Month: November 2012

OSCARS Q&A: Marion Cotillard

from Deadline (US) / by David Mermelstein

Although Marion Cotillard is the perfect blend of European elegance and natural allure, she’s never been afraid to portray characters lacking those qualities. Her Oscar-winning role as chanteuse Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007) is a perfect example. But she’s also appeared in big-budget Hollywood films like Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009), Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), and, earlier this year, Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Her latest role, as Stéphanie in Jacques Audiard’s French-language Rust And Bone, finds her playing an emotionally repressed whale trainer who loses her legs in an on-the-job accident and then must recalibrate her life.

AwardsLine: What attracted you to the role of Stéphanie in Rust and Bone?
Marion Cotillard:
First of all, I always wanted to work with Jacques Audiard, so I was thrilled when he asked to meet with me. I expected a very special story from him because all his movies are very special, but what I didn’t expect was a real love story. And I fell in love with the character — the evolution of her, the complexity. And how she goes from anger to power is something that really moved me.

AwardsLine: What was it like working with Audiard?
It was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had with a director. He doesn’t come on set with something very specific; it’s an exploration every day. He’s always seeking authenticity. We would try a scene many ways, but even when a take was totally different, the direction would always point the same way. And the take we finally chose was enriched by all the exploration around it.

AwardsLine: You were incredible — both emotionally and physically — in the scenes after Stéphanie lost her legs. How did you prepare for that?
Physically, I started to watch videos of amputees. But very quickly I realized I didn’t need it. Because it just happened in her life, so I would live it with her. Emotionally, I saw it like someone who was struggling with life, like an empty shell, as someone who doesn’t know what to do with herself. And then there’s this dramatic accident. I saw it like a rebirth.

AwardsLine: And what about technically — what did you have to do?
When I’m in the wheelchair, my legs were folded underneath me. For the scenes when I walk or am carried, I wore green socks and the rest was CGI. (Costar) Matthias Schoenaerts had to carry me in a very special way, because your center is different without legs. Also, I had to put my legs in certain positions so they could erase them easily, especially in the love scenes with Matthias and when he carries me to the sea. But that’s what we do: We try to make-believe things — first to ourselves and then to the audience. That’s acting.

AwardsLine: Did CGI make your job any easier?
Jacques always says he wouldn’t have been able to do this movie even 10 or 15 years ago, because the evolution of the CGI was not where we are now. Those CGI guys were really amazing.

AwardsLine: Was it strange for you to watch the film?
Yeah, it was. It’s always weird to talk about my impressions or feelings about a movie that I’m in. But I thought, This film looks amazing.

AwardsLine: What’s the primary difference between making French movies versus American movies?
There’s a lot of technical differences. But the thing is, there’s as much difference between two French movies or two America movies — because every story is different, every director is different.

AwardsLine: You won the Oscar in 2008 for La Vie en Rose. How has that affected your career both internationally and in America?
It opened the doors of American cinema to me. I had never dreamt of doing American movies, although I didn’t know whether it was impossible or possible. So that changed things. American projects came my way, and amazing directors wanted to work with me.

AwardsLine: Did you speak English before you started working in America?
I did, but my English was very poor. My English really improved for Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, because I worked on it every day for six months.

AwardsLine: You’ve starred in some big Hollywood pictures. What’s their appeal for you?
Sometimes when I meet the directors of very big blockbusters, I feel that for them making a movie is not a question of life and death — there’s not a deep need to be creative. Christopher Nolan is not part of that world. He is a real artist. So it’s a very big difference. And Michael Mann is a genius.

AwardsLine: Do you get different things as an actor from bigger versus smaller films, or do you find that acting is acting, regardless of budget?
Oh, yeah, it’s exactly the same process. Each experience is unique. But my commitment to a project is the same regardless.

'The Dark Knight Rises' Promotional Photoshoot

Remember the lovely pictures used in ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ articles in international magazines such as Cinemag (Uruguay), Movieweek (South Korea) and Marie Claire (Hungary) this past summer? Did you love them as much as I & wish to see more of them? Then this update is good news. Enjoy!

048 Sessions from 2012 > ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Promo

THR’s Actress Roundtable: 7 Stars on Nightmare Directors, Brutal Auditions and Fights With Paparazzi

THR’s Actress Roundtable: 7 Stars on Nightmare Directors, Brutal Auditions and Fights With Paparazzi

THR’s Actress Roundtable: 7 Stars on Nightmare Directors, Brutal Auditions and Fights With Paparazzi

Naomi Watts on years of rejection, Sally Field on fighting to play opposite a man 11 years younger and what it feels like to be told you don’t have a “shelf life.”

