Category: Translations

Marion Cotillard: "Being Joan of Arc is a difficult challenge – but I love it"

from El Periódico (Spain) / by Marta Cervera

The Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard will play Joan of Arc in the Auditori on November 17 and 18 along with the OBC. She will portray the protagonist of Arthur Honegger imposing oratorio Jeanne au Bûcher (Joan of Arc at the Stake), a fascinating piece of great drama, which the actress watched her parents play when she was a child. In the play, the French heroine remembers her life before she died accused of heresy.

You already participated in a production Orleans with the symphony orchestra of that city in 2005. It took a lot to convince?
For me it was a gift because I had seen my mother playing Joan of Arc when I was a girl, and my father was the brother Domenico. It was she who asked me to assume the role and I loved it. Playing Joan of Arc surrounded by a choir and an orchestra is a beautiful experience, unique.

Back then you weren’t as well known as an actress as now, after the Oscar win for your portrayal of Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.
But my interest in this work is still intact. It is a work that captivates me. After the two representations in Orleans I was eager to do it again. And I told Jean-Marc Cochereau, who directed me the first time. So when the project in Barcelona came up I did not hesitate. I am told that the OBC is a high quality symphony formation.

You’ll be surrounded by 82 musicians, led by Marc Soustrot, 100 singers from the choirs Lieder Camera, Madrigal and Vivaldi, more actors and soloists
It’s a real treat to participate in this impressive work. It’s why I’m so excited to do it again. It is a difficult challenge, but I love it. The life of Joan of Arc is very interesting. She died so young!

Her end was terrible and unfair. The same Church that condemned her to burn beatified her afterwards.
She lived at a time when a woman was considered a heretic or a witch for things unthinkable today. Joan had a vision that took her life. Her precipitated end at the stake made her a legend.

Will you need the music sheet?
I’d rather learn the text by heart because then it comes out differently, it’s much more believable.

What will your wardrobe be like? Is characterized as in the photo?
I don’t know yet. In Orleans I took the dress that my mother had used when she played the part. But I haven’t decided if I will use it again.

This oratorio was premiered in 1938, with a libretto by the poet Paul Claudel. Will it cause much impact today as then?
It can. It has an extremely modern writing. It is constructed of flashbacks and provokes many images. But not only that, the number of musicians involved generates a huge thrill. You have to live it.

What is the main difficulty?
I have to talk in a very particular way trying to articulate my voice in a completely natural manner, even when there is music playing. The pace has to be very clear so that the music does not drown out my words and, as I can’t accelerate or slow down the orchestra, my challenge is to match them.

You, who are also an actress and singer, have an advantage?
Certainly. If you have no sense of rhythm you can’t face this oratorio. Luckily, I have always had a good ear. Music is part of me.

In Barcelona, ​​Ingrid Bergman starred as her in the Liceu in 1954 directed by Roberto Rossellini.
This piece is fascinating, out of the ordinary. It is not easy to categorize: neither theater nor opera. It’s very cinematic. It transmits a brutal force and engages.

Can you imagine playing Joan of Arc in a movie?
I would love to but I don’t know if it could overcome some of the existing films. It only makes sense to do a remake when it brings something really different to the table.

You’ve been living for a while in the U.S. but are now taking some months to stay in France. Will you settle in Europe?
I always like to go from here to there. I will go to the U.S. later this year. If I went back to Europe it’s because I wanted to be with my family and take a break. I’ve been here three months without work, apart from doing some promotion.

You come from a family of artists, yoour mother was an actress, your father a filmmaker. Does this help maintain the serenity despite fame?
No one is prepared for fame. Everyone faces it as we can and do the best we know. I try not to think about it. It is fortunate that there are people who believe in me and trust me with roles that I never imagined I would have a chance to play.

