Day: November 2, 2012

La belle dame avec merci

from The Irish Times / by Tara Brady

DRESSED DOWN in jeans and a patterned black T-shirt, Marion Cotillard has arrived in London on the back of a three-month break with her partner Guillaume Canet and the couple’s 18-month-old son, Marcel. She’s not giving up on her holiday just yet; she’s barefoot as we shake hands: “I have been for months,” she notes gleefully.

Her lengthy family sojourn means she missed out on the hoopla surrounding Christopher Nolan’s billion-dollar-grossing The Dark Knight Rises. The British director delayed the production to accommodate Cotillard’s pregnancy but she has yet to be recognised on the street, she says, for her work on the film.

Disappearing has long been part of Cotillard’s repertoire. We’re frequently told she and actor-director Canet make up the French Brangelina, yet the couple reputedly live very quietly in the Parisian suburbs. Where other Atlantic-crossing Gallic talents have excelled in glamorous or glacial exoticism, Cotillard’s work is largely invisible. Her downright freaky transformation into Édith Piaf for La Vie en Rose was seamless enough to secure 2008’s César, Bafta and Academy Award in the Best Actress category. It was the first non-Anglophone performance to win an Oscar since Sophia Loren’s 1962 turn in Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women.

“I couldn’t leave the character on La Vie en Rose,” recalls Cotillard. “It was weird because I used to kind of judge actors who would stay in character on set or who would have a hard time leaving the character behind when the movie was done. I had this very dumb idea that ‘Okay, it’s a big part of your life but its your job. Go home and go back to yourself.’ It turns out it’s not that easy. In the process I was in character almost all the time. Even when I went home, there was something that was not entirely me.”

The lack of vanity that defined Cotillard’s Piaf is pivotal to Rust and Bone, director Jacques Audiard’s much-decorated follow-up to A Prophet. Cotillard, a Greenpeace activist, says she has “dreamed of working with Audiard” for years but was less keen on the idea of whale wrangling.

“I love animals,” she says. “The funny thing is I first heard about Jacques’s project at a table with a bunch of other actors and agents – I didn’t even know there was a role for a woman then – and I heard the words ‘Orca trainer’ and I thought, Oh my God. I would love to work with Jacques; I would die to work with Jacques. But I will never, ever, ever work at Marine Land. I cannot stand those places.”

She smiles and shakes her head. “And somewhere between that moment and reading the script I forgot totally about that feeling. I remember [that on] the first day of shooting in Marine Land I looked around and thought, Look where you are.”

What happened to change her mind?

“She did. Stéphanie. My character. I totally fell in love with her. It is always like that for me. I read. I get obsessed. If I have not been offered the part, I will do everything to get it. She moved me. A lot. Sometimes, even on set, I was moved by what happened to her. And sometimes I was very happy because of things that happened to her. It’s hard to explain. It’s weird.”

Rust and Bone, by extension, turns out to be one of the year’s oddest prospects. On paper, Audiard and screenwriter Thomas Bidegain’s liberal adaptation of a short-story collection by Canadian writer Craig Davidson reads like a strange brew of hoary masculine cliches and telenovela plotting: the brute redeemed by love, sex addiction, MMA prizefighting, corporate espionage, a whale-related accident, poor parenting and amputee sex. In execution, it’s a gorgeous, compelling series of delicately poised juxtapositions. The setting takes in the scuzzier locales of the Riviera but the sea has never shimmered so beautifully; the lead performances from Cotillard and Belgian costar Matthias Schoenaerts are both carnal and tender; their characters are repellant and magnetic; the tone is simultaneously realistic and melodramatic.

“I expect Jacques to tell a very special story because when you see all his films each one is very special and rich,” says Cotillard. “But even for Jacques there are a lot of stories in this story. I didn’t expect it. Stéphanie is mysterious. The film is mysterious. And what I totally didn’t expect was to read a love story.”

The film’s many twists and turns amounted to an even greater challenge than Piaf, claims Cotilliard. The work, however, had to remain just that. “Now that I’m a mum I have to do things differently,” says the 37-year-old. “On Jacques’s movie at the end of the day I would run home to my family. Hearing ‘cut’ was my cue to get back to being a mother. Without a kid I would have worked differently. With a kid you can’t bring someone else home.”

She laughs: “Especially when she’s a totally fucked-up amputee girl.”

Did an inverted phantom-limb syndrome ever set in?

“Yes! I almost forgot I had legs. They were there all the time but I wouldn’t see them. The special-effects people were really brilliant and they were so discreet and fast that they never got in our way.”

She speaks in perfect English that can sound vaguely Los Angeles and vaguely London in the same sentence. Cotillard has been doing this for a long time. Born into an artistic Parisian household, she first entered into the family business as a child. “It was organic, natural,” she says.

It sure was. Her father is Jean-Claude Cotillard, a one-time mime and a Molière Award-winning director. Her mother, Niseema Theillaud, is an actor and drama teacher. Guillaume, one of Marion’s younger twin brothers, is a screenwriter and director.

“We were totally free to do whatever we wanted to do,” recalls Cotillard. “My parents just wanted us to be happy. What was important for my parents was for us to be free to be creative and to be respectful. Respect yourself and others and the place you live in. I started learning to act with my parents. They were always very physical with characters because they came from mime. And still I love to create a different way to talk, a different way to walk. I love that so much. It must be my favourite thing, finding the right way to think and the right body language.”

