Day: November 19, 2012

The Cinema Of My Country: Marion Cotillard on Rust and Bone

from Crave Online / by Fred Topel

The Oscar-winning actress describes her latest unexpected transformation and her earliest appearance in TV’s ‘Highlander.’

Any discussion of Rust and Bone involves a form of spoiler, but if you know anything about the movie you probably already know. We’ll give you this chance to stop reading if you really want to go in blind. Once you even know the premise of the film, you may be intrigued by star Marion Cotillard’s approach to it. She plays a whale trainer at a theme park who loses her legs in a performance accident. In the rest of the film, a womanizing underground fighter (Matthias Schoenarts) helps her adjust and begins an affair with her. We got to spend a few minutes with Cotillard in Los Angeles, where I couldn’t help but notice her legs in real life. She’d kicked off her shoes, curled up on a sofa and played with her toes while we spoke. It’s not a foot fetish, it’s a personal touch in the aftermath of a day of wardrobe changes and photo shoots. Cotillard also attended AFI Fest which showed the film and presented a tribute to her career. Rust and Bone opens in select theaters Friday.

CraveOnline: Obviously the legs transform you quite a bit, but it’s all a special effect that you may not see until later, so does that make it easier or more difficult to feel the transformation?

Marion Cotillard: Well, first of all when we did the first costume fitting, we had to try those pants that were empty of my legs and I had to fold my legs in the wheelchair. That image was so powerful that we kept it throughout the movie. And also we worked with amazing CGI guys, this team was really, really talented but also that’s what we do as an actor. We believe something and if we work hard enough and we’re lucky enough then the audience will believe it too.

The scene where you wake up in the hospital and realize what’s happened to your legs, what were your thoughts on how to play that moment?

We didn’t know. It’s something that’s really hard to imagine so we tried many versions of it and then in the editing room Jacques [Audiard] decided for this version because also, there is not only one reaction. You take four people and in that situation they will have four different reactions. So we experienced and we explored different ways to find the authenticity of this moment.

What other ways did you play?

Well, we played shocked, silent shocked like you cannot even scream, you shook almost. And we tried a very violent reaction. We tried many things and the only one that stays actually stays.

Were the love scenes in this film like no other you’ve ever filmed?

Yes. I usually hate doing love scenes. I’m very uncomfortable but this one was very different because the sexuality of those two people is really part of the movie and also I happened to be so happy for her. That was almost something that I was giving to my character and I had to enjoy it because it’s something so powerful that happens in her life at that moment.

And she would continue this arrangement as long as it’s exclusive right? She’s not pushing for a relationship, she just wants “this” to be exclusive.

I don’t know if it’s about exclusivity. I think it’s about being respectful and the relationship with Alain starts with Alain looking at her as a human being in the most simple way and without pity, without anything but simplicity. That’s what creates a very strong connection between both of them, but he looks at her as a human being but not as a woman yet. That’s what she can teach him.

I first saw you in the movie Love Me If You Dare before I knew anything about you. I understand that became an important film for you personally, was it an important film for you professionally?

Yeah, I had always wanted to do a romantic comedy and that was a very special romantic comedy, crazy, crazy romantic comedy and I loved the screenplay and so wanted to do this movie. It took forever for the director to tell me that I was the one he had chosen and it was kind of hell to wait that long but yeah, I loved doing it.

It goes quite dark too, for a romantic comedy, doesn’t it?

Yeah, that’s why I loved it. It was not like a sweet romantic comedy. It was really dark.

One of your first jobs was an episode of “Highlander: The Series.” Was that a good experience?

That was an amazing experience. All the first experiences that I had, even sometimes [when] it was not exactly what I wanted to do, but it still was an experience as an actress and I was living from my passion.

Here we see actors like Brad Pitt and other really big stars on American shows like “21 Jump Street” before they were famous. Was “Highlander” like that where they were looking for European actors?

Well, yeah, because they were shooting in France so that’s why I ended up doing this episode.

How were your experiences on the Taxi films?

That was totally different. That was comedy and I didn’t feel very comfortable because I had no experience at that time. I would do it totally differently now but that’s an amazing experience for me because that allowed me to meet a huge audience and we had a lot of fun doing it too.

What did you think of the American remake?

I haven’t seen it.

How does that feel to have an AFI retrospective at this point?

I don’t really know. I’m just really happy to share this movie with the American audience because I’m very proud of it and I love French cinema. I’m always very happy to share the cinema of my country which is full of diversity and creativity.

Did winning the Oscar have different impacts in Europe and Hollywood?

I don’t know. It was different because I was known for my work in France before the Oscar and I was not known for my work here. It opened doors of the American cinema and I would have never thought that I would work here one day, but it makes me very happy.

"Rust and Bone's" Marion Cotillard on Blockbusters vs. Independents and the Role of Marine Parks

from NBC / by Scott Huver

The actress turns in another award-attracting performance, this time in her native language.

