The French star tells Pierre de Vil­liers about en­ter­ing the world of the Hol­ly­wood block­buster

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The French film star talks about en­ter­ing the world of the Hol­ly­wood block­buster.

Mar­ion Cotillard has re­ally felt the glare of the me­dia spot­light over the past few months. Tabloid news­pa­pers have been clam­our­ing for im­ages of her baby bump (the French star and her hus­band, the ac­tor-di­rec­tor Guil­laume Canet, are ex­pect­ing their sec­ond child), but they have also sug­gested the Os­car-win­ner played a role in the break-up of Al­lied co-star Brad Pitt and An­gelina Jolie’s mar­riage, some­thing she ve­he­mently de­nies. For an ac­tress who de­scribes her­self as “shy and vul­ner­a­ble”, be­ing in the pub­lic eye takes some get­ting used to.

“I still have a hard time see­ing my­self on mag­a­zine cov­ers,” Cotillard ad­mits. “I’m not some­one who en­joys the red car­pets and all of that. The only thing I ever wanted from this pro­fes­sion was to have the recog­ni­tion for my work.”

Pre­tend­ing to be some­one else has been an es­cape for the star since her child­hood days, first in Paris and then Or­léans. “It was hard for me to make friends and be so­cia­ble, be­cause I was al­ways afraid of say­ing the wrong thing in a way that would make peo­ple an­gry with me or cre­ate a bad im­pres­sion,” she says. “I was rest­less and I couldn’t find the right way to ex­press my­self. Act­ing was the only thing that helped me to re­lease the anx­i­ety and ten­sion that had built up in­side me. It also helped me un­der­stand what makes peo­ple tick.”

Given her pas­sion for act­ing, it is lit­tle won­der Cotillard is one of the busiest stars around. The lat­est in a long line of films that she has been work­ing on is As­sas­sin’s Creed, an ac­tion-packed block­buster based on the epony­mous video game. Cotillard plays Sofia, a scientist in a mys­te­ri­ous or­gan­i­sa­tion that re­cruits a ca­reer crim­i­nal (played by Michael Fass­ben­der) to act as a hit-man dur­ing the Span­ish In­qui­si­tion.

Hu­man emo­tions

While the ac­tress has of­ten turned down huge Hol­ly­wood movies, she made an ex­cep­tion with As­sas­sin’s Creed to work again with di­rec­tor Justin Kurzel and co-star Fass­ben­der, af­ter the trio worked on 2015’s Mac­beth.

“In the case of some big films I was of­fered (in the past), I didn’t feel that the di­rec­tor was in­ter­ested in the char­ac­ters and that it was more a tech­ni­cal process,” Cotillard ex­plains. “I need a di­rec­tor to in­spire me. I know I won’t be com­fort­able work­ing with a di­rec­tor who is more in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing a spec­tac­u­lar vis­ual land­scape but doesn’t care about work­ing with the ac­tors who in­habit that land­scape. Justin is very deeply in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing hu­man emo­tions and ev­ery­thing about our heart and soul.”

Af­ter dip­ping her toe in the Hol­ly­wood pool, Cotillard is back on more fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory for It’s Only the End of the World, an in­de­pen­dent film by FrenchCana­dian di­rec­tor Xavier Dolan.

“It’s an in­tense fam­ily drama and there’s a lot of ar­gu­ing and dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions,” she ex­plains. “It was the kind of ex­pe­ri­ence I thrive on, be­cause I like push­ing my­self be­yond what I think are my lim­its. It’s a way of fac­ing up to your fears and then hav­ing the sat­is­fac­tion of hav­ing con­quered them.” As­sas­sin’s Creed is in cin­e­mas from 1 Jan­uary.

TOP: Mar­ion Cotillard pub­li­cis­ing As­sas­sin’s Creed and (INSET) with Michael Fass­ben­der in a scene from the film

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