In the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning actress talks about her angry youth (she's just a girl from France's version of the Bronx), her next movies (she plays a paraplegic whale trainer in Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone," and eco-minded businesswoman Miranda Tate in Christopher Nolan's new Batman film) and her most exciting role to date (as mom to French hunk Guillaume Canet's baby son).
When Marion Cotillard learned in late 2010 that director Christopher Nolan wanted her for a role in his next movie, the French actress, of course, was ecstatic. "I'm like, 'Wait a minute, his next movie is supposed to be Batman!' And I've always been obsessed with Batman." Her heart sank, however, when she learned The Dark Knight Rises -- the final part of Nolan's Batman trilogy -- would likely start shooting in May 2011, precisely when her first child, Marcel, with actor-director Guillaume Canet, was due. "I called Chris and said, 'My God, I can't do that!' " Luckily, Nolan -- who already had worked with the star on Inception -- was prepared to wait.
The fact that one of Hollywood's top directors was prepared to change his shooting schedule and maybe even his script for the most anticipated movie of 2012 -- all based on Cotillard's availability -- was indicative of how big a superstar the 36-year-old has become in the four years since she won an Oscar for playing the tiny, gut-wrenching singer Edith Piaf (known in France as "the little sparrow") in La Vie en Rose. One of the few international actresses to have found lasting success in Hollywood, Cotillard’s gentle, almost ethereal presence has endeared her to major directors ranging from Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) to Steven Soderbergh (Contagion) to Rob Marshall (Nine) to Michael Mann (Public Enemies).
Now, as Cotillard prepares to make her Cannes Film Festival competition debut with Rust and Bone -- the new film from A Prophet director Jacques Audiard about a young whale trainer (Cotillard) who gets into a terrible accident that leaves her paraplegic then becomes involved with a homeless fighter (Matthias Schoenaerts) -- The Hollywood Reporter executive editor, features, Stephen Galloway gains extraordinary access to “the Angelina Jolie of France.”
Some of the other details from THR’s Cotillard cover story:
THE FRENCH EQUIVALENT OF A ‘GIRL FROM THE BRONX’
Born in Paris in 1975, Cotillard was brought up in the suburb of Alfortville, Paris' equivalent of an inner city in the U.S. "I was living in an HLM," the projects, she says. "I come from 'la cite.' That's who I am. As they'd say here, 'I'm still this girl from the Bronx.' " Growing up, Cotillard was full of self-loathing: "I really didn't know how I would spend my life. I didn't like anything about myself -- my looks, my personality. I was very, very angry."
COTILLARD CONFIRMS SHE PLAYS GOOD GUY MIRANDA TATE IN DARK KNIGHT RISES
Cotillard confirms that, contrary to some fans' belief, she does not play Talia, the vengeful daughter of Liam Neeson's character, Ra's Al Ghul (who also appeared in Batman Begins), and that she takes the role of Miranda Tate, an ecologically minded businesswoman who "is fascinated by Wayne Enterprises. They go through difficulties, and she wants to help provide the world clean energies. She's a good guy." But does she stay that way? "Yes," she insists.
SCRUTINY OVER WHETHER SHE BROKE HER DARK KNIGHT CONTRACT FOR RUST AND BONE
Just two weeks before Cannes, the French blogosphere lit up after Cotillard told a French magazine, Obsession (a spinoff of the highly respected Le Nouvel Observateur), that she had shot the movie when she was still meant to be exclusively available for Knight. Blog headlines such as "Marion Cotillard: Secrets and Lies in the Last Audiard" indicate how scrutinized the actress is. Cotillard's commitment to Nolan left her unable to rehearse with Audiard, and she admits he was "sometimes not very happy" about that. "It was frustrating."
SHE REGRETS HAVING VOICED DOUBTS ABOUT 9/11
"It's kind of easy to say, 'It was taken out of context,' because people now think that's a way to hide something," she says. “It was totally stupid to talk about this on TV. It was not serious, and I really regret that I talked about such a painful subject for so many people in this very light way. I know people who lost family members or friends in this tragedy."
STALKED BY PAPARAZZI
"I was 4-1/2 months pregnant and I went to this store in Paris. I was in the dressing room and looked at my belly, and they took a picture!" she recalls. "It was horrible. It really made me sick physically."
ON LOVE, AND PARENTHOOD, WITH FRENCH STAR GUILLAUME CANET
Cotillard has begun shooting her next film, Blood Ties, a crime drama set in 1970s New York, directed by Canet, whom she met in 2003 when they worked on Love Me If You Dare. Initially friends, they have been together for the past five years, since his divorce from actress Diane Kruger; he directed Cotillard in the upcoming Aug. 24 release Little White Lies.
7 FAVORITE FILMS
- The Great Dictator (1940)
- It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
- I Am Cuba (1964)
- The Party (1968)
- The Elephant Man (1980)
- The King and the Mockingbird (1980)
- Tandem (1987)
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