No matter what language she’s speaking, Marion Cotillard is utterly fluent in fine acting.

The 37-year-old French stunner took home an Academy Award as Best Actress for her immersive performance as singer Edith Piaf in 2007’s “La Vie en Rose” and has crafted an impressive list of Hollywood credentials in the aftermath, most notably working with director Christopher Nolan in “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Cotillard returns to performing in her native language with the unpredictable drama “Rust and Bone,” playing a whale trainer whose life is upended after a shocking accident, placing her on a journey of redefinition alongside an unlikely potential soul mate (Matthias Schoenarts).

Already topping many critics’ lists as a leading contender to take home another Oscar trophy, Cotillard provides a look into how she crafted her performance.

On delving into her complicated character:

What was different from the other thing I did before was that when I read the script, even at the end of it, Stephanie was still a mystery. And that was a mystery that [director] Jacques Audiard and I needed to solve. But I also found out that, usually when I work, I need to explore every bit of a character. I need to know who this person is entirely, and I realize that that mystery that she was not to be solved entirely because it was part of who she is. When we started working, before we started shooting, and even when we started shooting, Stephanie was a big mystery and we tried many things. And that one day, Jacques told me, ‘Yeah, I know now: she’s a cowboy.’ I thought it was kind of genius, and from there everything found its place. At the end of it, I didn’t expect to be so moved by her. She turned anger into power. That’s a cowboy thing, right?

On playing scenes in which her character’s lost limbs are exposed:

The physicality was never an issue. First of all, the CGI guys were really talented. They went really fast. They were very discrete on set when they were with us every day. But the fact that I actually have legs never got in our way. It was never an issue. Basically, it’s very technical: I wore green socks and they [digitally] erased my legs, so we had funny moments because I had to put my legs in this certain position so I would not cast some shadows on Matthias’ back, for example, in some scenes. So we actually had fun doing it.

On the most challenging physical demand of the role:

I had to swim in the sea – it was freezing, it was late October and I got bit by a jellyfish. The camera was not working and I knew that if I would go back on the boat, it would take longer, so I stayed in the water with the jellyfish biting me. And man, it burns! And I didn’t allow anyone to pee on myself.

On the most challenging mental demand:

What was the most difficult for me was to go to Marineland, because I don’t feel comfortable in a place like this. And I needed to consider the animals as an actual animal and not as something that was turned from an animal into a clown or something, an animal who does a flip-flop when you ask the Orca to do it.

And the first day, I thought it was kind of horrifying, when I would ask them to do something and they would actually do it. And I thought the connection was easy to have because I would give them some fish, and they would do whatever I wanted them to do, if I did the correct gesture. But then on the second day, I had this rehearsal for the scene behind the glass, and that was not choreographed like the show is. And that was basically improvisation with the gesture that I knew, and that day, I had a real communication with the whale, and that changed everything for me.

On facing her own strong personal feelings about aquatic theme parks:

On my first day, I arrived five minutes before the show and I watched it. And I thought it was horrifying. And my trainer turned to me after the show and said, ‘Did you like it?’ And I thought, ‘Okay – What am I going to answer? Am I going to lie? Am I going to tell the truth?’ I couldn’t lie, and I said, ‘Well, no – I hated it. But I don’t want you to think I’m disrespectful.’ Those people, they have a passion. They’re passionate about what they do. They love the animals, so they made my job easy because passion is contagious.

I will never go back to Marineland. This is an open question because some people’s children won’t ever have the possibility, because of money, to go and see the whales in their environment, and sometimes it can raise an awareness and the desire to save those animals. But then again, I have this example and maybe it’s silly, but I remember when ‘Finding Nemo’ came out. This is a story about not taking those fish out of their environment, and there was an explosion of sales of clownfish after this movie. And that was something that I really couldn’t understand because the story of that movie is telling the opposite: DON’T take them out to put them in an aquarium. And that’s exactly what happened. So sometimes, I don’t know – I’m really wondering if those Sea World, Marineland, however you call them, really make a difference.

On tackling the role after just becoming a new mother:

I usually never talk about my personal life, but my personal life was totally stuck to this project because, yes, I had my baby with me. And he was very, very young, and all the crew was really amazing with me because it was not easy – neither for me nor for everybody!

On moving between smaller-scale films and big-budget blockbusters:

I feel very lucky that I can travel from one very special universe to another very special universe. My experience in Hollywood with the big blockbuster, though, is very special too, because it’s a blockbuster directed, written, produced by Christopher Nolan, who’s not a studio director. I had some propositions of big movies, and I met the director, and I thought, ‘This guy is just here because they need a director, but it’s not the most important thing in his life to tell this story.’ I need to work with directors who have the need to tell a story – and Christopher Nolan is definitely a director who needs to tell stories.