey immense emotion. The director of the Orchestre symphonique d’Orléans Catherine Mounier recalls that the 3 000 visitors in the sports centre still remember the performance. As do the singers and musicians who took part in those 2 concerts. By accepting the role, Marion Cotillard made them a very beautiful gift, she added.
• Marion Cotillard, une fille toute simple, Loiret.com, July 13, 2005
• De Jeanne d’Arc à la Môme, Le Point, March 27, 2008