I would have loved to walk the stairs of the festival with Woody Allen

Originally published in L’Express Styles (France), written by Paola Genone

translated by Oliver.G.Byrne

EX: In Midnight in Paris you are playing the beautiful Adriana, a muse of famous painters, who takes an American writer, Gil (Owen Wilson), with a case of writers block into her mysterious universe. What aspects of the role interested you and how was the experience of shooting this film?
Adriana is a timeless woman. She’s very sensitive and looking for herself. She feeds herself with the genius of different artists and gives herself completely to them. Adrianna can exist only when in contact with their imagination, which she herself helps develop. It is very difficult to describe the relationship that exists between a muse and a creator: Woody Allen does it brilliantly. This film was for me both an exciting and destabilising experience. Woody Allen sent me the script and we spoke on the phone but I only met him four days before shooting! So I was petrified. I have seen all his films, read all his books: I wanted to please him so much, to be what he was expecting from me that I put huge pressure on myself.

EX: Well, during shooting, Woody Allen said of you: “Marion has real charisma. I never get tired of looking at her face, her various expressions have no limits and they always come at the right moment”
He helped me greatly to find my marks. He’s an extremely generous director: He talks a lot and he’s very precise in what he asks. He has an incredible personality that carries you. He’s brilliant, even more than you can imagine! With this caring eye, this amazing energy, this mixture of softness, humour and precision… He creates universes who belong only to him and he’s capable to create the craziest story with his pen. To see him during shooting is a fascinating experience and I understand how great women like Diane Keaton or Mia Farrow fell under his spell. He his very charming.

EX: Music seems to have taken an important place in your life: you performed a song by the band Franz Ferdinant that they composed for you. You sang in “La Vie en Rose” and in the musical “Nine” by Rob Marshall. And for over a year you’ve been performing on stage (singing and playing the bassguitar) with the Yodelice, the band fronted by Maxin Nucci, as for example on March 22 at the Olympia…
I’ve always dreamed to be part of a band and Maxim – a friend since more than ten years – gave me the gift to join his. Last year, he invited me to perform on stage with him. So that no one would recognise me I wore a man’s costume and a hat and went by the name “Simone” – the name of my grandmother who dreamed of being a singer! I play with him whenever I can. The last time was at the Olympia, I was very moved. I had terrible nerves. I have great respect for music. I started playing piano from a very young age and, pushed by Maxim, I started playing the guitar, then the bass guitar and improved my singing skills. Last January ,pregnant, I decided to stop making film after film to go to Los Angeles for 2 weeks with Maxim and to dedicate myself exclusively to music. I wanted to see once and for all if I was capable to write my own songs or if it was just a dream.

EX: What happened?
There was a click, a light bulb… I had tons of ideas all over the place and finally they started to take shape. I don’t yet know where it will go but I would really like to create something that can be shared… a CD. Playing an instrument is something that moves me. And I really want to sing.

EX: You are playing a doctor in Contagion the new film by the director Steven Soderbergh, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow… This film that is very committed to the environment must have resonated with you.
I am indeed concerned about the fate of our planet and with this film Soderbergh brought me into a very scary universe, even more so than Erin Brockovich. Contagion follows the rapid spread of a deadly virus that kills within days. While the virus spreads the global medical community frantically tries to find a cure. Before the shoot I spoke with WHO to learn about new viruses which I call the invisible enemies. If I already was a bit paranoid on the subject this thriller made it worse. Luckily I could also talk with Soderbergh about our fears in a funny way like “Do you touch the remote in your hotel room?” “And how do you do it with door handles?”, “How often a day do you wash your hands?” Like Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh is a very intelligent director with an impressive sense of humour and he’s very cultured. To be among those artists gives me a great deal, in life as well as at work.

EX: You’ve always lived in an artistic world. Your mother, Niseema Theillaud, is an actress who will soon be in the film “Pourquoi tu pleure?” Your father Jean Claude Cautillard is a director, actor and mime.
My mother was also part of the cast for Little White Lies and Guillaume Canet acted in “La clef du problem” too – the first film by my brother Guillaume Cotillard. My brother’s always had a great gift for writing, we’ve always been fascinated by his letters, his poems, his stories. I am very proud of him because he used to work in IT but he’s finally taken the risk to express his artistic side. My parents have always encouraged our creative side, my other brother Quentin is a sculptor and a painter. It is the most important thing they have given me along with being respectful towards each other: the openness of the spirit and the heart. I dream to work one day with my father. When I was little, I saw all his performances as a mime which fed my imagination. He tought me the basics of this art. I know how to be stuck between two walls, I know how to cycle without a bike, to eat apples without apples, to climb stairs without stairs…

EX: Expectant mother… How do you imagine yourself?
I have a hard time speaking about my personal life. I am very prude. All I can say is that I’ve always lived each step of my life to the fullest. To swim in unknown waters excites me. It’s a very moving experience, it teaches me a lot and enriches the person that I am.

