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