This story first appeared in the Nov. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Before shooting to stardom in 2001’s Mulholland Drive, Naomi Watts toiled for a decade as a barely employed actress. Helen Hunt initially was told she was “too on-a-sitcom” to play the female lead in 1997’s As Good as It Gets, the role that won her an Oscar. Perseverance emerged as a theme of The Hollywood Reporter’s Actress Roundtable, held Oct. 22 at Siren Studios in Hollywood. Awards contenders Watts, 44 (The Impossible); Hunt, 49 (The Sessions); Anne Hathaway, 30 (Les Miserables); Amy Adams, 38 (The Master, Trouble With the Curve); Rachel Weisz, 42 (The Deep Blue Sea); Marion Cotillard, 37 (Rust and Bone); and Sally Field, 66 (Lincoln) sat down for a frank discussion about their biggest fears, their worst auditions, the roles they fought for and the secrets to surviving in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Reporter: What makes you afraid as an actress?

Anne Hathaway: You start with an easy one!

Naomi Watts: I’m not happy unless I’ve got a little bit of fear going. I’m always trying to pull out. I’m always calling the director and saying, “I don’t know if I can do it.” With Mulholland Drive, I was completely terrified working with David Lynch. I was going on years and years of auditions and being told I was too this, too that, not enough of this, not enough of that, to the point where I was so afraid and diluting myself into absolutely nothing — and then he just looked me in the eye and saw something. He just spoke to me and unveiled all those locked masks.

THR: Do you still have those masks?

Watts: Yeah, I keep them in reserve. (Laughter.)

Amy Adams: I was 30 when I got Junebug, so I had the same thing. Whoever was getting the job, I tried to figure out what they did and do the same thing. I remember hearing about Naomi’s experience. That gave me a lot of faith in times where I was going to quit.

THR: How close did you get to quitting acting?

Adams: Pretty close. Not quitting in the sense that I wasn’t going to be an actress, but maybe move to New York, move back to a smaller market. I just wasn’t happy. If I wasn’t going to be happy, then it wasn’t worth it.

THR: Are you happy now?

Adams: Yeah. (Laughter.)

Rachel Weisz: Fear is like the steam that fires the combustion engine. You need fear to get a performance going.

THR: In real life, as opposed to acting, what makes you afraid?

Weisz: What is real life?

Sally Field: The freeway! It’s terrifying. (Laughter.)

THR: Denzel Washington said something interesting at the Actor Roundtable. He said, “You attract what you fear.” Do you agree?

Anne Hathaway: That would explain some relationships! (Laughter.) Actually, Rachel, I have a question for you. Is it true you have a tattoo on your hip of a ladder because of the theater piece that you did?

Weisz: Um, yeah. I started out very avant-garde [at Cambridge] — I’ve sold out very steadily since then! It was more like performance art. It was me and another girl, and we were at university together. We had this stepladder, and we used to basically hurl each other off this ladder, and often we would bleed. We were 18 years old, and we just thought that was really cool and radical. I’m joking about it, but it’s something I’m extremely proud of, and I had a ladder tattooed on my hip to commemorate this theater company — which isn’t, like, a ladder to my nether regions. It’s the avant-garde theater troupe.

THR: Anne, in Les Miserables you’re playing a part your mother played onstage. Did that make you afraid?

Hathaway: Yeah. My mom was in the first national tour, and she understudied the character [Fantine] whom I wound up playing. It made me nervous to tell her that I was auditioning for it, just because I knew how much it would mean to her, and I was worried that if I didn’t get it, she would be disappointed, and if I did get it, it would be weird. And she was so cool about it. We talked about the character. And when I got the part, no one was happier for me.

THR: Was there a piece of advice you took from her in preparing for the role?

Hathaway: She gave me an image. My mom and I were talking about the idea that Fantine has lit a match, and she’s just watching it burn down. And she needs to blow it out and let in the darkness. It was amazing to have that conversation not with an acting teacher, not with a director, but with your mother. I’m the only one here who’s not a mother. I hope to join the ranks soon.

THR: Helen, were you nervous about the nudity in The Sessions?

Helen Hunt: Sure. But you read something beautiful rarely.

Field: It’s also — Helen, I realized we’re, um, the only ones sort of a certain age, or my age is more certain than yours. It gets harder and harder, girls.

Hunt: My desire to be in something beautiful was bigger than my nerves. I met this woman whom I play [Cheryl Cohen Greene], and she’s in her 60s, cancer survivor, grandmother, still a working sex surrogate who is as enthusiastic about her granddaughter as she is about the orgasm that the man who maybe was never going to have one is going to have. I heard all of that and thought: “Prostitutes. Let’s not dress it up.” But then you meet her, and you really hear what she does. It’s really something, you know?

THR: Marion, is there a role you’ve played that changed your life?

Marion Cotillard: After La Vie en Rose, I started to feel the need to clean up some relationships, which was really weird. Suddenly, I needed to start fresh. Sometimes you go deep inside yourself, and I think it opens things inside of you. I don’t know if you can really identify what it is, but you just need to heal. Did I answer the question? (Laughter.)

