Category: Translations

Marion Cotillard : I’ve once wanted to disappear and start from scratch.

Translation from Madame Figaro’s “Marion Cotillard: I’ve once wanted to disappear and start from scratch”‘s article from their May 2017 issue. Photos here.

She is the vibrant heroine of film that opens this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Les Fantômes d’Ismaël, by Arnaud Desplechin. But today it’s alongside her family, far from the bright lights, that the superstar wants to savor her happiness after the birth of her second child.
A rainy afternoon in Paris. In a renowned Parisian hotel, Marion Cotillard walks back and forth between the room where photographer Dominique Issermann captures her photo for Madame Figaro, and an adjoining room where she regularly feeds the insatiable Louise, her baby only a couple of weeks old. The actress and the mother, two sides of a woman that merge into an even more touching version of herself, cradling her child during the interview.

The end of last year completely drained her: two world tours, pregnant, to follow the releases of the American block-busters Allied and Assassin’s Creed. The return to France was marked by childbirth and the release of Rock’n’Roll, a stripping of the celebrity life, signed by her companion, Guillaume Canet.
Marion Cotillard regained her Parisian habits. This year, she swears, we will not see the exceptional actress perform in more than one film, Les Fantômes d’Ismael, by Arnaud Desplechin, and which had the honor of opening the Cannes Film Festival on this past Wednesday, which was also the day it was released in France.

A return to a world that is dear to her, that of the cinema d’auteur. And especially into the world of Desplechin, a certified “left bank” director, who welcomes her into a family of actors led by Mathieu Amalric, who plays her husband in the film. She is Carlotta Bloom, his wife, who suddenly reppears, after over 20 years gone missing, just as he is rebuilding his life with Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg), an astrophysicist who seems to appease the tumults this excessive artist, whose existence oscillates between chaos and poetry.

What is the mood of the moment?
It is a lot of sweetness, joy and devotion: I’m dedicating myself entirely to my family, and it’s been wonderful. I needed calm after the chaos of my last promotional tours. It was a lot for my condition as a pregnant woman, but it was unthinkable not to accompany those films I loved.

Was it not unreasonable to work so much at that time?
I do not ask myself that sort of question. I managed to make time – I don’t know how but I did – to be close to the people I need and who need me. Everything else, it was my choice. And last year ended up being the one where I was able to refocus, as well.

Do you need a mind and body of steel in order to sustain very demanding cinematographic experiments?
I am very endurant: I have a body that follows through wonderfully. I have no right to complain: I have made choices which are choices allowed to someone privileged. It’s a luxury to be an actor when you have children. I’m thankful every day for the luck I have, to be able to organize my life around them. During a shoot, while they’re little, I can see them in my trailer between two scenes.

Do we acknowledge the possibility of being a bad mother when we are an actress?
The business has changed a lot. What was probably true for the actresses of yesterday is no longer true today: motherhood is completely integrated. The child is at the center of the concerns of many actresses and mothers, and people are very respectful of that.

Does not it bother the directors or producers when they know an actress is pregnant?
That may be a fear for some, but if they hire you, they do it knowingly. During the shooting of Arnaud Desplechin, I was pregnant but I didn’t say anything, because I was less than three months pregnant. And then I was shot by paparazzi, and the pictures came out where they claimed I was five months pregnant, probably to stir things up. I called Arnaud Desplechin so that he would hear it from me. And he was very happy for me…

The news went well with the theme of his film, which is a hymn to life …
Yes, life shows in all the characters; even those who are close to death, there’s a last thing to live through, life gives them a final embrace. Besides, my character is called Carlotta Bloom: “bloom” means “to flourish” in English. Life flourished among the bruised – her husband, played by Mathieu Amalric, his father …

Working with Desplechin, in a cinéma d’auteur genre, was that important for you?
I’ve worked with him before, twenty years ago: I have a scene in How I Fought … (my sex life). I was half naked, so very uncomfortable. I don’t think anyone noticed me. Today, we are both very different people, and I was very happy to work with him again, and with such a beautiful, strong role.

