A Woman Whose Softness Could be Taken for Fragility
However, one would only need to exchange a few words with her to understand the subtlety of her intelligence. Aware of her professional luck, she is also extremely critical of the state of injustice and absurdity of the world we live in. She is not particularly interested in her big star tag. She runs away from it, fights to protect the small bubble she feels entitled to. Mysterious Marion Cotillard.
Q: Do you feel in any way pressured by the fact you are considered one of the most well-known french actresses worldwide ?
No. (Silence), Because I don’t see myself in that way. Yes, I think I am very lucky to be working with great directors like James Gray. And I’m very happy about what is happening to me today, but I give no thought to how I am perceived. Honestly, I never considered myself as a world icon. There are so many great actors in this world who are not necessarily under the spotlights like I am sometimes. At least, I don’t see myself at the top of something. I think I am an actress who still has a lot to learn and has been lucky enough to meet exceptional people to further her teaching.
Q: You are the lead role in James Gray’s latest ﬁlm The Immigrant. Was it difﬁcult to learn Polish to play your part ?
Well, first of all, I didn’t have to learn to speak Polish, I learnt 20 pages of a script in Polish !! (laughs) Which means I certainly don’t speak a word of Polish. There isn’t one word that vaguely resembles French or English ! Someone could have told me I was learning Chinese, I would have believed them without a doubt ! But, to be serious, it is really interesting to learn another language, because it helps to immerse yourself in the culture of another country. If you learn a language without doing any research on the local culture, your way of speaking will certainly end up being rather flat. (Silence) It is just the manner in which each language tends to put some words at the beginning or at the end of sentences that says a lot about the culture of a country. It is essential.
Q: What made you agree to work with James Gray ?
I have great admiration for his work, and this experience has been quite special, because James gives absolutely everything to his actors. All his films are highly personal. The way in which he opens his heart and his intelligence to us, actors, is something I had not experienced before. We have shared very personal things, really, that I had not told anybody else. These exchanges have helped to better figure out my character in the script, and how I was going to approach it. It wasn’t so simple for me because I had never before used my personal life to enter a character. What we shared was highly personal, though never indecent.
Q: How was your cooperation with the great director Jacques Audiard for the ﬁlm De Rouille et d’os ? (Rust and Bones)
I had always dreamed of working with Audiard, though never thought I would one day. He has his own particular way of working. He does a lot of research then waits for the shooting to start so the actors can suggest ideas. He is like a poet, he ruminates ideas, then builds up his film whilst shooting. Generally, I need time before a film to prepare, but with him, it was really fast. We rapidly turned into production. And this tension in creation pushed us to use resources we never imagined. This idea to have the actors participating, that’s just genius !
Q: You don’t like being stared at, being photographed in the street, or everything that might draw attention on you. Are you scared a part of you might get stolen ?
That’s not what it is. It’s always difficult to talk about it because I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining when I am so lucky. But it is a strange thing to have your life disected and see people appropriating your personal life. I felt very strongly about this when I had my child. And it created a kind of fury deep inside, so I stepped back and I tried to get used to the fact that everyone owns a camera these days, and I can’t do anything about it. I have to get used to it, it’s not so bad. I have to ignore it and get going.
Q: You approach the subject of immigration in your latest ﬁlm, what do you think about the general state of things ?
About Africa, the whole world has a great responsibility towards the fact so many people try to leave the continent which bears so many riches-though we have taken them. Today the world is a small village, if we want to know what is going on, all you need to do is read and understand. This is also our responsability, to know, be aware. We are totally responsible of the actual state of the African continent.