THR: How has fame changed your life?

Adams: I am going to get in an altercation with the paparazzi. It’s going to happen. They keep focusing on my child. You guys are mothers. How do you handle it? Because I need to calm down. I have a really bad temper. I need to learn how to control myself.

Hathaway: I’m thinking about that because I really want to have a baby, and my husband and I are like, “Where are we gonna live?”

Cotillard: Come to France! We have laws!

Field: It’s just such a different world. I’ve been here for 50 years, in the business. They had fan magazines, and they would set up young stars on these dates with people you didn’t know, you didn’t like. Recently, I was going through stuff, and I got horrified. I was doing this at 17, 18, 19, 20.

THR: Can you say no to press? Mila Kunis said recently that a studio chief had told her she had to pose for a men’s magazine if she wanted to work for the studio.

Hathaway: At The Princess Diaries 2 premiere, they wanted me to arrive in a carriage, and I said no.

Field: I was doing a series called The Flying Nun [1967-70]. I didn’t want to do [the show] more than life itself; I was so massively depressed, I weighed 40,000 pounds. Then they asked me to appear at the Golden Globes. “We want you to fly across the Cocoanut Grove, and we want you to present an award.” I did not have the guts to say, “Are you out of your God darn mind?” So I said, “I won’t wear the nun outfit.” Now I find myself flying across the Cocoanut Grove into John Wayne’s arms at about 400 miles per hour, wearing pink taffeta. It made no sense whatsoever. I wasn’t even the flying nun. Now I was little porky Sally Field in a pink taffeta outfit flying across the Cocoanut Grove. (Laughter.)

Weisz: But you stood your ground.

THR: Have you ever really fought for a role?

Weisz: I fought for The Constant Gardener. I hounded the director. I called him a lot, and I wrote him a lot of letters. They were quite bold, basically telling him why I thought I was right to play the part. That’s very un-British. But I dropped my British-ness and at the end of the day [director Fernando Meirelles] said that tenacity was right for the character.

Hunt: I’ve had to fight for every part — certainly As Good as It Gets. I was too young, too blond, too on-a-sitcom, too utterly uninteresting for this part. I had spent many, many years where the director would want me but the studio wouldn’t. In this case, I had the reverse. I was suddenly on a big TV show [Mad About You] and I had been in a huge blockbuster [Twister]. The studio was saying, “Read her,” but he [director James L. Brooks] didn’t want to see me. My experience of acting is not this kind of lightning-in-a-bottle thing. It’s like elbow grease: work with someone, work with yourself, find the shoes. You said, “What scares you?” What I thought of is the feeling of being bad. There’s no feeling like acting when you know it’s bad.

Hathaway: I always think I’m terrible. So it’s always a relief when I find out that I wasn’t. I’ve had roles where I realized that I was in way over my head — and that is my biggest fear. My biggest fear is overreaching. I have been in situations where I felt swamped, and it’s turned out really well; and I’ve had other situations where I’ve had to walk off the film after five minutes because I realized I was in way over my head.

THR: You’ve done that?

Hathaway: Yeah. I’ve had a couple of films that I just can’t watch. The experience that I’m thinking of — and I will not say which one — I tried to get out of it because I just knew from a technical standpoint I wasn’t going to have enough time to prep and I just talked myself into it. It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up and I thought, “I can get there, I can do this.” And when you don’t feel that you got there, it’s always going to just gnaw at you.

Hollywood Reporter

Marion Cotillard received a nomination for the French version of the Razzies for her role in a film she’d fought for, only to learn too late the director was less than skilled.

“I spent two months in the middle of the desert wanting to kill him [the director] and wanting to beat myself because I fought for him and he was so bad,” she said. “I realized that if I don’t trust the director, if I don’t like him, I’m going to be bad.”

On her dream role: “I would like to play a monster, like Gollum or something totally that you have to create almost everything.”

The Hollywood Reporter Actress Roundtable

Marion is featured in the Hollywood Reporter’s annual Actress Roundtable this year! The magazine gets together chosen actresses involved in the years Oscar race, and talks to them about all things actress-y. This year they talk to Marion, Naomi Watts, Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams, Sally Field, Rachel Weisz and Helen Hunt.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Actress Roundtable was held October 22nd at Siren Studios in Hollywood.

The full roundtable discussion has been posted online for us to watch, which you can do below. A text version is featured in the November 30th edition of the magazine with the actresses all looking beautiful on the cover in a new group photoshoot. That is posted below for you too. Mia and I have added the cover, photoshoot pictures, and behind the scenes of the photoshoot and discussion to our Gallery. Needless to say, we will be on the lookout for scans, and if you can help us out with this, please get in touch 🙂

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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.

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