How was it meeting Charlotte Gainsbourg?
She is a great actress, who constantly takes incredible risks in films. We didn’t know each other before. She is very delicate. There was a lot of sweetness in our exchanges. We did not talk about cinema, only about life and our children …

Carlotta, your character, is quite Shakespearean. One may even think she does not exist …
She could in fact not exist, being a ghost of the past, but for me she is very real, very alive, very anchored. It’s a paradox: on one hand, she is frontal, cheeky and sincere, on the other, she is completely enigmatic and aerial. We don’t really know where she comes from, or how she returns. She is both mystery and the opposite of that. I like playing these kind of characters, complex, deep, paradoxical.

Does she resemble you?
When I was a teenager I had, like her, the desire to leave, to disappear and to start all over again elsewhere, to relief myself of the weight of my life then. I was in pain, I dreamed of making my life in a place where I could be who I dreamed of being.

What happened?
I couldn’t clearly identify the discomfort, but I got over it, although there may be small relapses sometimes. I ended up finding a way to stop hating myself.

It takes courage to leave …
It takes so much more courage to stay and accept to be who we are.

Is 2017 the year of rebirth for you, with a second child and a return to French cinema?
It will be a year of rest. I will not shoot a movie in the next few months, I have said no to everything that was offered to me, even to directors whom I adore. I want to make time for my family and for myself. My son begins school and my daughter is a tiny baby. I want to spend my time with them, with their father, it’s both a desire and a need. When I work, I’m completely committed, and that’s not what I want for me right now.

Do you remember your first time at Cannes?
It was a long time ago, I was part of an operation launched by Canal + called “Les Dix de Canal”. It had been a long casting process, Audrey Tautou was also part of it. I was very impressed, at the time I still felt very weird in my own skin, although I was trying to overcome it. A few years later, there was Midnight in Paris in competition, but I couldn’t be there because I gave birth to my son, Marcel, who was born in May. The first time I was in Cannes with a competing film was with Rust and Bone, by Jacques Audiard.

Cannes hasn’t really brought you much luck so far. Despite remarkable performances in The Rust and Bone, The Immigrant, Two Days, One Night or Stone Mischief, you have not yet received the Interpretation Award …
I feel so lucky to be able to bring films to Cannes. I have never been into the competition side of it. I have a very ambiguous relationship with the prizes. On one hand, I find that it makes no sense, on the other hand, I participate in it fully. But there is never any disappointment if I do not get an award. I know today that the need for recognition is an almost-pathological condition: one does not get rid of it by receiving prizes.

In retrospect, how do you feel when you remember the evening of February 2008 in Hollywood, where you got an Oscar for the La Vie en Rose?
I did not think it was possible and I was not expecting anything. I had a lot of fun campaigning for it, I was amazed at everything. Receiving the award was a surprise, and of course an enormous joy.

Marion Cotillard, Guillaume Canet: Reality Show

Translation from Madame Figaro’s “Marion Cotillard, Guillaume Canet: Reality Show”‘s article from their February 2017 issue. Photos here.

In his new film, ‘Rock n’ Roll’, the actor/director and his partner, superstar and Dior ambassador, step onto the screen with insolent self-ridicule. A mockery of the star system, which they play for us in front of Jean-Baptiste Mondino’s camera. Exclusive photoshoot.

They are an emblematic cinema duo, one of those power couples unrivaled in France. Marion Cotillard, the Oscar level superstar – the only one to have imposed herself on Hollywood -, the inhabited actress, illuminated by James Gray or Nicole Garcia, the glamorous muse – and Dior ambassador. He, Guillaume Canet, her partner, successful actor with a brilliant director career that earned him a Caesar (Tell No One, 2006). Together for nine years now, the discreet couple have managed early on to evade intrusion in their private lives. That’s no longer really the case, the celebrity of Marion Cotillard having fueled curiosities and unhealthy rumors. The couple, still going strong, resists without difficulty: a second child will see the light of day in a few weeks.

