Marion Cotillard – Annette: “Leos lives his cinema intensely”

Interview of Marion Cotillard for Annette
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Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall
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Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver at the Annette photocall
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Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall
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Adam Driver at Annette's photocall
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Leos Carax at Annette's photocall
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Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall
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Marion Cotillard in Annette
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Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver in Annette
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Adam Driver in Annette
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Marion Cotillard in Annette
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Interview of Marion Cotillard for Annette
Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall
Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver at the Annette photocall
Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall
Adam Driver at Annette's photocall
Leos Carax at the Annette photocall
Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall
Marion Cotillard in Annette
Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver in Annette
Adam Driver in Annette
Marion Cotillard in Annette

Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall

Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver at the Annette photocall

Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall

Adam Driver at Annette’s photocall

Leos Carax at Annette’s photocall

Marion Cotillard at the Annette photocall

Marion Cotillard in Annette

Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver in Annette

Adam Driver in Annette

Marion Cotillard in Annette

Leos Carax’s musical will open the 74th Cannes Film Festival tonight. To be patient, her star confides in Première.

In Annette, the actress plays a great singer trapped in a toxic passionate relationship. For Premiere, Marion Cotillard tells about his collaboration with Leos Carax in this performance of the musical that she cherishes so much. We accompany this interview with some pictures from the film, as well as the photocall that has just taken place on the Croisette.

Today in Cannes: Annette opening, In the Mood for Love and tribute to Jodie Foster

FIRST: What relationship did you have with Leos Carax’s cinema before working with him?
MARION COTILLARD : He is a filmmaker who has regularly amazed me. Certain scenes of his films are etched in me forever, like the dance of Denis Lavant in Bad blood. And then there are the movies that blew me away from start to finish like Boy meets girl or Holly motors. What I like about Leos Carax’s cinema is that you never know what is going to happen or where it will take us, but that there will always be grace and passion.

We can imagine your enthusiasm when he proposed Annette to you …

In fact, when he first told me about it, the project was already five or six years old. We met in a Parisian cafe. I was very impressed and he started explaining to me that it would be a musical. But I love this genre passionately. In my life, music and singing are very important. Nine [Rob Marshall, 2009] remains to this day my fondest memory of filming and even more of preparation. But now, I was not available at that time, because I was pregnant and the shooting was to start very soon after my delivery. I had already experienced such a sequence after my first child and I did not want to repeat the experience. It’s obviously heartbreaking to say no to a filmmaker you admire and who shoots so little, but I did it without hesitation.

How did the film come back to you?

Two years later, the producer Charles Gillibert contacted me explaining that he had taken over the project which had meanwhile passed into the hands of several producers and several actresses. Probably because Leos has paid an unfair reputation since The Lovers on the Bridge. A lot of wrong things were said and written at the time. Charles therefore sent me the script. Reading it upset me, but again I reserved my answer. Because I needed to know if I was going to be able to be credible in the role of this opera singer with so little preparation time in front of me. It was obviously not a question of being able to sing the greatest operatic pieces in three months, but simply of raising myself to the level of what the role required. For that, I needed the feedback from a singing teacher with whom I had already worked. And when he gave me the green light, I accepted the role. Even if we still have deep within us the hope of becoming an opera singer in two months, that did not happen to me! (Laughs.)

How did you create this character?

Ann is a complex character. It is open, soft and generous, so we do not spontaneously perceive its darkness. We talked a lot with Leos who gave me material to explore and translate what he wanted to see in her. Very quickly, I had the joy of discovering that we shared the same inspirations. In particular Romy Schneider. He sent me a video where we see her interviewed with an actor she is in love with and where we can read in his eyes all the love she has for him. Leos wanted to find that look back in Ann for Henry. But in the end, I had quite a few questions for him. The scenario was crystal clear. And, as always with me, much of the work of building my role is very lonely. I fill in the blanks. I set off to discover a character by imagining what his life might have been like, why he is there when the film begins. Here, I mainly worked on the need for recognition present in Ann and what it causes. This is one of the central themes of the film for me. The way you’re going to manipulate someone, resonating with your fears. So I went to find the trigger in Ann’s early childhood. But Leos has been a constant partner. Because he is incredibly involved at each stage of the preparation: the choice of the least costume, the hairstyle tests, the make-up… His poetry begins to be written there, in a very concrete way.

Cannes 2021: what is Annette, the opening film by Leos Carax, worth? [critique]

We have the feeling of a very shy being. What is its relationship with the actors?

We immediately feel how much he loves actors, and to bring to life through them what he took so many years to want to tell. I know that spontaneously, when you think of Carax, you think cerebral, but there is something much happier about him. He loves the grotesque, which he transcends and transforms into beauty. He likes to laugh. I have often seen his eye light up like a cheerful little boy and above all capable of communicating his joy. Afterwards, on the set, he is very calm and not wildly expressive. (She smiles.) Personally, I never need overwhelming enthusiasm. Being extremely critical of myself, too many compliments can quickly seem suspicious to me. But it is true that on Annette, the first time I saw enthusiastic Leos,
I wondered if what I had done so far hadn’t transcended him enough… Before quickly chasing the idea out of my head. In any case, it is someone who, behind his apparent calm, lives his cinema intensely. All the more so on the set of this film of which he has dreamed for so many years.

To the point of having extravagant requests?

Every day I was faced with a new difficulty. Like singing perched on 20 cm heels while moving on a piece of wood barely 20 cm wide! But there is always a certain excitement with me in responding positively to any incredible request. Despite everything, I once said no. I was to sing an opera aria in an unlikely costume on a surface where I was really risking an accident. So I refused for my physical safety. Leos is not the kind of filmmaker who wants to push the actor to his limits, to put him in danger. He is not a manipulator. He just tries to translate with us the precise image he has in mind and if that’s impossible, he never pushes. The exchange is very easy with him. He was even particularly generous with me when I asked in a way, let’s say quite intensively, for additional holds in a very tight work surface. It even became a running gag between us.

If there should remain an image of this adventure Annette, what would it be?

The filming of the opening and closing scenes were truly magical moments. They took place at the very end, in Los Angeles. The action ofAnnette takes place in this city but for budget reasons, we shot in the studio. But for Leos, it was very important that LA appeared on the screen. And we must give thanks to the film’s financiers – including Adam [Driver] – who allowed
to do. There was something very euphoric about those days, reinforced by the fact that we were all together, with the Sparks, Leos’ daughter, his Javelin dog, most of the film’s collaborators … And then, after the filming, I loved working with the opera singer whose voice can be heard on the screen, mixed with mine. It was a really very complex exercise for her because the result had to be less ” beautiful “, less efficient, less pure than the way she would naturally have sung. The goal was for our voices to match. So I directed her by detailing and transmitting to her the emotions that I had put in each of these moments. Seeing and hearing what she gave me has given me tremendous joy.

Summary of Premiere n ° 520: Fast & Furious 9, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kelly Reichardt, Paul Verhoeven, Cannes 2021 …

TrailerAnnette :

More info in our special Cannes festival file

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