“She did. Stéphanie. My character. I totally fell in love with her. It is always like that for me. I read. I get obsessed. If I have not been offered the part, I will do everything to get it. She moved me. A lot. Sometimes, even on set, I was moved by what happened to her. And sometimes I was very happy because of things that happened to her. It’s hard to explain. It’s weird.”
Rust and Bone, to an even greater challenge than Piaf, claims Cotilliard. The work, however, had to remain just that. “Now that I’m a mum I have to do things differently,” says the 37-year-old. “On Jacques’s movie at the end of the day I would run home to my family. Hearing ‘cut’ was my cue to get back to being a mother. Without a kid I would have worked differently. With a kid you can’t bring someone else home.”
She laughs: “Especially when she’s a totally fucked-up amputee girl.”
Did an inverted phantom-limb syndrome ever set in?
“Yes! I almost forgot I had legs. They were there all the time but I wouldn’t see them. The special-effects people were really brilliant and they were so discreet and fast that they never got in our way.”
She speaks in perfect English that can sound vaguely Los Angeles and vaguely London in the same sentence. Cotillard has been doing this for a long time. Born into an artistic Parisian household, she first entered into the family business as a child. “It was organic, natural,” she says.
It sure was. Her father is Jean-Claude Cotillard, a one-time mime and a Molière Award-winning director. Her mother, Niseema Theillaud, is an actor and drama teacher. Guillaume, one of Marion’s younger twin brothers, is a screenwriter and director.
“We were totally free to do whatever we wanted to do,” recalls Cotillard. “My parents just wanted us to be happy. What was important for my parents was for us to be free to be creative and to be respectful. Respect yourself and others and the place you live in. I