Funny and cultivating a healthy self-mockery, Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet decided to laugh at their peculiar life as stars. That is the subject of the irresistible ‘Rock’n’Roll’, the fifth film directed by Guillaume Canet , and which marks his return behind the cameras after the half-success of Blood Ties, tribute to the New Hollywood of the 1970s. The secret to this crazy comedy? Mixing the true, the false, and the fantasy in a game of distorting mirrors, a jubilant farce that is also a fable squeaking about the habits of show biz, ambition and youthism. We find a Guillaume Canet in full midlife crisis, ready to do whatever it takes to become a cool actor again, under the gaze of his wife, who in turn learns the Québécois accent in “studio actor” for Xavier Dolan’s film.

In an exceptional photo session staged by Mondino, the two actors revisited, in their own way, the famous bed-in by John Lennon and Yoko Ono of 1969 (the press conference that took place in their bed). It is, as is the case with Rock’n’Roll, a delicious exaggeration of the start-system. Exclusive Interview.

Madame Figaro: In Rock’n’Roll, you break the myth of the glamorous couple of French cinema. Why play with your image?
Guillaume Canet: A young journalist pointed out to me one day that my life as a fourty year old father, in a couple for a long time, was neither sexy nor ‘rock’, compared to that of the younger generation. This gave me the idea of ​​a comedy where that simple phrase triggers a disproportionate existential crisis. I push the neurotic trait that we all cultivate: the fear of aging, the desire to be seen as someone else, the need for recognition …
Marion Cotillard: When Guillaume told me about Rock’n’Roll, I thought that there was good material for very funny scenes. It was also an opportunity for us to really think about one’s image. Moreover, I was happy that Guillaume had found a topic that made him want to go behind the camera again, he is really a great director. Blood Ties, his latest film, which I adore, was harshly criticized. When your man is in trouble, you are affected in the same way. Seeing him excited about a project again moved me.
G. C.: After Blood Ties, I went through a period of doubt. I took a one year break during which I refocused: on horse shows, on family, on friends. Gradually, the joy of cinema returned. I worked on this film with great lightness, embarking all my relatives with me: my agent, my producer, my friends and, of course, my wife. I have heard so many ridiculous things about Marion and I, that I wanted to play with the image that people have of us, and also with the way we perceive ourselves.

Have you ever been hurt by a false image that people attributed to you?
M. C: After La Vie En Rose, an image of me that is very distant from what I am began to circulate. To protect myself, I retreated, which created another form of image, that of the snobish and cold girl, in which I did not recognize myself, either … People imagine us locked up in an ivory tower because they see us only during public appearances. The shift probably comes from there.
G. C: I regularly read aberrant stuff about us, for example that Marion lives in Los Angeles … People do not imagine that we live like everyone else, that we do our shopping, cooking, We take our son to school … In the film, I wanted to go from the real to the caricature, with this message: “Stop believing everything they tell you! ”
M. C.: I do not allow myself to be invaded by the negativity. I work on myself, I no longer take things personally. I learned to accept and live in the present moment. Since then, my balance is no longer conditioned by the eyes of others. It is liberating.
G. C.: I give little importance to the image that people can have of me, but I get very annoyed when some present Marion as this aloof person…
M. C.: … which I can be sometimes, but it’s not all I am! (Laughter.)
G. C.: I wanted to show Marion as I know her – with personality, funny, crazy – and this film proves it, because, as much an international star as she is, she did not refuse to do any the scenes. She possesses a sense of exceptional self-mockery.

Overexposure is the theme of this exclusive photo shoot for Madame Figaro. How do you manage the inconveniences of the media?
G. C.: We live in a time where everything we do is watched, even if it has no sense, no depth, no truth to it. At one point, I was living things viscerally. On the day of the birth of our son, for example, I was enraged when the paparazzi climbed our gate and spoiled that wonderful moment for us. Today, we learn to better preserve ourselves from all that is toxic. It was fun to convey this through this photo shoot. Today, everyone turns into a paparazzi with their cell phone. Some want to come in? Well, let them come in! That’s the whole idea of ​​my film. It’s best that we open the door ourselves, play with the fantasy and laugh with it.

