Souheila Yacoub: “My career fills me beyond my expectations”

Meeting with the heroine of Low Floor who, for 3 years and her revelation in Climax by Gaspar Noé, continues with happiness on the big and small screen

How did you find yourself on the bill? From low floor, in the role of the ex-companion of the little thug in his thirties whose world is collapsing – (camped by Soufiane Guerrab) but who will try to win her back?

Souheila Yacoub: Yassine contacted me through my agent who encouraged me to meet him. And from the first phone call, something happened. Its softness marks you immediately. We met over a coffee. He started to tell me about his journey. Very humbly. Then he told me about From low floor. He explains to me that he has never toured with professional actors and that it scares him. I found it very honest and touching.

And what does he tell you about his screenplay?

Absolutely nothing ! He hands it to me, I start to leaf through it but he stops me and tells me to do it quietly at home. Except that even before reading it, I wanted to work with him. His humility, the fact that you immediately feel that he has a lot to say… I had complete confidence in him. And the script only confirmed this first impression

What exactly appealed to you?

How true it all sounded and how believable the slow downfall of the character Sofiane plays. The quality of the dialogues too. Especially in the exchanges between our two characters who sometimes say their four truths violently to each other but with an incredible naturalness. We believe in everything. There is almost a documentary side to this fiction. No effect, not even music

How did you create your role?

Yassine began by explaining to me who this young mother was. Because he knows her well: she was inspired by the companion of one of his friends. He described her to me as a young woman who is just trying to get out of the mess but very tired. Now I was turning No man’s land when the shooting of From low floor started. So I arrived slammed, washed out. In short, in ideal condition! (laughs) But I admit I was a little stressed. Because of course the story that tells From low floor is universal and speaks to me completely even though I come from another type of suburb, the Swiss suburb. But my partners all knew each other because they all come from Aubervilliers. I was a bit of a patch (laughs). My goal was to appear immediately believable in their midst and for my character to be a gateway to the story. And obviously that put a little pressure on me.


What gave the gymnast of the Swiss national team that you wanted to become an actress?

Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to work in an artistic environment. But when I quit the gym in 2012, everything was a bit hazy for me. I knew I needed to get out of Switzerland and externalize something. But I didn’t know if it had to go through dancing, through the body or through speaking, when I was extremely shy at the time. And then one day I read Alexandrines. I understood absolutely nothing but their musicality and their breath gave me chills and incredible emotions. It was the trigger to try to go to Paris. I typed “theater lessons” on Google and found myself at Cours Florent and then to take the Conservatory competition which I was able to get. To be on stage was a revelation. Defend texts. To be raised by texts. Convey emotions to people. Then have the chance to work with Wajdi Mouawad for All birds at the Théâtre de la Colline… Everything happened incredibly for me. Even if everything is not always rosy or easy in this job

However, since your film debut in 2018 with Climax by Gaspar Noé, we get the impression that you haven’t stopped …

That is true. I worked a lot. This is the first time in three years that I have found myself there with a two month break. And immediately, the doubt comes. It’s crazy ! But I had the chance to work with great filmmakers, in a wide variety of projects, universes at odds with each other, in cinema or in series: Gaspar Noé, Philippe Garrel, Rebecca Zlotowski… For now, my path fills me beyond my expectations. Between a Gaspar Noé where there was no script and the work with a Philippe Garrel who is the king of the first take, the trip is crazy. It’s a holy grail at the start of your career! But what I dream of now is to be able to make people laugh. I am a huge fan of Cameron Diaz. Those who know how to make people laugh impress me so much: humor is the least shared thing in the world!

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