Posted on Jul 2, 2021 9:18 AMUpdated on Jul 2, 2021, 10:39 AM
Unwound cables. Projectors erected. On the set, young people are busy in faded jeans, rolls of chatterton on their wrists. We unpack a lounge chair, a canary cage, a marine painting… In French, in English, the photographer distributes his instructions. That morning, in a studio in Ménilmontant, a small world was built, a setting intended for Marion Cotillard.
The actress receives on the mezzanine, posed as on a cloud above the hubbub. So are the stars, lapped in this vibration, this beehive which, without really knowing you, constantly calls you by your first name. In less than a month, she will find the « Marion ! » launched along the Cannes red carpet. Annette, from Leos Carax, opens the competition. Since 2012, she has not missed an edition.
In more than twenty-five years, Marion Cotillard has built the most solid career in French cinema. A journey through Tim Burton, Jacques Audiard, Michael Mann, the Dardenne brothers, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, James Gray, Nicole Garcia, Woody Allen… Without having left France, she is the only one of our actresses to have permanently established in Hollywood. In its wake, it has sown a series of films that talk about artists and, in particular, musicians. She was a pop star in Pretty Things by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, cellist in You and me by Julie Lopes-Curval, Edith Piaf in The kid by Olivier Dahan, here she is the lyric singer in Annette. ” That is true, she smiles surprised … I had never thought about it ! “
This taste for music and the spectacle takes her back to childhood. “I remember long journeys in the car or in a mini-van when we went on vacation. I had my walkman, my cassettes, and in music I dreamed of dance, love, cinema… ” In her bedroom, Marion pinned a poster of Madonna. At the time of Material Girl, the star pays tribute to Marilyn Monroe in Men prefer blondes. Meanwhile, the little girl marvels at Let’s sing in the rain by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, portrait of Hollywood at the crossroads of silent and talkative.
“These dance scenes in the studios fascinated me. I knew each plan by heart. Debbie Reynolds was one of the first women to make me dream of a show. I admired the music, but also the mastery of the body. My dad is a mime, you know. At that time, my parents had set up a company that produced children’s shows that I must have seen dozens of times. Yes, she says with a touch of pride, I am a child of the ball. “
James Gray, who directed her in The Immigrant, compared her to a silent actress. It is to forget the voice of Marion Cotillard, this timbre which carries around a mixture of chic and mischief, of amused elegance and assumed banter, a glamor so French drawn from the cafs ‘concs’ of Paname. La Cotillard goes back a long way in our cinema, to Simone Simon, Paulette Dubost, Arletty… so many singing actresses. Twenty years ago, in Lisa by Pierre Grimblat, Marion Cotillard played the role of young Jeanne Moreau. The two actresses only shared one scene, a sung scene of course, which leaves Marion with memories. ” very soft “, like a handover in the whirlwind of cinema.
“I am sensitive to the voice, she continues. Powerful, soft, high perched… the voices tell what we are. Faced with a very strong emotion, you can control your body, refrain from collapsing, from crying. But if we have to talk, then we can no longer hide. The voice expresses our fears and reflects our place in front of life, quite simply because it indicates the way we breathe. Besides, when I prepare for a role, I start by looking for a way to breathe. “
The actress would have turned her breath into a musical instrument. She played Italians, Poles, Americans, Belgians … or Lady Macbeth and earned the reputation of being one of the best to take accents. ” It’s wrong ! she laughs On the contrary, it takes a lot of work from me! On ‘Public Enemies’, I had to marry this Midwestern accent, erase all traces of French. I wanted it to be perfect and I couldn’t, the sounds weren’t coming out correctly. I once cried with rage on set. “
Everything seems simpler in the cinema. Annette opens with this magical moment when the actors put on their costumes and, before our eyes, transform into fictional bodies. “Another phenomenon that affects the voice, raises the actress. I remember the Dardenne brothers’ film, ‘Deux jours, une nuit’, I was looking for that Belgian accent. However, each time I see a well-identified actor taking an accent that is too pronounced, it takes me out of the film. Finally, I found something light. And suddenly, you reach this authenticity, this enjoyable feeling that a character is installed in you. “
Annette tells the love story of singer Ann and comedian Henry. One says she ” Safe “ its spectators. The other he them « tue ». One cradles them, the other boxes them. Behind them, in a Dantesque Los Angeles, Carax painted the charcoal portrait of a showbiz haunted by fear and chaos.