It is also a cruel comedy about youth. For actors and actresses, is aging really that devastating?
G. C.: We live in a strange society that does not want to see itself grow old. Appearance takes precedence over substance. On social networks, one must give a perfect image of oneself, personality matters. Everything is fake. The fear of aging is indeed palpable in our profession because people watch us age on the screen, and it can be destabilizing. Many actors and actresses, especially in the United States, do not resist this quest for absolute youth. They all end up looking like each other, no longer having any age or expression. That bothers me more than growing old!

In cinema, do roles diminish as age increases?
M. C.: It is more complicated for the actresses, I think. Age is almost considered a disease for women, while we speak of maturity for a man. In the United States, in action movies or blockbusters, we do not see heroines in their 40s very much, those actresses are handed the role of the thinking heads that stay behind a computer … But let’s be optimistic! There will always be screenwriters who will write strong roles for women over 40 years of age. Things are changing.

There are hilarious scenes in the film, especially when Marion Cotillard starts to speak in the Québécois accent to prepare a role …
G. C.: It’s a little revenge (smiles). For the nine years we have been together, I have witnessed her involve herself without restraint in the preparation of often complex roles – what I call in the film the roles “with an accent” or ” with disabilities “. Marion should not just be a spectator of the delirium of my character, and the accent allowed her to build a funny role.
M. C.: I am always more at ease with roles that are completely far from who I am, where everything has to be built from scratch. Body language has to be set in place, a way of breathing. I want to dive body and soul into a role. It invades me, and it is not always easy to balance this invasion with my personal life. In the film, of course, Guillaume exaggerates this. It’s pretty funny. We are in a magnified reality, I am a lot less of a nut than the Marion Cotillard in the film!

What do you see in each other?
G. C.: I feel sincere admiration for Marion, which nourishes my love for her. I admire her talent, her genius as an actress, the way she gets involved and shows emotion with remarkable intelligence Beyond the actress, I love the woman she has become – serene, confident, always thinking of others – and the way she raises our son. I think she has also done a great job on me. (Smiles.) I’ve changed a lot since we’ve been together.
M. C.: I’m lucky to live with a man who evolves in magnificent ways, it’s admirable and above all inspiring. He raises me up, helps me to accept myself. We’re nourishing each other. W actors possess highly developed egos that can quickly invade the entire space if they’re not kept in check. Guillaume does not allow himself to be devoured by the “monster”. He is benevolent and has a huge heart that makes everybody around him feel happy

What makes your couple strong after nine years?
M. C.: When we met, fourteen years ago, we began by being friends before being a couple. That is our strength. We always have so much fun together. We are partners in the true sense of the word. He is my best friend and the love of my life.

You will soon be parents to a second child. In what state of mind are you?
M. C.:I am anxious to give myself time and to live the moment fully. During my pregnancy, I had to promote five films – the agenda made it so… It’s time to refocus on the essential!

Rock’n’Roll, directed by Guillaume Canet. In theaters February 15.

Queen Marion

Translation from Madame Figaro’s “Reine Marion”‘s article from their Septembre 30 issue. Scans here.

Nothing can stop the phenomenal Marion Cotillard. The most celebrated French actress in the world is the passionate heroin of Mal de Pierres, the new film by director Nicole Garcia. A vibrant drama about desire, in which Marion bares body and soul before partnering up with Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in two “made in Hollywood” blockbusters.

