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Dec 2013
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Cotillard was in Marrakech to be part of Martin Scorsese’ jury

On top of being part of Martin Scorsese’ Jury at Marrakech Film Festival, Marion Cotillard — whose latest film, James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” played at the Morocco-based fest — cheerfully participated in roundtables with journalists. Cotillard, the first French actress to have won an Academy Award for her perf as Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose,” just wrapped Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Two Days, One Night” and will next topline Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth,” replacing Natalie Portman in the title role.

Variety: Through your parts in “La Vie En Rose,” “Rust and Bones” and “The Immigrant,” you’ve fully transformed yourself and dived very deep into the characters. How did these experiences change you on personal level?
Marion Cotillard:
I think that when you discover something that was unknown before it opens your mind, your heart. Roles after roles, I learned a little more about human beings. I want to go as deep as I can in a character. Sometimes, especially with “La Vie En Rose,” when I finished the movie, I needed to clean myself from old stories, things that you keep within yourself that you never get rid of because you don’t know how, or because it’s just too much, you don’t have the courage. To go deep in the character really gives the courage to face things. I don’t do that job to do that, to have that, but it happens. But I’m not going to choose a character because I’m gonna be like “it’s gonna be fantastic therapy” or something.

You’re on the Marrakech jury with Scorsese and you look like one big happy family. Do you think he’ll think about you for a future role?
Of course I’d love to make a movie with him one day, but today, the relationship we have all together, with the jury, is just about talking about cinema. I’ll do a parallel with James Gray. I met him with my boyfriend (Guillaume Canet) and we became friends. I’m a huge admirer of his work but when I met him, I didn’t even dare to tell him. Never in my mind was I thinking, “I’m going to do everything to work for him” because I was never able to be in that kind of seduction from the beginning of my career. When I had to meet a director, I preferred to have a screen test and show what I could do instead of sell myself in a discussion, because I was bad at it. When I met James, we became friends and I never thought I could work with him because he was my friend. The relationship I have with Martin (Scorsese) is two people who talk about cinema, and that’s it.

What’s your memory of Oscar night?

Just before the Oscar night I was chosen by Michael Mann to play in his movie and also by Rob Marshall, so I felt that “La Vie En Rose” had really changed my career. But each time it’s a new surprise. I never thought I’d have that chance and I still don’t think it’s going to last.

To me the best recognition I can receive is someone like James Gray writing a movie for me. The Oscar is the cherry on the cake, but what deeply changed was Olivier Dahan who was crazy enough to think that I could do this (play Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose”). I remember when I read the script I asked my agent “Which part am I gonna do?” and he said “He (Dahan) wants you to do the whole thing”. I said it wasn’t possible, but I didn’t say it too loud. I thought it was crazy and felt right away it would be an amazing experience. And then yeah, as I told you, the greatest recognition is still working with amazing people.

At some point you were working on your directorial debut. Is it still in the works?

I’d love to direct actors. I don’t know if I’d be able to direct a movie because, my god, it’s a really hard job. But I’d love to direct actors one day.

I still have a project, but I want to write it, and I don’t know if I can write. I need to have time to do it. It’s there. Maybe one day. I can’t say what it’s about, but it was inspired by a little nomad girl I met. She had a huge impact on my life, imagination, and inspiration.

You deserted Europe for a while and then you made a comeback in a French-language film with Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone,” and you have The Dardennes Brothers’ “Two Days, One Night” and Benoit Jacquot’s “Diary Of A Chambermaid” lined up. How difficult is it to find meaty roles in Europe?

It’s never easy to find a good role. But last time I did a movie in France it was Jacques Audiard’s movie, and I had a very narrow window to shoot it. Actually, I couldn’t (she was still under contract for “The Dark Night Rises”), but I made room, we decided to go straight into production instead of preparing as much as Jacques and I wanted. He loves to prepare well in advance. But it was irresistible, the role and the idea of working with Jacques. But it’s always hard to find a good role, there are some amazing roles, like the two leads in ”La Vie d’Adele,” so powerful, or “The Past,” with Berenice Bejo, sublime. There are good roles, but not a ton of them.”

