"I get richer from exploring other peoples' lives" – Marion Cotillard
An exclusive interview with Marion Cotillard
Buro 24/7 caught up with Marion Cotillard stateside as she prepared to head to the French Riviera to take in Raf Simons' Dior Cruise 2016 fashion show at the stunning 'Bubble Palace,' before cruising along the coast to attend this year's Cannes Film Festival. And this is what she calls "taking a break."
The busy Oscar-winning actress travelled to Cannes earlier this month to support the world debut of her latest project, Justin Kurzel's film revival of Shakespeare's Macbeth, in which she stars alongside Michael Fassbender. The La Vie En Rose star opened up about becoming a mother, making it big in the City of Angels and the perils and pros of fame...
You came from a relatively affluent family, growing up with two parents that are actors. How was that?
Yes. But my parents, their parents and their brothers and sisters were not wealthy people, so I don't live in a world that is disconnected with this world we're talking about in the Dardenne Brothers movie. When I was a kid I lived in the suburbs in France. The suburbs is a little different than in America. I've always been connected to where I come from, even if my parents were actors and it was kind of different. My family – when I was a kid – was different from the other families because my parents are artists but we lived in this down to earth world and I was, yeah, I was never disconnected with this world.
Can you actually live a normal life in Paris, despite being a famous actress?
Oh, yes! You know, it also depends on what you want. If you want a normal life and if you would do everything to have it, then I think you can have it in my situation. I can only talk about my situation and I can only imagine what it would be like to be a TV star. You're in peoples' house every day. It's really different, you know, but, yeah, I think if you want to have a normal life, which I really want, I can have it.
What are the best and worst things about being a professional actor?
What I like the most is exploring the human soul and heart and, I mean, human beings' lives. That's what I love the most because I get richer from exploring other peoples' lives. What I dislike the most is well, I don't think what I dislike has anything to do with acting. What I dislike the most would be how the media is creating a character some actors are not creating – someone who's totally different from what they actually are.
And the paparazzi?
No. No. I mean, I live in France so it's not like here (L.A) where you have paparazzi wherever you go. In France we have laws so they're not allowed to act like that. First of all, they must hide so well, it's annoying when you don't know they're there and they are and you will eventually find out that they were there. I mean you never get used to it but it's not the worst thing in my life.
Paris Match reported that despite being a mum, you don't know how to change a diaper, how does it feel to read these kinds of things about yourself?
Well you know, I don't really care when people say bad things about me. And if they want to write this, it's their problem. You know, if I start reading or paying attention to this, well it would be too much. So I totally know how to change a diaper thank you!
How has being a mum changed your attitude to work, if at all?
I'm taking a break right now. It doesn't show here today, but I'm in the middle of my break and I'm going back home today. It changes things because you have to organise yourself differently and usually when I work I'm totally dedicated to my work and even if I'm part of myself when I leave the set, there's something that I'm bringing home with me. It has changed. I cannot bring anyone home with me because my son would freak out. So I'm totally separating my life and my life as a woman, my life as an actress.
Do you ever bring your son to work?
I have. I'm lucky enough to be able to do that, yeah.
You once played in a band, Yodelice. Are you still a member of the band and do you still have time for music?
Well I hope I will always have time for music. The show is totally different now. It was two years ago when I could still go on stage. I would love to do it again, because my place in that band is very special because I actually wasn't supposed to be a part of it in the first place. But then they really like included me, step by step, and so it's a very open space for me. I would have to, you know, have time to rehearse and everything but it's really something that gave me a lot of freedom. But I want to give some time to music. That's what I'm going to do...
So you might go back?
Oh yeah. He's a very good friend of mine, Maxim Nucci. So I'm going to see him next week. We are sometimes writing songs for, you know, for me or for Simone, which is my character in Yodelice. This is part of my life.
You're a famous actress, from Paris to Hollywood, has fame changed you, or at least your life at all?
Well it's part of it. It's not the fame that's changed my life but it's the movie – La Vie en Rose, which was like a real turning point in my life, for sure. Fame is not the most important thing.
I know but you can not deny it right?
Oh, no, no, no! I'm not denying it. It is weird to arrive somewhere, especially in my country, and find that most of the people are looking at me. It's odd. And sometimes it's really uncomfortable, especially when people try to take pictures. But then, you know, I'm not like some celebrities here who live with paparazzi like 24 hours a day. I love America and I spend a lot of time in America. But I am keeping my life in France for privacy, otherwise I would stay in America forever.
How does it feel to have conquered the movie world on both sides of the Atlantic?
Well I feel very lucky that I can work in the U.S. I never thought that something like that would happen to me. I feel grateful because when I was a kid I watched a lot of American movies and even though I never thought: 'I would love to work in American movies', I was always fascinated by their cinema. I just wanted to be an actress. My dream was kind of wide in terms of the fact that I wanted to be an actress and I didn't want to be a French actress. I didn't see any boundaries, so that's maybe why I crossed the ocean. But the thing is I feel very lucky. I love doing this. I love doing American movies and French movies. It's a big chance. When I was a kid my dream was to be an actress but to be an actress that would disappear into roles and experience as much as I could experience through other lives and I would have never thought that I would have the opportunity to experience other cultures and other languages so I feel very lucky that I can experience being Polish or Italian in the '70s or Belgian...
Did you ever find that cultural differences got in the way and made working difficult?
No, because that's what I try to do – find the authenticity everywhere in everybody, and every character that I play. And when it's really, really far from me, that's when I'm really enjoying it.
What does Dior mean to you?
I have to say and to be honest I didn't consider fashion as an art before I met them. And they changed my vision of fashion.
I didn't really pay attention to fashion before. I mean I love to dress and I like clothes but I didn't see fashion as an art. When now, I see it as a very, very special form of art. And being able to enter a house like this with the artisan and they opened the door of the atelier for me and I saw all those people who have been working for them for years and who are like so good at what they do. And so passionate about it. It's wonderful. Wonderful to discover this world. And I love the people at Dior and I'm very lucky and I'm very happy to work with them.
Do you have a favourite Dior ensemble?
Well I had the huge chance to do a photo shoot with all of the looks made by Mr. Dior himself – and it was very emotional. I felt very moved when I wore those dresses from the 40's. It was really something. Everything I wore that day was amazing.
Are you able to enjoy and explore the rich cultural offerings of Paris, perhaps with your husband or other like-minded creative people?
Well I would love to have more opportunities to spend some time in Paris or anywhere else. And, you know, I'm always very impressed by those pictures taken at La Colombe d'Or in the South of France, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, with this mix of Prevert and Montand and Signoret. All those people who gathered in this very beautiful place. If there was one place and one time I would like to go visit, like in the past, it would definitely be there with those people.
That sounds like a Woody Allen movie!
You are in great shape, do you work hard in the gym and at your diet? Have these habits changed since you became a mum?
Well I didn't really behave myself and I'm lucky that in my family we have a body that allows us a little leeway. But yeah, I'm a moderated crazy food lover. I have to moderate myself because otherwise I wouldn't stay in shape at all. And I try to work out. Ever since I had my son it's been hard to find some time to do that though.
Is it less important to you since becoming a mum?
Well it should be more important because my body is totally different now. But I'll do it. When I'll have time, I'll do it.