Already in The kid, Marion Cotillard had played the blue funk that sometimes seizes artists. Dahan was filming her, curled up in the toilets of a theater. The officer bangs on the door. The rumor of the public is more and more insistent. The great Piaf howls like a child that she is not going, that she does not want to go.
“Fear is a reality of this profession. I too have been through moments of terror. Before each film, I was sick. We want so much to live up to a love story with a character, a director, a director. We want to give everything the story deserves, everything the creator deserves. And we advance on this thread stretched above the void. Aware that at any time we can fall, make a wrong note, be ridiculous, be judged. Disappoint… It is so painful to disappoint. “
Among multiple nominations and awards, Marion Cotillard received a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two César… trophies that do not erase fear. “Sometimes when it doesn’t go away, I have to accept it. But if one manages to overcome the fear, then something immense opens up. We reach this place where we can finally look at ourselves with a loving gaze. It’s nice. Especially when you have your gray areas, a disenchantment with yourself that many of us share. “ In twenty-five years, Marion Cotillard has met Gérard Depardieu, Albert Finney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Leonardo DiCaprio… Is there a single one who does not know fear? She has this pretty, slightly melancholy smile: ” No. “
Sometimes Marion Cotillard nervously pinches her arm with her black painted fingernails. A film actress, she will not have stepped on the stage which fascinated her as a child. In the early 2010s, she discreetly accompanies the tours of singer Yodelice. We present her under the name of Simone and she appears on stage, her face crossed out by a hat. “I didn’t know if I was recognized. I even signed Simone autographs. One day, I signed Marion… and I was told: ‘No, no, we want Simone! ‘Simone was a cover, but on stage I was me. “
Cotillard on the Croisette
Since 2012, and Rust and bone Jacques Audiard, Marion Cotillard did not miss any appointment in Cannes. In 2013, she climbed the stairs twice, for The Immigrant by James Gray and Blood Ties by Guillaume Canet. The following year she is in the arms of the Dardenne for Two days, one night In 2015, she was photographed alongside Michael Fassbender, her partner in Macbeth by Justin Kurzel. A year later she stars in Stone sickness by Nicole Garcia and is part of the troupe of Just the end of the world by Xavier Dolan. In 2017, out of competition, she presented The Ghosts of Ishmael by Arnaud Desplechin. A year later, she accompanies Angel Face by Vanessa Filho in the Un Certain Regard section. In 2019, out of competition, she returned to the steps to support the team of The good times by Nicolas Bedos (film in which she does not play). This year marks his return to competition with Annette of Leos Carax.
Also remains the best sequence of Pretty things, cruel adaptation of Virginie Despentes. The moment is shot at the Zénith during a sold-out concert by Patrick Bruel. “He had lent us his hall and his audience for five minutes. I remember a huge jitters then a surge of adrenaline. I was on this stage, in front of this audience… but it wasn’t really me. Not my body, not my dance… it was a role. “ On the screen, in the midnight blue light, Marion swings her hair on the furious electric waves. She shouts with a soft voice a terrible song in which her character spits out all the hatred she feels for her sister: “I throw you up and I’m proud of it / You the bitch six feet underground / You may well moan, I don’t love you. “
Axelle Renoir’s chorus takes us to the darkest corners of the entertainment world. To this place that will explore Annette. Devoured by their ego, the diva and the stand-up star give birth to a little girl transformed into a phenomenon of planetary fair, exhibited by her father under the spotlights of the whole world. Become mad, the comic will blow this epilogue: “Stop looking at me. ““You can want the light, then find yourself at odds with an audience that adores you, while you don’t love yourself. When there is a lack of this love inside of you, the love you receive from the outside just flows through you. At the time, it makes you feel good. Then it evaporates, leaving a vacuum. This love is not lasting and can hurt a lot. There are so many examples of artists who, lost in these paradoxes, drift towards self-destruction. For my part, I know today that recognition will never come from outside. “
Many have chosen to quit. Thus, the other French star of her generation, Audrey Tautou, preferred to slip away, struck by Garbo syndrome, the desire to fade away. Tireless, indestructible, Marion Cotillard connects the roles: “Greta Garbo lived at a time when actors, especially actresses, were doomed body and soul to the studios. The places where I have no freedom, I created them. I am building my own prison in which I am the only mistress. And, little by little, I free myself from the padlocks that come to me from childhood, from what I experienced, from what my parents and my grandparents bequeathed to me… I free myself from all that. “ Below, on earth, the stage is set. We call Marion. The actress gets up. She’s tall, much taller than the camera has led you to believe. She drinks a little water, breathes and, with a calm step, descends towards the light.