Suite 331 or Suite 336? That’s the question of the day at the Park Hyatt Vendome hotel in Paris, in the 11th arrondissement. This Friday, September 9, Marion Cotillard is doing press junkets. In other words, she’s speaking to journalists all day to promote the film Mal de Pierres, directed by Nicole Garcia. Suite 331 is cosy, a soft environment. Suite 336 is huge, bathed in light. Marion decides : she prefers the second one, where she’s been rehearsing since this morning. Political meeting in the antechamber: press journalists, the Studio Canal team, hairdresser, make up professionals, dressing assistants… We feel as if we might be witnessing the morning ritual of the queen. An admirer sighs: “ah Marion’s voice, incomparable to all others.” It’s true! The actress has a voice like cool water, not as in the beginning of the storm, more like a river. Here’s Marion, that greets without much ado, with a smile. She wears a large gray dress-shirt with a blue stripe (after this interview, she’s announced she’s expecting a second child with partner Guillaume Canet). And to put a twist to this modest look, high heeled boots. We compliment her on the ensemble, she lets out the magic word: “Dior”. Let’s not forget that she’s the face of the Lady Dior bag. Hair tucked behind  the ear, peach coloured cheeks, blue eyes sparkling, she’s even prettier in real life than onscreen. Her posture is perfect, almost aristocratic, her back straight like a capital “I”. Delicately, she plays with a diamond around her ring finger, or cradles her face in her hands. Admired in France, she’s adored in America, where she’s part of the most sought after A list actresses. Already with a film out, Xavier Dolan’s Juste La Fin du Monde, she has three more coming out before the end of the year – a record. Mal de Pierres, Allied, by Robert Zemeckis and starring Brad Pitt, Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed, based on the successful game, and Rock n’Roll, directed by Guillaume Canet. She’s come a long way since the student in Comment je me suis disputé, by director Arnaud Desplechin, whom she’s working with again in the director’s new film, Les fantômes d’Ismael. Twenty years exactly, during which Marion has collected all awards, including the famous Graal (the best actress Academy Award for La Môme), and gone from shooting blockbusters to films d’auteur and back again. She’s a star. And we all know, having read Edgar Morin’s theory on the subject, that a star isn’t a pin-up or a showgirl, but something between the Gods and humans, divine and mortal.

MADAME FIGARO: 2016, what a year ! You’ve done film after film…
MARION COTILLARD: I’ve done a lot of films. This rhythm has to be an exception to the rule. For a year I’ve been submerged in the lives of others. A lot of things were irresistible. I loved the script of Assassin’s Creed. But what made me decide to participate in that film was the fact that it wasn’t a studio film. The director, Justin Kurzel, has a vision and a point of view about the story: this diving into violence and how to fight it. It’s one of the best directors of actors out there. After Macbeth, I really wanted to work with him again.

And in Guillaume Canet’s Rock n’Roll, what part do you play? Do you sing ?
No, I don’t do any singing. There’s Johnny Hallyday… the actors play themselves. It’s a comedy. I play an exaggerated version of myself. It can go as far as a caricature. What people imagine an actor to be like, what people imagine celebrities to be like. These ideas we can have that are sometimes very, very far from reality.

We’ve heard you no longer read what is written about you… Is that why?
It’s simply because that doesn’t interest me at all! I want to share what I discover about people through my films, through my work. I have put distance between me and the way people see me. Is it a self preservation thing? Without a doubt. At a certain point, we write me into something and someone that has nothing to do with me. I’ve been hurt, and especially scared of the way you can manipulate someone’s image.

Let’s talk about Gabrielle, your character in Mal de Pierres, based on the novel by Milena Angus. Would you say she follows her desire to madness?
She’s not mad at all. I think that if you stop someone from being what they are, from being free or different, we drive them to madness.

Did the nudity bother you?
It’s a very carnal character. There’s a mystery of the body that is necessary to the film. Technically speaking, they’re not my favourite scenes to shoot! When we read a script, we talk about the intimate moments, with the director, Nicole Garcia specifically. The important thing is the story, the incarnation of the character. I’ve refused roles before because I didn’t feel brave enough to do these kind of scenes.

Nicole Garcia said you wrote in a secret journal. Is it true?
It’s not a secret journal, but a collection of notes. Things that seem useful or essential to my character. I write a lot during preparation and also through the shooting. A scene might diffuse an idea for a following scene, etc.

We’re under the impression that work gives you structure. How do you make it work?
Playing a character is a job, even if it’s a strange one. It’s like being a traveler, or an archeologist. To understand someone and to become them, requires work. For example, Nicole had a very strong idea of what she wanted that didn’t correspond what I had imagined. I had to adapt to her will. Having said that, we cannot go to every aspect of a soul with someone else. It’s a very personal work.Diving into the personality of someone else is a vibrating connection. The expression itself has that mystery to it.