How was your experience working with the Dardenne brothers?

We’ve just finished shooting. What I can say is that when I began working in the U.S., I started to think that all those amazing, greatest directors I never thought I could work with, suddenly … I realized it was not unreachable anymore. But there were two people for me who were unreachable: Bruno Dumont and the Dardennes Brothers. When my agent told me they wanted me to meet with them, I genuinely thought it was a joke. Then I thought it would be a totally different movie than what they do usually, because they do stories in their hometown.

With all due respect for all the directors I worked with, this experience was the greatest of my life as an actress, so I hope it’ll be good. They push the actors so far in the detail. That’s the relationship that I’d always expected with directors. That was idyllic.

You’re involved with Greenpeace among other ONGs, do you feel that it’s part of your job as a popular actress to be involved in humanitarian activities?

No, it’s not. It’s just that it’s a great thing when a human being takes action. I don’t do this because I’m an actress, and I don’t think it has an impact. If you dedicate a huge part of your life to it, like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie, and even with them it’s hard for them to be taken seriously. But with the time they’ve put in, they’re taken seriously. It’s a hard job to get there. I’m doing this because I’m a human being concerned by the planet, our health, our well-being, and not just here now. I know it’s hard to think ahead, think of 2000 years, but it’s part of my life.

Is “The Rivals,” a project with Michael Sucsy attached to direct, still in the pipeline?

Oh my God, this is such an old project that we had with Nicole Kidman. But I don’t think it’ll happen.

What can you tell us about your next big part as Lady Macbeth in Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth”?

Again, it’s a crazy opportunity, it’s always been my dream to play Lady Macbeth. I was sure I’d do it onstage, in French, because I’m French. In film adaptations, Lady Macbeth has always been played by English-speaking actress. These guys are crazy, I hope I won’t ruin the film. I rely on my coach to learn the accent. I know when it’s really bad or wrong, but I don’t know when it’s not very good.

Dec 2013
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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.

Dec 2013
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Membre du jury de la compétition longs métrages du 13ème FIFM, Marion Cotillard a reçu plusieurs récompenses grâce notamment à son interprétation d’Edith Piaf dans « La Môme ». Rôle qui lui a valu un César, un Golden Globe, un Bafta ainsi qu’un Oscar. Elle est la deuxième Française à être désignée « meilleure actrice » par la prestigieuse Académie hollywoodienne des Oscars, après ses performances dans « Taxi », « Big Fish », « Les petits mouchoirs », « Public Enemies », « Inception » ou encore « The dark knight rises ». L’égérie de la célèbre marque Dior a également collaboré avec de grands cinéastes américains et britanniques tels que Tim Burton, Woody Allen, Christopher Nolan et très récemment James Gray pour le tournage du film « The immigrant ».

Libé : Vous êtes sur le point de jouer le rôle de Macbeth, l’une des pièces les plus connues de Shakespeare. Que pourriez-vous nous dire à ce propos ?
Marion Cotillard :
J’en ai rêvé et j’ai toujours été persuadée que je jouerais un jour Lady Macbeth. Seulement dans mon esprit, cela se passerait sur scène et en français. J’ai travaillé sur l’une de ses scènes lorsque j’étais étudiante et c’est là que j’ai su qu’un jour j’interpréterais ce personnage. Par contre, je n’ai jamais pensé que je pourrais jouer la pièce de Shakespeare en version originale. Le script est compliqué à comprendre, mais je suis très ravie de l’opportunité qui m’a été offerte. Je suis consciente que le fait de demander à une Française d’interpréter Lady Macbeth est un risque pour les réalisateurs. J’espère donc être à la hauteur.

Dans « The immigrant », est-ce que, comme Lady Macbeth, Ewa se bat contre la vie?
Ewa est l’opposée de Lady Macbeth. Elle est entièrement dévouée à sa grande sœur; c’est une infirmière qui dédie sa vie aux autres.

Au sujet du personnage d’Ewa, combien de temps avez-vous consacré pour apprendre le polonais?
Cela m’a pris trois mois de travail intense. Il faut préciser que c’est un film à faible budget. D’autre part, faute de temps, j’ai dû travailler énormément pour apprendre les 20 pages de script en polonais, mais également acquérir l’accent polonais en anglais. Cela a été un grand défi.