EX: Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen will open at Cannes. Will you be at his side? What does this festival mean to you?
I would have loved to walk the stairs of the festival with Woody Allen. But I won’t go… I am occupied with something else! I have no regrets and I am so happy that the film is opening the festival. It’s a festival that I love, even if at times, it crossed the line into an odd direction. People have criticized it, with good reasons, for becoming a sort of market for everything and nothing. I think of the arrival of reality TV stars on the red carpet that transform it into a brainless marketing machine. Thankfully, this institution has always known how to renew itself and it is still one of the greatest festivals for films, full of creativity. In my eyes the Cannes film festival will always have this mixture of beauty, glamour and discovery.

I would love to live a double life

Originally published in Madame Figaro (France), written by Richard Gianorio

translated by Oliver.G.Byrne

MF: How are you feeling right now?
I don’t know a word that hasn’t been used a million time, absolute joy. I have never been so in peace (zen). There is my pregnancy of course but also the fact that I’m rediscovering Paris and that I get to see all my friends after cruising around the world for so long.

MF: Do people leave you alone?
It’s not easy to have your picture taken by paparazzi, pregnant with the belly up, it’s actually quite violent but at the same time I take a step back from that. There is nothing to hide, I’m pregnant, what can we add? The situation speaks for itself. On the other hand it is true that I do not like to comment on my private life. I’m not very comfortable with it and the subject that would be myself is not the centre of my concerns.

MF: Is it difficult for someone on top to take a step back for a while to have a child?
No, because the need for a child at some point is stronger than anything else. And afterwards I start working again by filming Christopher Nolan’s Batman, it’s an opportunity to go back to it nicely, it’s a small role and a very comfortable one for a new mother. Later on, I have other projects that fill me with joy. Since “La vie en rose” I’ve walked in the gardens of some of the greatest filmmakers with amazing supporting roles – “Public Enemies” “Nine” or “Little White Lies“. But I now have the need to carry an entire role on my shoulders, I want to be the one whose story is told.

MF: Any regrets about not being able to be at Cannes this year to present Midnight in Paris?
No because in my state it would be impossible. At the same time it would have been the first time I could have walked the red carpet to present a film, one directed by Woddy Allen nonetheless. I was amazed when he gave me the role. I remember our first phone conversation, I was still living in my old apartment in the Marais in Paris and a friend was in the room beside me. We were getting to know each other by phone! It was surreal, I met him just four days before shooting started so I was slightly destabilised and it took me a while to adapt. The way he looks at his actors reassured me. He’s an extraordinary director, always much more than what you expect: funnier, more tender, more brilliant, more ironic…

MF: Between continually shooting movies, your travels, your duties as face of Dior… Do you ever get overwhelmed by everything?
I am frustrated when I have less time to give to Greenpeace for example. It reminds me of actors like Audrey Hepburn, who stopped at some point because there was a calling for them bigger than anything else, bigger than their careers. I have a lot of projecs that have nothing to do with this career, Greenpeace of course, the environment as a whole. When I engage myself for the forest, it’s not only for the trees but to preserve people as well. I would love to help another way. In fact I would love to live a double life: If I were twice myself, I would never feel any frustration.

MF: Do you get to be proud of yourself sometimes?
As an actress yes! In the case of “La vie en rose” I was proud of us: The director, make up, the sound operator… This film represented something that was a special accomplishment in my eyes. I worked so hard for it! I thought it would never work, I could never do better. I work hard, I prepare a lot, I have too much respect for this craft to leave it to improvisation. In general, if we don’t work, we become poorer, we become empty and uninteresting. In general, I see my films once and I examine everything, every single move, I like to understand how my work has been taken and translated to the screen.

