Tag: Public Enemies
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?
MC: 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?
MC: 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!
MC: Fortunately, she was half French.
JC: When you leave a character, like Edith Piaf, how long does it take you to lose her?
MC: 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?
MC: 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?
MC: 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!
MC: 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.
MC: 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.
MC: 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.
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.”
“This is one of my favourite movies in my filmography.”
“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.”
I finally started keeping my promise to add missing older stuff to the site. For now I replaced all the movie & television stills where I had untagged HQ versions. Also I added the odd additional still, some artwork posters and on set pictures. Enjoy!
001 L’Histoire du garçon qui voulait qu’on l’embrasse – 1994 > Stills
001 La Belle Verte – 1996 > Stills
003 Taxi 2 – 2000 > Stills
002 Taxi 2 – 2000 > Artwork
002 Lisa – 2001 > Stills
003 Les Jolies choses (Pretty Things) – 2001 > On Set
001 Les Jolies choses (Pretty Things) – 2001 > Artwork
005 Jeux d’enfants (Love Me If You Dare) – 2003 > Stills
002 Innocence – 2004 > Stills
005 Cavalcade – 2005 > Stills
003 Edy – 2005 > Stills
008 Ma vie en l’air (Love is in the Air) – 2005 > Stills
004 Mary – 2005 > Stills
005 Mary – 2005 > Artwork
002 Sauf le respect que je vous dois (Burnt Out) – 2005 > Stills
004 La Boîte noire (The Black Box) – 2005 > Stills
003 La Boîte noire (The Black Box) – 2005 > Artwork
005 Toi et moi (You and Me) – 2006 > Stills
001 Toi et moi (You and Me) – 2006 > Artwork
010 Dikkenek – 2006 > Stills
001 Dikkenek – 2006 > Artwork
020 Fair Play – 2006 > Stills
007 A Good Year – 2006 > Stills
029 La Môme (La Vie en Rose) – 2007 > Stills
007 Public Enemies – 2009 > Stills
002 Nine – 2009 > Stills
325 The Immigrant – 2013 > On Set
001 Television > Chloé – 1996 > Artwork
006 Television > Une femme piégée (A Woman in Trouble) – 2001 > Stills
007 Television > Une femme piégée (A Woman in Trouble) – 2001 > On Set
Marion Cotillard takes a tough turn in the gritty love story “Rust and Bone.”
In her new film “Rust and Bone,” which already has set box office records in France, Marion Cotillard takes a dramatic step away from her chic, seductive earlier roles. Cotillard won a 2008 Oscar as Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose,” played captivating dream women in “Inception” and “Midnight in Paris,” and has been a brand ambassador of Dior since 2009.
Now the 37-year-old actress goes gritty and working-class as Stephanie, a killer-whale trainer at a French seaquarium. After she suffers a terrible accident, she enters a sexually charged courtship with Ali (up-and-coming Belgian star Matthias Schoenaerts), a tough boxer/bouncer with a criminal past, impulse-control issues and a spotty record as a single parent to his young son. Each is damaged inside and out, each makes an effort to heal — and tame — the other.
“Rust and Bone” is already gathering Oscar buzz for Cotillard. To prepare, she took swimming lessons while filming “The Dark Knight Rises” in Pittsburgh, and spent days learning how to interact with whales by observing orca trainers at Marineland in Antibes. (Spoilers follow.) But in a September interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, she said that playing a double amputee re-learning to walk did not require a lot of study.
“I didn’t need to watch a lot of videos” to create her character’s body language, Cotillard said. “They showed how amputees who were experienced with their artificial legs moved. My character, who was suddenly injured, was learning to walk from scratch, like a newborn, and she learns as she goes along.”
Cotillard’s father was a mime and theater director, her mother an actress, but they didn’t pressure her to perform, she said. Her early film diet was heavily Hollywood, and she considers herself “very lucky” to have collaborated with Woody Allen, Tim Burton, Michael Mann, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott and Steven Soderbergh. She hopes one day to work with her longtime favorite, Steven Spielberg, as she crafts a career shuttling between English-language roles and working in France, which she considers her home base.
Cotillard is famous for her immersion in her characters. She shaved her eyebrows and hairline to play the haggard, aging Piaf. To get inside John Dillinger’s girlfriend Billie Frechette in “Public Enemies,” she interviewed elders at the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin where Frechette grew up.
But she had never faced a challenge like playing a legless woman. For scenes in which Stephanie uses a wheelchair, Cotillard sat on her folded legs. Scenes where she walks on steel prosthetics were created with digital technology. “Once I put myself in the character of someone legless, I almost forgot everything below the knees.”
The love affair between Stephanie, who retains a healthy sex drive, and the ever- ready Ali, who is brusquely matter-of-fact about her injury, is by turns dramatic, frankly sensual and surprisingly fun and funny. “The tragedy was already in the situation. We didn’t need to dwell on it as actors,” she said. “They both hurt but they are transforming, regaining their lives, embracing love. Why wouldn’t they laugh together sometimes?”
Cotillard appears in several scenes with performing whales at the amusement park, in effect directing their performances. It was one of the most difficult episodes of the production, she said, because she considers the whales intelligent, sensitive creatures that should not be removed from their habitat.
“It didn’t feel like I was in charge. It was as if we were working together as a team,” she said. “But it was not my favorite scene. I never go to the zoo because I hate to see animals caged or turned into circus amusements. Their captivity in a swimming pool upset me. The trainers love them, working with these huge creatures is their passion, but I would not go back there again.”
By contrast, she sees the scenes of Stephanie’s visceral excitement about Ali’s bare-knuckle boxing career as paradoxically life-affirming. The whale trainer becomes his lover, manager and chief cheerleader. It’s not that her character relishes brutality, she explained, but that the combat stirs visceral feelings in a woman who felt physically desensitized. “She’s not a saintly martyr,” Cotillard said. “A character who is pure isn’t interesting. It’s the complicated ones who are the best challenge.”