How did she turn out so feminine – she is, after all, the face of Lady Dior – as a known Leeds United supporter with only twin brothers for company?

“I think the relationship between twins is very, very special. And I was a little bit out of it. But all the games we had were very boyish. Most of the toys we had were for girls and boys. I don’t remember having a doll. I do remember having Lego. I was not very interested in girls’ things for a long time. It was only when I became more of a woman than a girl that I started to see that it was so, so fun and funny to be a girl.

She and her brothers became movie fans mostly through the agency of the VCR. They were quick, in accordance with French tradition, to think of cinema in terms of auteur theory.

“I loved Spielberg especially,” recalls Cotillard. “Like most kids. You’d have to hate movies to not love Spielberg.”

Cotillard remains passionate about the directors she works with. To date she can count Michael Mann, Arnaud Desplechin, Woody Allen, Yann Samuell, Steven Soderbergh, Tim Burton and Ridley Scott among her collaborators. Is it a guiding career principle, I wonder?

“Yes. No. I plan. But not always. I am so lucky that people want to work with me in the first place. And I’m so lucky because some of them are directors that I really want to work with. But if I don’t like the story or the project I will say ‘No’, and hope that one day they’ll come back with something else. I have a big, big list of directors that only my agent knows. There has to be something vibrant about the character or the project. It’s simple with me because I like it or I don’t like it. Sometimes I will like something but I’ll feel I did that before. Most of the time it gets into my blood and that’s it.”

Now that Hollywood has coming a-courting, it’s easy to forget that Cotillard spent 15 years as a working actor: she graced TV’s Highlander and Gérard Pirès’s ungainly Taxi sequence before her Oscar win.

She enjoys the challenge of working in English-language roles but she still prefers working in France where she has consistently found work in dark, unglamorous parts. On screen, she has indulged in crazy SM games in Love Me if You Dare, faced the guillotine for murder in A Very Long Engagement, and she has been chaotic and bipolar in Little White Lies.

“I think those characters are beautiful,” she says. “It’s the kind of work I love most.”

In common with Little White Lies, her next project, Blood Ties, is cowritten and directed by Canet, her partner of nine years.

“We don’t have rules. Of course we share what we do. But we don’t share everything that we do. Because he’s an actor I love when I see him in a movie and discover a whole life that I wasn’t fully aware of. But when we work together that’s a whole other subject. That’s trickier.”

The film – which will bring together Cotillard, her Rust and Bone cohort Schoenaerts, Clive Owen and Mila Kunis – will mark Canet and Cotillard’s first joint venture in American cinema. It’s exciting, she says, but it won’t herald a transatlantic move.

“I do love traveling. I love meeting new people and discovering new cultures. But my base will always be France. I’m lucky to be able to work outside my own country. But I love French cinema and I love being French.”

* Rust and Bone is out now

Marion on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno tonight

US fans be sure to tune into The Tonight Show With Jay Leno tonight, as Marion will be a guest on the show. I believe she will be promoting Rust & Bone, which is released in the US on November 23rd.

We’ll be on the lookout for a video to share with you asap after.

Unveiling of Dior's Christmas Window Display at Printemps Department Store

Relaxnews is reporting that Marion Cotillard will be unveiling the Christmas Window Display at the Parisian Department Store Printemps on November 9. This year, Dior is responsible for the decoration of the store’s windows. It will be inspired by the City of Light and is thus called ‘Inspirations parisiennes’ (Parisian Inspirations).

Passers-by can admire 11 different “fashion” windows during the Holiday Season. Emblematic places of Paris, such as Avenue Montaigne (where Dior is situated) and the Opera, will be staged. The display includes 74 dolls, especially created by the Dior workshops. “There are 12 different models, each faithfully representing iconic collections of Dior Haute Couture, from tailor Bar 1947 to AH Collection 2012 by Raf Simons,” explains the fashion house.

Source: Bluewin

“Rust & Bone” For Your Consideration advert

Awards season is now upon us, and so the campaigning begins! The first ‘For Your Consideration’ advert for Rust & Bone has recently been shared on, and you can now also view it in our Gallery. Marion is of course being campaigned for Best Actress for her role as Stéphanie in Rust & Bone, and numerous award sites are predicting nominations for Ms Cotillard. Let’s cross our fingers….!

‘Rust and Bone’ Wins Best Film at BFI London Fest

Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton are presented with BFI Fellowships as “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Chile’s “No” are also honored.

Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone won best film at a special standalone ceremony on the penultimate evening of this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

It is the first time a best film award has been decided on by a jury from a field of 12 Competition titles.The films were selected by BFI head of exhibition and festival director Clare Stewart together with the fest’s programming team.

The jury, headed by president David Hare — screenwriter, playwright, film and theatre director — also boasted input from: veteran Hong Kong film producer Nansun Shi; Argentine director Pablo Trapero; Victoria Pearman, producer of Crossfire Hurricane and president of Mick Jagger’s Jagged films; and the British actress Romola Garai.

Hare said: “Jacques Audiard has a unique handwriting, made up of music, montage, writing, photography, sound, visual design and acting. He is one of only a very small handful of filmmakers in the world who has mastered, and can integrate, every element of the process to one purpose: making, in Rust and Bone, a film full of heart, violence and love.”

Audiard’s film stars Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts and details the love between a man and a woman who has suffered a terrible accident. It played in Competition during the Festival de Cannes, but walked away from that event empty-handed.

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