MF: Are you in Hollywood’s A list?
I am not at the bottom but the A list is only reserved to American actress who can draw people to the cinemas. Like Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, or even the incredible Penélope Cruz who’s going be huge with the new Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course I played in the blockbuster “Inception” but it was Leonardo Dicaprio who brought in the audience. Having said that, I’ve been wonderfully received by the Americans whose cinema I sincerely love. My dream?! (Laugh)
To play in a film with Will Ferrell’s gang, of whom I’m a huge fan. I participated in a Funny or Die skit he co-produced, I was in heaven!

MF: How do you manage to stay levelheaded in view of the string of success you’ve had in Hollywood?
A lot of actors want to believe what they are told and cut themselves from reality. I saw some who let go great, honest people in their lives, people who had the right outlook on them only to replace them with a bunch of groupies (Butt kissers). I need to be honest with myself, to be surrounded well and not being afraid to say “Be careful, you don’t look at me the same way!” If we just feed ourselves with the desire of being recognised and loved we end up turning in circles until we end up completely dumb. To see people become self-centred is a very scary thing. I’m sure we can spend our life in that type of reality but I don’t believe it would make me happy.

MF: Did you ever had a moment where because of fame you lost it?
No, because I never identified myself with a supposed image of myself. I belong to the real life and life is always moving. We are taken on a ride, everything is moving, everything is changing, nothing is acquired and it’s the same for everybody. In addition, I am very attached to the respect for others, as a woman and as an actress. If we don’t respect another who should be our priority there is a serious problem. I love healthy relationships and I defend simplicity in a life that is not simple, a life in which too many desires can lead you to frustration. The road is long and I am getting better. For the time being I try to be at peace with things and with the people I love.

Le Grand Journal in Cannes

Translated by Mia

Transcript (translated) of Marion Cotillard’s TV interview “Le grand journal” in Cannes

She received a Best Actress Oscar for “La Vie en Rose” in 2008, she’s Hollywood’s favourite French star, she’s just finished shooting films with Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and soon also with Leonardo DiCaprio, this is her first TV interview since the Oscars, here’s Marion Cotillard.

Le Grand Journal: Marion Cotillard is the only actress in the world to have wond the BAFTA, Golden Globe, César and the Oscar for a leading role, which is in her case “La Vie en Rose”. I imagine this changes a life. Has it changed your life?

Marion Cotillard: A little bit surely. I’ve had the opportunity to meet exceptional people and to work with them. I work more.

Mostly in Hollywood? In the United States? In France it hadn’t been a problem, but in the United States?

It’s true I had never imagined this when I became an actress. But I’ve just finished working on a film in France, so it’s well balanced.

I’d say it’s true that you’re the Queen of Cannes this year. This has not always been the case. After all, you have plenty of bad memories from the Cannes Festival. What happened?

I think that Cannes has its very good sides but also sides which are a bit more oppressing. When I came here I was a very young actress, and I’m not someone who feels at ease in this kind of situations, so I had some big moments of loneliness.

But now this is no longer the case. We will see you on French cinema screens July 8 in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. In the film you’re Johnny Depp’s girlfriend. He plays John Dillinger, a bandit of the 30ies, some kind of Robin Hood, a bank robber who turns out to be really likeable.

This period of time in the movie is very particular. In the 30ies, and especially in that area, life during the depression in the US was very hard. There were people who found money, or can find it and he took part of it. Contrary to other people in that period, especially Bonnie & Clyde, he’s a gangster but not a murderer. He was a gentleman who started robbing banks to get his friends out of prison. He spent 10 years in prison for breaking into a grocery shop. They wanted to make an example of him. He really went to school in prison, he learned how to break into banks with cars. At that time they didn’t really use cars to get away real fast.

You’ve said that Johnny Depp was a very reassuring costar when you were very worried about starting to work again after the immense success of “La Vie en Rose” and that he was a real gentleman with you. Very elegant in every sense of the word.

Yes that’s true. Generally, when I arrive on a film site I’m always in the same condition of doubt.

You’ve even said that you’ve doubled in size because you were under so much stress…

How do you know that?!

I just know! That you had physical symptoms and that you had doubled in size. Did you eat loads of chips?!

Well yes, it was the United States, what do you want! I love burgers a lot and for two weeks I just ate ate ate! No, seriously, I react physically when I’m under a huge amount of stress. While doing “A very long engagement” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet for example I became ill just before filming because I was convinced that I was the wrong person for the job, that I would do a bad job… And here I had… I don’t even know what it’s called! I swelled up. A lot actually. My lip was here (pointing to the nose).

