STARS ALIGN

MAR­ION COTIL­LARD ON PLAY­ING DRESS-UPS AND STEAMY SCENES WITH BRAD PITT

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY COATES

Screen­writer Steven Knight loosely based Al­lied on a tale he heard in Texas, more than three decades ago. The tale of war be­hind en­emy lines, un­re­quited love and be­trayal, stayed with Knight, hav­ing such an im­pact he turned one con­ver­sa­tion into his orig­i­nal screen­play, Al­lied. His treat­ment of that tale was so cap­ti­vat­ing, Os­car, Ce­sar, BAFTA and Golden Globe win­ner Mar­ion Cotil­lard waited four years for it to be adapted to film.

“My agent gave it to me, and I thought it was such a beau­ti­ful story, very en­ter­tain­ing and, at the same time, su­per deep and su­per pow­er­ful,” she says.

“At that time, when I read the script the first time, I didn’t hear of Bob (Ze­meckis) or Brad (Pitt), and I was so happy a few years later when they con­tacted me, ask­ing me to be part of the project. I like the fact that it’s a very strong and deep story and at the same time it’s su­per en­ter­tain­ing.”

She plays the al­ways con­cern­ing, some­time sus­pi­cious but con­stantly charm­ing Mar­i­anne Beause­jour, a French re­sis­tance fighter sus­pected by her hus­band (Brad Pitt) and his su­pe­ri­ors of be­ing a Ger­man spy. Gen­tle by na­ture, Cotil­lard had an aver­sion to the vi­o­lence of gun­fire. But to play the star­ring fe­male role in a World War II as­sas­si­na­tion film, she was forced to learn to love lead.

“He (Ze­meckis) asked me to love the guns, be­cause, he knew I hate the guns ... and he could see it,” Cotil­lard says.

“I trained – be­fore we started shoot­ing – I trained with the guns and by the end of this one day, I was very com­fort­able – but I still didn’t like the guns. And then, on the day I freaked out, hon­estly – I knew I would be dis­cov­ered as a very non-lover of guns and not very good with them.

“He (Ze­meckis) came to me and he was like, ‘OK, let’s take a break. The most im­por­tant thing is that I need to not see that you don’t like guns, so pre­tend you like them,’.”

While the film is set in the midst of war, it’s classified, by ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Gra­ham King as an “epic ro­mance”.

In­ti­mate, pas­sion­ate scenes be­tween Cotil­lard and Pitt are lit­tered through­out Al­lied – in re­al­ity, they’re care­fully chore­ographed.

“That’s the kind of scene that is not very easy, but we re­hearsed and we had like a very de­ter­mined chore­og­ra­phy,” Cotil­lard says.

“And then, it al­lows you free­dom. When you know ex­actly what your body will do, then you can act and you be free to give the emo­tion, give the feel­ings, be­cause you won’t think, ‘Oh, what am I go­ing to do next? Am I go­ing to go on top of him, or...”

Be­cause it’s un­likely any­body reading this will ever find them­selves in a car sex scene with Brad Pitt, Cotil­lard paints a pic­ture.

“It’s an awk­ward sit­u­a­tion. The three of us, with Bob (Ze­meckis), we just like sat in this car when we re­hearsed,” she ex­plains.

“It was like just two seats, and we laughed, be­cause you need to get it out be­cause this is so weird. And, so you get this time of look­ing at each other say­ing, ‘OK, this is so weird. And then, we’re go­ing to do this, and I’m go­ing to go on top of you, and we’re go­ing to kiss.’ Then, on the day you are in your char­ac­ter, and ev­ery­thing hap­pens be­cause it’s the au­then­tic­ity of the char­ac­ter and it be­comes easy.”

One el­e­ment of pro­duc­tion Cotil­lard em­braced en­thu­si­as­ti­cally was the cos­tum­ing by renowned cos­tume de­signer Jo­hanna John­son, an ex­pert in pe­riod fash­ion. The char­ac­ter Mar­i­anne Beause­jour has en­vi­able style, sport­ing so­phis­ti­cated mid-calf frocks and clas­sic, tai­lored en­sem­bles made from lux­u­ri­ous fab­ric.

Cotil­lard says watch­ing her char­ac­ter’s wardrobe progress helped her per­sonal char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment.

“Most of the films I do I wear ter­ri­ble clothes, but it’s good,” she says. “I mean, it’s great clothes for the roles, but I never had to be a princess like in this movie. I was a big fan of Greta Garbo and all this era of movies, so I dreamt watch­ing th­ese movies. That’s what is amaz­ing in that job of de­sign­ing clothes for a movie, be­cause you can re­ally put lit­tle touches of emo­tion, of feel­ings, of strength, of depth in the clothes you make.

“We had sev­eral fit­tings, and each time I would go there I was so happy to see the process of more than just clothes, but emo­tion and strength and power com­ing to­gether in (the) amaz­ing and beau­ti­ful out­fits she cre­ated.”

Its De­cem­ber 26 re­lease puts Al­lied in line for Oscars con­sid­er­a­tion, po­ten­tially mak­ing it Cotil­lard and Ze­meckis’ third nom­i­na­tion and Pitt’s sev­enth.

Al­lied is in cin­e­mas Box­ing Day

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