Do you read? Do you watch films? Gabrielle has a bit of Truffaut’s Adèle H…
That depends. For Gabrielle I drew my inspiration from encounters. With people who are different and don’t feel free to live those differences. An artist born to a non artistic family that don’t believe in his gift, a homosexual born into a family that does not accept his sexual orientation. Those things can hide a personality, cast a shadow over it.

You shoot in English and in French. What about you pleases the Americans so much?
I’m seen as someone who works a lot. And who can surprise, through that work. The Americans have this culture of the performance. And I love exploring new areas, be seen differently, put myself in danger.

You seem very calm. How do you deal with all the pressure? Do you meditate?
I can be less calm. I’ve gotten angry before, allowed negative feelings in. Working on living in harmony with yourself is the only way I found to deal. Finding a profound connection with the present moment through meditation. How do I explain this? Meditation can’t be explained in five minutes but at the same time can be summed up in one sentence. The way we take care of the way we look, it’s about taking care of us on the inside. It involves silence, which is fundamental in my life.

We know of your engagement with the environment. Where do you go to recharge your energies?
Cities are very turbulent. They’re places where negative energies are easily shared; not to mention the speed almost inhumane in which it plunges you. I need peace, regularly. Of the forest with its trees that block the noise, or the desert that has this silent quality. Humans adapt easily to their surroundings. But stress tires the body and the mind, brings disease. We all need the quiet to remove ourselves from the whirlwind, to connect to ourselves and the world that surrounds us.

Marion Cotillard, body and soul

Marion Cotillard, body and soul

In 2000, I was insanely proud when they invited me to go to Tawaian. I told whoever was listening: “I’m in a movie that’s being released in Asia!” On the other side of the world, a few people were interested in my work. There aren’t a lot of actresses that cross borders. No, this movie release, that was cool. I started a career in Germany, I now shoot regularly in France, who would have thought that in certain corners of China, people would know my name. Without wanting to sound pretentious, it was still worthwhile mentioning the turnaround my life and career were going through. After seventeen hours on a plane, I got out of the aircraft exhausted, ready to slide in between the sheets of a luxurious hotel in the center of Taipei.

“Hello, I will be your guide, your interpreter during the five days you will spend here.” The young girl who greeted me handed me three pages filled with writings: my agenda.

“I’ll take you to the hotel, you’ll have forty-five minutes to freshen up, and then we’ll head right to the first television interview.”

What ? She was crazy, this girl. Did she not know where I had flown from ? I’m going to sleep! I nearly screamed in her face, despite her kindness and eager smile.

“We love the French. They work well, they stand by their films with a passion. French women are always smiling, always elegant. We just had “Marionne Cotilliarde” promoting “Taxi 2”. She’s beautiful ! » Her eyes shone as she talked of Marionne. She had bewitched the entire country. “She’s so nice, never too tired”. I climbed onto the car that would be carrying me around all day. I said nothing.

“Mairyon ! Mairyon !” Thirtheen years later, Marion Cotillard turns around, in her stunning Dior gown, on the red carpet of the Marrakech Film Festival. She smiles at the one joining her, ready to present herself in front of the photographs that are waiting for her. The man that was calling out to her comes to take her arm. It’s Martin Scorcese.

She quickly greets Mads Mikkelsen, Noomi Rapace, and everyone invited to represent Sweden.

Since Asia, “Marionne Cotilliarde”, “Maryon Cothyâârd” or (in French) Marion Cotillard, has conquered more than one country. No need to announce which film she will be shooting. The title is in the newspapers of the entire world. In every language, in every country where there’s a movie theatre. Without being pretentious, she has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the turnaround that has taken over her life, her career.

The photographers cry out her name louder than any other. It’s tough to get near her in all the commotion. I’m there, but to be honest, I don’t dare approach. I don’t know Martin Scorcese. I don’t know any Swedish actors. And then there’s the fact that everyone is screaming. It’s nerve wrecking. Mairyon-Marion, however, looks relaxed.

