Category: English Press

'Rust and Bone' Globe Nominee Marion Cotillard: 'I Questioned Existence'

from Hollywood.com / by Aly Semigran

“It’s one of the most powerful movies that I’ve ever seen, but I know I won’t be able to watch it again because it’s such a strong, emotional journey.” Marion Cotillard could have very well said the same exact thing about her film Rust and Bone, the harrowing French drama which has earned her a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actress in a Drama category (and will likely earn her another Oscar nod) about a woman whose life takes a sharp turn when a horrific accident leaves her a double amputee. Instead, Cotillard is talking about another kind of gut-wrenching tearjerker: David Lynch’s 1980 classic The Elephant Man. “I remember seeing it and I cried so much I didn’t want to go to school the next day because my eyes were so big from crying so much,” the actress recalls.

It’s obvious within moments of meeting her that Cotillard is an actress who wears her heart on her sleeve both on the big screen and off. In fact, it’s that very same sensitivity that provided to be her biggest challenge in the film. In Rust and Bone Cotillard’s Stéphanie is an Orca whale trainer at Marineland. The actress says that while she felt a connection with the majestic creatures, their being attractions at a theme park proved to be too much for her. Cotillard — who once “had the opportunity once to swim with whales in the ocean and it’s fascinating, it’s totally amazing” — admits, “I’m very uncomfortable in a captivity [environment]. It’s something that I don’t really understand, how we can take these magnificent animals out of their environment and put them in swimming pools. That was my biggest challenge, was actually to be cool during those days.”

The stunningly beautiful 37-year-old star may have not been able to connect with Stéphanie’s ability to work with whales in captivity, what she didn’t have a hard time with was finding ways to connect to the spirit of her character and her many struggles. In addition to her injury, Stéphanie falls for a handsome, but troubled single father Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) and their tumultuous relationship both burdens her and sets her free. Cotillard says that her Rust and Bone character is “much more violent than,” than she is in real life, but she understands that through violence people can release themselves from pain. “I had a period of my life when I questioned existence. I had so many questions and there was no answer and I was kind of lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I didn’t know why I was alive.”

But those very questions of existence and the “Whys?”, like the ones Stéphanie continually asks herself and others, can lead to something quite unexpected. “There’s a process of self-destruction when you don’t get those answers because you don’t know if you’ll ever get them,” Cotillard says. “Before you find something that allows you not to worry anymore about those answers, that thing is most of the time, love,” she says of her character’s journey, both with herself and in her unique relationship with Ali. “When you hit the bottom and there’s nothing left but yourself to face, you abandon a lot of bulls**t. You get straight to the point, you’re up front, you have no time to lose with not saying things or saying things in a very complicated way. She tells what she feels because that’s who she is now.”

But it’s those very complications that draws the Oscar-winner — whose film credits in 2012 ranged from the small, intimate Rust and Bone to the blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises — to her projects. “I love complexity, that’s really what I’m attracted to. With [Stéphanie] …she was such a mystery when I read the script for the first time. I thought, ‘Well she could be a lot of people.’ There’s very little information about her, about where she comes from, about her family, about her past, there’s almost nothing. So we really had to create almost everything about her and to find the authenticity, to find who she is and that was an amazing journey because when you do this with such a brilliant director [Jacques Audiard], it’s very inspiring.”

Cotillard gives a lot of the credit to Audiard (whose brutal and brilliant A Prophet earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010) for making the heaviness of the film work. “Jacques is this mix of a very grounded person and at the same time, a great poet seeking authenticity in everything he does and I loved working with him.” Cotillard has spoken before about the importance of a great director to a project, like she did during The Hollywood Reporter’s recent actress’ roundtable. (“I realized that if I don’t trust the director, if I don’t like him, I’m going to be bad.”)

At that same roundtable, Cotillard found herself surrounded by the very women who are earning accolades for their work in film this year. The very same women she’ll face off with this awards season, including other Globes nominees Naomi Watts, Anne Hathaway, Sally Field, Amy Adams, Rachel Weisz, and Helen Hunt. But, that’s not the way Cotillard sees it. “I’m the biggest actresses lover! I love actresses, I’ve always felt a connection [to them]. We share something in that we play our emotions and we tell women’s stories.”