A ce moment précis de votre carrière, comment choisissez-vous vos rôles?
Je lis toujours les scripts avant de m’engager. Afin de mieux comprendre l’histoire et le personnage que je suis censée interpréter. J’ai connu différents tournants au cours de ma carrière. Le premier a été avec Jean-Pierre Jeunet qui m’a offert un très beau rôle dans « Un long dimanche de fiançailles » et le second était pour « La vie en rose » qui a changé ma vie d’actrice. C’est grâce à cette dernière expérience que j’ai commencé à avoir des propositions de réalisateurs américains. Ce qui était mon rêve d’enfance.

Comment cela se passe-t-il quand votre mari, Guillaume Canet, vous dirige sur le tournage?
J’apprécie beaucoup son travail sur le plateau et je me sens bien plus impliquée que d’habitude quand je travaille avec lui. Certes, tous les réalisateurs sont différents, mais avec lui j’ai confiance. Désormais, je sais à quel point il est difficile de réaliser un film, et je suis alors plus sensible aux problèmes que peuvent rencontrer les réalisateurs. Je me rappelle qu’à un moment, James Gray sur le tournage de « The immigrant », semblait préoccupé. Je suis donc allée le rejoindre pour lui demander si tout allait bien. Il m’a expliqué que s’il voulait tourner la scène de la manière dont il voulait, il faudrait doubler le budget du film. J’ai été très affectée par cette déclaration, car depuis que j’ai un « réalisateur à la maison », je connais cette frustration.

Avez-vous l’intention de passer derrière la caméra?
Je pense qu’il est très complexe de diriger un film. Je ressens parfois le besoin et le désir de raconter une histoire, et la meilleure manière serait alors de réaliser un film. Je pense alors qu’un jour je le ferais. Seulement, je ne suis pas encore à ce tournant de ma carrière. Je ne sais pas si j’en serais capable, car c’est une entreprise très difficile.

En dehors du FIFM, connaissez-vous le cinéma marocain?
Je connais peu le cinéma africain. En tant que membre du jury du FIFM, je vais visionner des films que je n’aurais peut-être pas eu l’occasion de voir. Ce qui est alors très intéressant pour moi qui adore le cinéma mais manque souvent de temps d’aller au cinéma.

Nov 2013
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She radiates Old Hollywood grace and of-the-moment international style, but as anyone who’s watched her soul-baring performances can attest, France’s most in-demand export is a true original. Fellow actress Jessica Chastain interviews.

It’s nearly impossible to portray an icon. Film history is littered with failed biopics because even great actors struggle to capture the inexplicable spark that separates the merely great from the eternally unforgettable. But every once in a while, it happens. An actor captures that specific brilliance – and she becomes a legend too. That’s what happened in 2007’s La Vie en Rose, when a transformed Marion Cotillard embodied the grace, madness, and prickly resilience of Edith Piaf, singing “Non, je ne regrette rien” in her final scene with utter confidence, because Cotillard knew that she had left everything she had on the screen. The French star, born in Paris, raised by bohemian actor parents, and in a long-term relationship with French actor-director Guillaume Canet (who is directing her in this fall’s Blood Ties, in which she’ll star opposite Clive Owen), was already a rising star in Europe before her Oscar win captured the world’s attention. Now 37, she is fast becoming her own sort of global icon, a modern-day Catherine Deneuve: drop-dead gorgeous, wildly talented, insanely stylish – only with a kind of throwback, Garbo-esque steeliness. Already she’s gone toe-to-toe with Oscars’ aisle-seat actors Johnny Depp, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christian Bale. She consistently emerges as that rare actress who needn’t trade her grace for power, who can play the vulnerable patient (Rust and Bone) or the lethal femme fatale (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) with equal conviction. Next, Cotillard will burnish her fast-building legend with The Immigrant, as a Jass Age woman pressed into prostitution and torn between two men (Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner). As she moves among European art films, blockbusters, and prestige indies, there are precious few actresses who can keep up with her. Here, she speaks to one who is also a friend and fan, Jessica Chastain.