She will go forward in a moment. But not before she greets the small blonde girl she hasn’t seen in ages, but to whom she offers a huge smile upon casting eyes upon her, a little further down the red carpet. Here it is, I finally take a step forward… “Hi, Sylvie. Martin, let me introduce you to Sylvie Testud. Sylvie, this is Martin Scorcese.” Now she’s done it! You can’t do that without telling me first ! My knees falter as he takes my hand.

The photographes cry still : “Over here, Mairyon ?” She doesn’t need to strike a pose, she shines. With her fair skin, blue eyes and dark hair, she’s a step away from being more famous than Snow White. Has she played her yet? No? Well, someone needs to have that idea. Sure enough, it’d make the planet sigh.

Marion Cotillard has become a star. I was thinking about all the films she’s worked on in the past ten years, all the awards, photos, magazine covers, when they called me, six months later: “Marion’s new film “Two Days, One Night” will soon be coming out. Would you want to write something? She’d be happy you would.” I love Marion a lot, I’ll do my best. I accept. A star. It’s weird when you’re an actor to describe another actor as a star. Nonetheless it’s my first thought. Marion rules. Everything. Places, situations, roles, directors, the press ! Can she still vanish into a character ?

I’m deeply touched after the screening of the latest film by the Dardenne, “Two Days, One Night”, selected for the next Cannes Film Festival, where the two Belgian directors have already received two Palmes d’Or. Again, they don’t use superficial effects, no show. A simple but touching story. Marion touched me, in her role as a young woman in a precarious situation. Even if she is a star, Marion is also an actress that makes me believe her troubles, her desperation in spite of the courage towards the unforgiving world of unemployment.

I ring the doorbell of her apartment in Paris. I thought she lived in Hollywood… She’s wearing a “Ghostbusters” sweater, a pair of jeans and flat shoes. Surprise! I was expecting a more… Dior look!

The conversation begins. Marion sits down in the exact same manner she used to when we were shooting « La Vie en Rose ». She talks to me in the same way she used to when she was Piaf and I was Momone, her friend, while we waited in the trailer. She had just spent five hours in make up but showed no signs of exasperation. What did Edith Piaf do to relax? She knitted. Marion did the same. Despite what everyone might think looking at her focused on her scarf, Marion lived with her character, as her character, for her character. She had already been chosen by Tim Burton, Abel Ferrara, Ridley Scott, and still, she was Piaf, she lived her life. The past did not matter, nor did the future. She worked fifteen hours a day. Every day.

“I’m afraid no one will buy it” – she confided one day as she came to set. Filled with doubt, she still worked fiercely. Four months at the speed of light, giving it her all. She laughed, cried, yelled out in pain at the loss of Marcel.

When she was nominated for an Oscar, we were all in shock. In the middle of the night, we learned that she had been the only French actress awarded for a role in French. Marion made history. A fairytale, is what it was. The rain of awards was unstoppable. Marion went beyond everything that most actresses only dream of. How long was this glory going to last? Haven’t we often awarded an actor for a role to see that role become the only good thing they’re known for?

I look at Marion. The most respected directors in America went after her immediately. Michael Mann, Rob Marshall, Christopher Nolan, Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh, James Gray… Just writing these names gives me goosebumps. The greatest French directors, Jacques Audiard, Guillaume Canet, and now the talented Belgians, the Dardenne brothers. Marion is no longer Edith Piaf. She has managed to remain Marion. She managed to invest in different roles, as strong as Piaf. Her Stephanie, in “Rust and Bone” has touched me deeply.

“Aren’t you scared when all these directors call you ?” I picture myself eating my fingernails if James Gray would ever ask to meet me. I picture myself passing out if ever crossing paths with Leonardo DiCaprio, Joaquin Phoenix going to and from the trailer.