Rust and Bone is currently playing in limited release.

Character in Rust and Bone "got right into my blood,” Marion Cotillard says

from Montreal Gazette (Canada) / by T’Cha Dunlevy

Fate works in funny ways, onscreen and off.

In Jacques Audiard’s raw romance Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os), Marion Cotillard plays an orca trainer who suffers a terrible accident and must learn to piece her life back together, under dramatically different circumstances.

It’s a standout performance from an actress who is racking them up. But it almost never happened.

“I was not supposed to do this movie,” she said, during a sit-down interview at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Cotillard has been on fire since winning the Academy Award for best actress for her star turn as Edith Piaf in La vie en rose in 2007 — the first time an Oscar has gone to a French-language role. Since then, she has kept busy in high-profile films including Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris and Christopher Nolan behemoths Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.

Acting for Nolan was like entering Hollywood through the side door, Cotillard explained.

“I had a chance to work on very big movies, but with a very special director who has the spirit of an independent director,” she said. “Chris Nolan movies are blockbusters, but they’re still director’s movies, not studio movies, which I couldn’t do. I was offered, several times, roles in very successful movies. And I will never regret not being in those movies.

“I saw those movies and I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s obvious I couldn’t fit in there, because there is no director. The first person I work for is a director. If I have no director on set, I will be so bad.”

Which may explain what drew Cotillard from California to the Côte d’Azur: the chance to work with Audiard, director and co-writer of such powerful films as The Beat That My Heart Skipped (De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté, 2005) and A Prophet (2009).

“My schedule was really tight,” she said. “But I thought, ‘I have to do it. I cannot let it go.’ I totally fell in love with the story, and the character. I was so moved. It got right into my blood. What I’m looking for when I read a script is to be surprised — to have the perspective of something I’ve never done before.”

Worlds collide in Rust and Bone when Cotillard’s character Stéphanie meets Ali (the excellent Matthias Schoenaerts), a rugged bouncer — and, unbeknownst to her, single father. His uncouth directness proves to be just what the doctor ordered in getting past Stéphanie’s defences and helping her start over.

“He looks at her like a human being, someone who is alive when she is an empty shell,” Cotillard said. “He doesn’t look at her right away as a woman — she’ll have to teach him that; but she feels alive because he thinks she is. Maybe a (more sensitive guy) would be worried for her. Ali is not worried at all.”

They are an odd match. Early scenes have Ali and his young son hitchhiking through France and engaging in petty crime before settling in with his sister. He eventually finds his calling in a brutal form of streetfighting, broadcast on the Internet, with payment in cash.

But while Ali is a man of action, Stéphanie is — at least initially — a woman of deeply internalized emotion.

“She was the most mysterious character I had ever read,” Cotillard said. “Usually when I read a part and I want to do it, immediately there’s a connection and I know who this person is. With her, at the end of the script, I had no idea who she was. I told that to Jacques; I had to tell him, even though I was scared he would freak out that the actress he was working with didn’t know who (her character) is. But he told me, ‘Neither do I. We’ll have to go on the road and find her.’ ”

Cotillard’s tight schedule, combined with logistical problems in coordinating the sequences at Marineland in Antibes, in the south of France, meant there was little rehearsal time. Cotillard and Audiard unearthed her character on the fly. The moment finally came during one of Schoenaerts’s bracing fight scenes, where Stéphanie is sitting off to the side, within the safety of a vehicle.

“For the first week (of the shoot), we were sometimes not sure if we were going in the right direction,” Cotillard said. “But then there was this scene. She gets out of the car and he’s on the ground, beaten; and (Audiard) told me, ‘Yeah, that’s it. She’s a cowboy.’ And that was it. We had found her.”

Rust and Bone is in theatres Friday.

Cotillard: 'Very happy about this movie's journey'

from USA Today / by Donna Freydkin

Don’t ask Marion Cotillard about her plans for the upcoming awards season.

“I want to celebrate the present time. I don’t want to think ahead. I want to enjoy what’s now and what’s here,” says the actress, nominated for Rust and Bone.

She plays a marine-park trainer who loses her legs in a freak accident. All along, Cotillard was a favorite to be nominated; she won the Oscar and the Globe for 2007’s La Vie en Rose. She also earned a Globe nomination for 2009’s Nine.