Jessica Chastain: Your parents were actors. When did you decide to become one?
Marion Cotillard:
There’s not one moment, but I really feld this creativity around me from my parents.

JC: What was the first role that made you dig very deep within yourself?
One of my first movies, Pretty Things. I was playing twin sisters. One of them would die, and the other would take her place. That was one of my first roles as a lead, the first time I had to explore the human soul. And actually, they were two souls! That was the first time I told myself that I could find the strength.

JC: Did it scare you when you realized that you actually had to go to those dark places?
I was never scared – well, in Public Enemies, the Michael Mann movie, I thought it was impossible to lose entirely my French accent. And actually that was impossible!

JC: You were wonderful in that movie!
Fortunately, she was half French.

JC: When you leave a character, like Edith Piaf, how long does it take you to lose her?
Well, it depends. Before doing La Vie en Rose, I never thought I would have trouble leaving a character. I even had weird, bad judgment about actors who could not get out of a role. This was something that I didn’t understand, but this was because I had never experienced the depth that I experienced with Piaf. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but it took me long, long time to separate myself from her.

JC: How long?
Eight months. Which is ridiculous, because I’m a really sane person, and everything I lived for those eight months sounded totally crazy. And I hated it.

JC: I understand. When you open your heart, mind, and soul, how can it not affect you?
Her biggest fear was to be alone. One day, I realized that I was scared to leave her alone. Which sounds totally crazy.

JC: No, it doesn’t!
But I just wrapped a movie, and the character took three days to go away. I guess when you explore someone else’s soul like we do, you always keep something. It’s like love, I guess.

JC: We can’t help but be changed and grow and evolve from the women that we play.
I guess that’s what we’re looking for, too. When I was a kid, I started to have a lot of questions about human beings, and I was a troubled child because of all these questions. I guess that’s why I became an actress. Not only because my parents were actors and, yeah, it’s a beautiful thing to tell stories, but I think I became an actress because I wanted to explore this – to explore what a human being is. Ina way, it really helped me.

JC: When I watched you in Rust and Bone last year, I just burst into tears. I immediately felt this connection to this woman.
The more I learn about acting, the more I get connected with my characters – but through my character, I connect with people who could be like the character – with women.

Watch List

The Dark Knight Rises, 2012
“Director Chris Nolan is irresistible. I knew this film would be a hard one for me. I was a new mum and had only had my son one month prior.”

Rust and Bone, 2012
“Working with director Jacques Audiard was my dream. The character of Stéphanie is one I was lucky to portray. She touched my heart.”

Inception, 2010
“This is one of my favourite movies in my filmography.”

Nine, 2009
“This was a wonderful experience. Director Rob Marshall, and working with Daniel Day-Lewis, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, and Judi Dench. No further comment.”

La Vie en Rose, 2007
“Changed my life.”

Big Fish, 2003
“I was very close to quitting acting – my dreams seemed bigger than my reality. It made me sad. Then suddenly, right at that time Tim Burton came my way.”

Nov 2013
French Press  •  By  •  0 Comments

Rien d’apprêté chez Marion Cotillard, rien qui ressemble à cette créature sophistiquée qui fait la “une” des magazines féminins ou qui sert d’égérie à des marques de luxe. L’actrice, le seul personnage qui compte pour elle en réalité, est là pour dire sa vérité. Sans fard. Même si, de son propre aveu, elle n’aime pas les interviews : “99 % de ce que je dis ne figure jamais dans les papiers. Les journalistes déforment presque systématiquement mes paroles. Au début, ça me mettait dans des rages folles. Maintenant, je ne réagis plus quand on m’attribue des propos aberrants. Je n’ai plus envie de me justifier.”

Quelques “propos de comptoir” tenus il y a quelques années, un soir à la télévision, sur la réalité des attentats du 11-Septembre ou encore sur la conquête de la Lune n’ont sans doute rien arrangé : “Parler de sujets aussi graves, c’était complètement naïf de ma part. Je ne suis pas une fille suprêmement intelligente, mais je ne suis pas complètement débile non plus. J’ai une grande part de responsabilité dans cette histoire, c’est vrai. Mais ce qu’on en a fait par la suite est ridicule.” Et d’ajouter : “Il n’y a plus beaucoup de journalistes. En revanche, les faiseurs de buzz, eux, pullulent.”