“I am terrified”, she replies. “I am afraid of disappointing them, so I work. Like a crazy person.” She shrugs, smiles. And so do I. If we need a little luck to start, we need to know how to take it, how to transform it. We will see her soon in “Macbeth”, directed by Justin Kurzel, for whom she has certainly worked a lot. She will be speaking in Shakespeare’s tongue! I know what I am talking about. At school, I played some of its scenes in French and that was already extremely difficult. If the opportunity had not presented itself to Marion, I am sure she would have known how to find it. I’m a firm believer that there are no coincidences. I greet her little son, certain that he never tosses his Coke can out the car’s window. His mom, a strong supporter of Greenpeace, also finds the time to stand up for our planet. The only cage she has wanted to enter was the one set up to support Greenpeace members held in Russia.

And Dior? Have you seen “Lady Blue”? After “Lady Noire” and “Lady Rouge”, it was David Lynch that directed the commercial, that looks more like a film than an advertising clip. Because if Marion has accepted to be the face of the brand, she has also stood by the artistic work that comes from it. It’s not the outfit she wears, not the bag she sells, it’s the soul of the Dior house and its creations that inspire her. So is Marillionne-Mairyon-Marion a star, an actress, a mother, world citizen, a woman in love, a fighter, an artist ? We can maybe admit that she’s all at the same time.

Marion Cotillard: “I feel like an outsider, we actors aren’t normal people”

Marion Cotillard: “I feel like an outsider, we actors aren’t normal people”

ROME – France’s Marion, diva Cotillard, shares in life the melancholic temperament with the heroines embodied on screen. The Oscar-winning Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose”, the girl with no legs in “Rust and Bone”, brings to theatres a new and convincing portrait of a lady (January 16). In James Gray’s epic “The Immigrant” she is a young Polish immigrant who arrives at Ellis Island and ends up a prostitute, caught in a quarrel between the recruiter Joaquin Phoenix and the magician Jeremy Renner. “I feel very close to Ewa. I, like her, know very well what it means to feel like an outcast,” says Marion, 38, the world’s most famous French actress, forty films on her resumé, some made with high caliber filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan and Woody. “I have never thought about it in terms of career” – she says – “never planned or analyzed my path. To me it’s just telling stories, investigating the nature of human beings: one lifetime isn’t enough to grasp our complexity. I feel like an anthropologist trying to understand how souls, hearts, and brains work.”

The film is like a historical painting of an era. How did you prepare?
“I left it to the director to research the America of the 20s, my Ewa is an immigrant in a new world. I focused on her and the Polish language. In Michael Mann’s Public Enemies I was playing an American with French roots. This time, I had to be believable as a Polish citizen, delivering lines in Polish, which is a complicated language that I studied like a mad woman. For months. Languages are my obsession: after watching Festen I took Danish lessons because I dreamed of working with director Thomas Vinterberg. ”

How did you create the character of the unfortunate Ewa?
“I went back to the age of twelve, when I had a Polish classmate. She was the misfit of the class, always alone. I was fascinated by her appearance,the proud gaze with which she faced the others and that seemed to say “You don’t know”. I was the only one who would talk to her, even though we didn’t share a friendship. At the time, I was very strange as well. But I seemed to understand her thoughts, that feeling of being threatened by the other children. I based my Ewa on her.”

In what sense were you different at that time?
I was not very social. It took time for me to understand, to learn to manage a normal relationship with others. Very early on, I had too many questions in my head, like “Why are we here?” and “Where do we come from?”. I questioned everything, I lacked the innocence of my age. I felt like I was just one big question mark.”

What was your relationship with your parents like?
“Good. But they were both actors. We are not normal people, we are especially not regarded as such. It can be difficult for a child, I wanted my mother to be like the mothers of my classmates, which she was definitely not. I have two twin brothers bound by an exclusive relationship, only at twenty years old did we manage to have a relationship, before that I considered them animals that I happened to share a family with.”

Has being a daughter of the arts influenced your choices?
“Yes. As a little girl I was fascinated by the lives of my parents, of the people around them; no day was ever the same. I started acting early. I felt that I was made for it even if I didn’t feel entitled to say it out loud, it seemed presumptuous. I wanted to be sure of my ability and it took time and effort to get here.”

Are you finally calm now?
“It’s a good time in my life. I have learned to control my fears and emotions. It’s not fun to always be the outsider. I hated feeling like that. But a part of me will always be somewhere else.”

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