“I’m very happy. I’m very proud of this one. But above all, it’s the encounter with two amazing people and the crew we worked with to make this happen. I’m very happy for all of us,” she says, referring to her director and her co-star.

Her holiday plans revolve around her boyfriend, Rust and Bone director Guillaume Canet and their son Marcel, almost 2. “My family. Home,” she says, of what’s ahead.

Does she get jittery at the thought of all the red carpets ahead of her? “I don’t get nervous at all. I’m just very happy about this movie’s journey so far,” she says.

Interview: Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone

from Awards Daily / by Craig Kennedy

There is no shortage of beautiful people on movie screens, but often when you see them in real life, they’re not quite as pretty as you imagine they would be. Not so Marion Cotillard. It doesn’t seem possible, but she’s actually even more stunning in person. She was in Los Angeles recently to promote her new film Rust and Bone and I had the pleasure of sitting down with her for a brief chat at The Four Seasons Hotel. Graced with the casual, almost effortless elegance that seems to be the genetic right of the French, she looked perfectly lovely in a simple floral print dress with her hair up, little makeup on her face and her legs tucked up comfortably beneath her on the sofa. I didn’t know if she’d be prickly or guarded or bored or what, but it turned out she was quiet, thoughtful and engaging. I only wish we’d had time for a longer conversation. In order to fill out the chat a little bit, I dropped in a couple of her responses during the press conference earlier in the day.

In the film directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), Cotillard plays Stephanie, a party girl who loses her legs in an accident. Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) co-stars as Alain, a single father on a downward spiral who turns to back-lot, bare-knuckle boxing in order to make money to survive. Stephanie and Alain are two emotionally troubled people on the fringes of society who meet and form an unlikely love relationship. Rust and Bone opened November 23rd in New York and it opens December 7th here in Los Angeles.

Craig Kennedy: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I know this is the end of a long day for you and you must be tired.

Marion Cotillard: (smiling) Some people have a long day and there is nobody asking them if they’re OK or if they want to drink something so I can’t complain.

Craig: One of my favorite moments in the Oscars in the last few years was when you won for La Vie en Rose. In your speech you seemed so surprised and thrilled. Is an Oscar something an actress coming up in France even considers?

Marion: No, that’s something you can never think about. And personally I’ve never thought about any awards. I just wanted to be an actress and to tell great stories and to have amazing characters to portray and to work with amazing directors. That was my desire. And then when an award comes your way, it’s something that you really have to enjoy. I mean, I didn’t even know it was possible for a French actress to have an Oscar – even a nomination. When they asked me if I was up to that adventure, I didn’t really understand because my movie was French and I was French. I didn’t even know at that point that Catherine Deneuve or Isabelle Adjani had had nominations for French movies before. Then they told me Penelope Cruz had a nomination the year before I think for a Spanish movie so I said, “Well, yeah it might be an amazing experience” and it was. The fact that I won… I didn’t want to prepare anything because I didn’t want to think ahead. I really wanted to live this experience in the present time and not think what could happen. What was happening at the present time was crazy enough and was something I never thought I would experience, to share this movie and this performance with a different audience. It was really something that I enjoyed.

Craig: How did your career change from that point? Did it?

Marion: The whole experience of La Vie En Rose including the awards changed a lot of things. I never would’ve done American movies and all the movies that I’ve done here without the Oscar for sure. But it’s not the Oscar itself, it’s the whole experience.

Craig: What’s the difference between working on a huge Hollywood movie like Inception and a more intimate French film like Rust and Bone? Is it still the same job?

Marion: Yes, my commitment is the same, but each experience is unique because it’s a different story, a different director, a different character. But also I’ve had the chance to be in big American blockbusters, but they’re written, directed and produced by someone who is an artist. I’ve never done a studio movie with a director who is not a complete artist like Christopher Nolan is. I’ve had the proposition of some big movies and I met the director and I thought he was just there because they needed a director. It wasn’t 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 that.

Craig: Have you had the opposite experience before?

Marion: Yes, I’ve met directors who had no need to tell the story. It was just a movie to direct and it was not something they were passionate about and driven by. I couldn’t do it because the first person I do a movie for is the director. I need to trust this person. I need to share something powerful and sometimes you just feel that it’s not going to happen so I wouldn’t do it the movie.