Après quelque quarante longs-métrages, Marion Cotillard a appris à maîtriser son langage, à déjouer les pièges de la “promo”. Son Oscar pour son interprétation dans La Môme (2008) et sa filmographie – Burton, Dahan, Mann, Nolan, Allen, Soderberg, Audiard, Gray… – parlent pour elle.

Dans le somptueux film de James Gray, The Immigrant, elle interprète le rôle d’Ewa Cybulski, une infirmière originaire de Silésie, qui débarque à Ellis Island avec sa petite sœur. “C’est une femme forte qui cherche à échapper à l’horreur, à sauver sa vie et celle de sa sœur. Il n’y a aucune utopie chez elle, juste un immense espoir de s’en sortir même si cela n’aboutit pas au bonheur.” Jamais, sans doute, l’actrice n’a été à ce point bouleversante, ni son jeu aussi maîtrisé. Elle se souvient du moment où James Gray, un de ses amis, lui a fait lire le scénario. “Il y avait des choses que j’aimais beaucoup et d’autres que je lui ai demandé de retravailler. Une en particulier qui concernait Magda, la sœur d’Ewa. Pendant une grande partie du scénario, il n’en était pas question. ça manquait. Il fallait que, d’une certaine façon, l’absente soit présente.”


Magnifiquement dirigés par James Gray et filmés par le grand directeur de la photographie Darius Khondji, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner et elle parviennent à donner une authentique vie intérieure à leurs personnages. S’exprimant dans un polonais apparemment impeccable, Marion Cotillard est crédible dans ce rôle de femme très pieuse contrainte de se prostituer. James Gray ne tarit pas d’éloges sur son actrice, expliquant même avoir écrit le film pour elle, pour son visage si incroyable qu’il rappelle celui de Renée Falconetti dans La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc de Dreyer. “Marion est si expressive, dit-il, qu’elle pourrait être une actrice du muet.” En observant Marion Cotillard, on comprend effectivement que quelques-uns des plus grands réalisateurs de la planète aient souhaité filmer cette lueur d’innocence dans ses yeux, qui semble exclure tout calcul de sa part.

Il y a dix ans, peu après le tournage de Big Fish de Tim Burton, elle confiait : “Le jeu amoureux m’est insupportable. La séduction me met mal à l’aise.” Aujourd’hui Marion Cotillard s’en amuse : “Cette phrase, je l’ai prononcée, c’est vrai, mais il y a longtemps. Pour l’instant, je n’ai jamais joué une grande séductrice. Mais l’idée me plaît ! J’aime explorer au cinéma tout ce que je ne suis pas. Je suis prête à tout expérimenter du moment que le rôle me convient.” Elle poursuit, sur un territoire plus personnel : “Je n’ai jamais été très forte dans la séduction. Et en même temps, ne pas être dans la séduction, c’est peut-être une forme de séduction en soi. Ma manière à moi de séduire.”

Parler d’elle, de choses intimes, est visiblement un exercice compliqué : “Quand j’étais ado, j’étais, comment dire ? Un peu asociale. Je ne comprenais pas les codes de communication entre les êtres. Alors, pour échapper à ces questionnements tellement étouffants, j’ai cherché des échappatoires.” La peinture de Modigliani par exemple. “Sa peinture, mais aussi sa vie. J’ai même imaginé être la réincarnation de Jeanne Hébuterne [peintre elle aussi, elle fut la compagne de Modigliani] ! J’allais sur leur tombe, au Père-Lachaise, je savais tout sur eux. J’adorais cette époque de grande créativité, entre Montparnasse et Montmartre. J’étais fascinée par tous ces artistes.” Elle rit, comme si elle se moquait gentiment d’elle-même. N’est-ce pas Modigliani qui disait : “Le bonheur est un ange au visage grave” ?