We’re now going to see the trailer of the film, which is released July 8.

(Public Enemies Trailer)

We will see you in the musical “Nine” with Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, vous, Sophia Loren, Judie Dench and Kate Hudson. What ‘hallucinating’ cast! You will later shoot another movie, it’s official now, called “Inception” with Leonoardo DiCaprio.

This is Chris Nolan’s next movie, who also made the 2 last “Batman”.

Isn’t there a moment when you say: ‘But I’m dreaming, I pinch myself, this is a dream.” Do you still say that?

Absolutely! But I’m in a… I have been in a state of astonishment for quite some time now. I’ve always dreamed of doing this job and then I got the part in Rob Marshall’s film, the musical, which had been a dream of mine since I was just a kid, to be in an American musical. I find that I’m enormously lucky.

How do you view French cinema now? Is it different? Do they have a different method? Because Olivier Dahan now also made a film over there?

Personally, I think that each film is different. I think there are as many differences between a huge French production and an American independent film as there are between a huge American production and a French independent film… I’m just babbling now, no? Anyway, just to say that each adventure is different.

Don’t you feel that there may be points in which they’re better? Better organized? More structured? Or else faults?

Well it’s true that their organization goes like clockwork. But I’ve been asked this question often enough already and I can’t really find a good response because…

Maybe size of the trailer changes?!

Yeah !

Ok, just a word about French cinema. Right now, to see you in a French film one just has to find what Guillaume Canet is up to. That is in the films he stars in or directs. That’s a coincidence?

It’s a total coincidence in fact! I accepted Karim Dridi’s film “Le dernier vol” 1,5 years, almost 2 years, ago when there hadn’t yet been an actor attached to the project .

And in “Les petits mouchoirs”, the film which Guillaume is just finishing writing.

(Joking) But who’s Guillaume Canet?! I don’t really see the connection to Marion Cotillard, I don’t understand!

You’re really protecting your private life which shows that it’s possible.

Yes, it’s true that I’m quite discreet about that yes. As are many others by the way. Practicably, it’s possible.

Editorial by Marion Cotillard

Originally published in Elle (France), February 21, 2009

translated by Ioana

Dear Readers,

We have great powers. We have the power to destroy unknowingly, to provoke and guarantee our environment’s destruction, and, thus, our own. But then, we also have the power to stop this destruction, to preserve life, to see what’s going on in front of us, a few steps away. We have the power to take responsibility for the imbalance that we create ourselves.

All our actions have an impact, a consequence on the planet, on life. Positive sometimes, negative most of the time. We are powerful and we have the power to really act. We have been offered solutions: let’s embrace them. The little changes in our daily behaviour can make a great difference. It only takes one second to wake up, just a second in which we decide to act differently.

Let us educate ourselves, let us recycle, use water with moderation, switch off the electric appliances when we don’t need them. We should choose low consumption ones: these actions also help us improve our finances. Why not take advantage of that? Let’s replace the plastic bags with the reusable ones, let’s eat less meat, if possible. We should especially eat local and bio food, according to the seasons. If we want a new car, let’s choose an economical one. Public transportation and sharing the same vehicle are also possible solutions. Let’s not be indifferent to the destruction of the biodiversity. Let’s plant trees, in order to protect ourselves!

More and more people become aware, and this is very good news. It’s a joy to live in harmony with this planet and it’s not so complicated. When you send out positive energy, it comes back, it’s basic mathematics. Let’s invest in the preservation of life ! The ecological disaster is one of the reasons for world poverty. Add to this the fact that the great riches of our planet are not shared, and we become responsible for the terrible situation of vulnerable populations, like that of Bangladesh, for instance. Everything is interdependent. Today, we are 6,5 billion human beings. There will be 9 billion of us in 2050.

With great power comes great responsibility. It’s rehab hour! Let us reeducate our behaviour! I make an appeal to all the readers of this magazine: ignorance and indifference are plagues. Faced with an urgent situation that we have provoked ourselves, we have the opportunity to become a greater conscience, together. It’s a chance we have to take. Now. “Be yourself the change that you want to see in the world”. (Gandhi)

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