Craig: How can you tell before you’re on the set and shooting?

Marion: The way they talk about the story and how they talk about actors and how they want to work. I’ve had meetings where I’ve tried to have the conversation about the direction they would take and how they’d work with the actor and they just had no idea. I can’t work by myself. I cannot.

Craig: I imagine that would be a miserable way to spend a couple of months of your life.

Marion: It’s impossible. A few years ago I did a movie and it was a disaster and the director was totally out of the project and it was a nightmare because I couldn’t do anything. And I remember that I had this very emotional scene and I couldn’t do it. I knew that I was capable of doing it, but I just couldn’t. I thought “Do it for yourself, do it for your audience, find someone to do it for because you can’t do it for the director.” And I thought, “Would it have been different if the director on this movie had been Mike Mann or Olivier Dahan?” … And yeah, it would’ve been totally different, but I was stuck because I needed to give what I was doing to someone and I couldn’t find anyone.

Craig: Let’s talk a little bit about your character Stephanie. What made you want to play her?

Marion: When I read the script the first time, she was a mystery. She was so mysterious. I fell in love with the story and I fell in love with her. She really moved me, but I didn’t know who she was and that was a mystery Jacques and I needed to solve. Even at the end of it Stephanie was still a mystery to me. Usually when I work, I need to explore every bit of a character. I need to know who this person is entirely and I realized that mystery was not to be solved entirely because it was part of who she is. The most emotional scene was after Stephanie and Alain make love for the first time, because I felt something that I never felt for a character before. I felt very moved for her because it’s the first time she’s had sex since she lost her legs. I was very moved because I was so happy for her.

Craig: (Cotillard is known for her work campaigning for animal rights and her support of groups like Greenpeace and during the press conference, the scenes she filmed with whales in captivity came up)

Marion: That was the most difficult for me to go to Marineland because I don’t feel comfortable in a place like that. I needed to consider the animal as 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. The first day I thought it was kind of horrifying when I would ask them to do something and they would actually do it. 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. That was not choreographed like the show. It 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.

Craig: (Later she was asked about working with the whale trainers)

Marion: That’s a tricky thing. On my first day I arrived 5 minutes before the show. I watched it and I thought it was horrifying. My trainer turned to me after the show and she said, “Did you like it?” and I thought “What am I going to answer? Am I going to lie or am I going to tell the truth?” And I couldn’t lie and I said, “Well, no, I hated it, but I don’t want you to think that 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 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, but there was an explosion of sales of clown fish after this movie. Now that was something that I really couldn’t understand because the story of this movie is telling the opposite: Don’t take them out to put them in an aquarium. But that’s exactly what happened. So sometimes, I don’t know, I’m really wondering if those Sea World or Marineland or however you call them really make a difference.

Marion Cotillard in 'Rust and Bone'

from Variety / by Kate Hahn

Eye on the Oscars: The Actress – Lead Actress Contender

When Marion Cotillard first read the script of French-language drama “Rust and Bone,” her character, Stephanie, was a mystery to her.

Discovering the essence of an orca trainer who later experiences a terrible accident was an intriguing challenge for Cotillard. She won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for her portrayal of French chanteuse Edith Piaf in 2007 biopic “La Vie en rose.”

“The hardest was finding who she was before the accident. She doesn’t even know,” Cotillard says.

“She’s struggling with who she is, so she can be violent, cold and needy.”

It actually helped that “Rust and Bone” began shooting with a demanding scene in which Stephanie awakens alone in the hospital and discovers her legs have been amputated.

“When we shot ‘La Vie en rose,’ on the fourth day there was a major scene, when she’s very old and dying. I was not OK with it,” Cotillard says. “But after that first experience, I realized it was good to just dive into the role.”

Cotillard takes Stephanie on a nuanced journey from depression to joy through an evolving relationship with fighter and security guard, single father Alain (Matthias Schoenaerts).

“She has to face herself because there’s nothing else left,” Cotillard says. “Even with a damaged body, she becomes a full person.”

Cotillard says director Jacques Audiard helped her find Stephanie’s soul and bring it to the screen: “What I love about him that he’s willing to try things, often opposite things, to find the authenticity of the moment.”

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