Working with a grumpy killer whale was terrifying
from Metro News (UK) / by Lesley O Toole
Marion Cotillard, 37, has won an Oscar, slept with Batman and was Bafta-nominated for playing a killer-whale trainer in her latest film, Rust And Bone
You’ve made huge Hollywood films such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. What was it about this smaller French film?
It was one of my dreams to work with the director Jacques Audiard [of A Prophet, Oscar-nominated as Best Foreign Film in 2010]. Then I totally fell in love with the character. You don’t read many interesting powerful female roles like this, especially one with a very unusual story.
There’s a harrowing scene where a little boy falls through the ice. Was that difficult to watch, as a mother of one?
Oh yeah. Unbearable. When I first read the script, I was weeping at the end. But it’s a beautiful tale.
Did you ever play on the ice as a kid?
No. It’s super-dangerous. I remember a scene like that in the film The Four Daughters Of Doctor March, I think. And I’ve always been so scared. I’ve always freaked out. I never did that and I will never allow my children to do that.
Your character, Stephanie, loses her legs. What are your thoughts on that?
This is something unbearable and really hard to imagine how it feels. It’s something we refuse to see because if it was us, how would you do? Nobody likes to confront their fears.
There’s an incredible scene where you communicate with an orca through a glass. How was that?
On the first day, my signs to the orca weren’t very precise and she didn’t get what I was asking her. I asked her again and she got mad at me. She screamed, and that was really weird. Even though it was super-secure and nothing could happen to me, I was in a state of shock. This was the biggest mouth ever, the biggest jaws ever and it was right in front of my face. The teeth were so scary. I was in shock. I cried right away. So we changed the orca for the shot.
There are also some quite explicit sex scenes…
I’ve never liked filming them as I don’t feel comfortable. But this story was different. The sex is a big part of the story. It’s a movie about love but also about flesh, about the body.
You won an Oscar as Best Actress for playing Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. Do you still get excited when you are nominated for awards?
It’s always exciting but nothing will ever be like my experience on La Vie En Rose because I didn’t expect anything that happened. I’m always happy if people like what we do. With La Vie En Rose, everything was new and I didn’t even know it was possible with a French movie.
You were out in London recently with Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck and George Clooney. The tough part of awards season?
Yes. That’s the very good side of it. They’re very funny, very smart and very nice.
Is it true though that you have a weakness instead for Will Ferrell and Steve Carell and silly US comedies?
I totally love those guys too but that night was a lot of fun.
What are your top comedies?
Blades Of Glory and Stepbrothers.
How about Wedding Crashers, with pre-famous Bradley Cooper?
That was him? I totally forgot it was him. Oh my God. He’s the one who’s supposed to marry Rachel McAdams. I remember now.
Have you told your agents what they need to find you?
That’s not the way I work. But maybe. Because I’ve done so many dramas. I would love it to work that way. I think I still have a lot of work to do before a good silly comedy comes my way.
What performance has blown you away this year?
Naomi Watts in The Impossible. Oh my God, prepare your tissue box. I didn’t know anything about the movie except it was about the tsunami. She totally killed me. And I’m totally in love with Jennifer Lawrence. She’s a prodigy. She’s 22, it’s insane.
You were named Harvard University’s Woman Of The Year and roasted by the students. How was that?
One of the craziest things. It was a journey with amazing people so in love with their university.
What did they tease you about?
Things they didn’t like. They teased me about my very bad acting in some of the movies I’ve done and it was kind of a relief to be able to laugh about it. They teased me about The Dark Knight Rises. It was amazing because, especially in France, you don’t get to make fun of yourself. But I love to be able to talk about things that you’d like to forget.
Rust And Bone is out February 25 on DVD and Blu-ray