Check out THR’s report on Marion at Telluride Film Festival:
Jacques Audiard’s French-language drama Rust and Bone, which stars French Oscar winner Marion Cotillard and Belgian up-and-comer Matthias Schoenaerts, had its North American premiere Saturday night. Cotillard was in town — after taking four flights to get from Paris to Telluride — to attend not only the screening but also an intimate dinner hosted by Sony Pictures Classics (which acquired the film’s North American distribution rights months before its world premiere in Cannes back in May) as well as a career tribute given to her by the festival and moderated by THR’s film critic Todd McCarthy.
The film itself was very well received here, as it has been overseas, and I think it has a very strong shot at scoring Oscar nominations for both best foreign language film (unless France instead submits the more widely-accessible but less artistically-ambitious The Intouchables) and best actress. If it does secure a best actress slot, Cotillard, a best actress winner for 2007’s La vie en rose, would become only the fifth woman — after Isabelle Adjani, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren and Liv Ullmann — to earn multiple acting noms for performances given in a foreign language. Schoenaerts, meanwhile, deserves every bit as much attention for his brooding and brutish performance, which — like his work in last year’s Bullhead, a best foreign language Oscar nominee from Belgium — has earned him many comparisons to a young Marlon Brando. But the best actor category is jam-packed with big names this year, so he’s a long shot.
Audiard, who is best known for directing the widely-acclaimed French best foreign language Oscar nominee Un Prophet (2009), also co-wrote this film with Thomas Bidegain. It tells the story of two people, a whale trainer (Cotillard) and a frequently-unemployed single father who is staying with his sister and trying to make something of himself (Schoenaerts). They are both broken in different ways — she physically (after experiencing a terrible accident at work) and he emotionally (he vents his internal rage and pays the bills by competing in illegal bare-knuckle streetfights). They first cross paths before her accident and his streetfights; then they reunite afterwards and find that they can make each other feel a little better.
Virtually every moment of the film is visually beautiful and poetic, but the two actors each have one scene that seems to me particularly worthy of highlighting. (Spoiler alert.) For Cotillard, the moment comes early in the film, when she awakens in an empty hospital room and discovers, to her horror, that her legs have been amputated and her life will never be the same. For Schoenaerts, the wait is a bit longer, but well worth it: near the end of the film, while Schoenaerts’ character is spending time with his son and trying to prove to his sister that he is capable of being a responsible father, his son literally falls into a potentially deadly situation that requires the father to apply his physical strength for a truly important reason for perhaps the first time.
I sat next to Cotillard — who, even on no sleep, is drop-dead-gorgeous — for a chunk of the Sony Classics dinner, and we got to discussing, of all things, Ronald Reagan. I told her that I’m a lover of old movies — she said that she is, as well — and that while watching her hospital scene in Rust and Bone, I couldn’t help but think of the moment in the 1942 film King’s Row when Reagan awakens to discover that his legs have been amputated and shrieks, “Where’s the rest of me?!” Everything about that initial moment of horror — the initial look of confusion, the panicked realization, and the hysterical reaction — reminded me a lot of her scene, so I had to know if she was familiar with it and/or regarded it as an inspiration. She told that she had never heard of it before — SPC co-chief Michael Barker felt confident that Audiard had, though — and was now fascinated to check it out, so I emailed her — and am now sharing with you — a YouTube clip that includes that scene, starting at the 1:04 mark.
For my money, Cotillard’s scene — and those that follow it and show her without her legs, which were achieved using CGI techniques that required her to wear a grey sock — is every bit as good, and probably better.
Check out Marion’s recent interview for Rust and Bone with Vulture:
You saw her in this summer’s very American blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises. But come fall, Marion Cotillard will be getting buzz for playing a double-amputee killer-whale trainer (yes, a double-amputee killer-whale trainer) in Jacques Audiard’s très français drama Rust and Bone. Jada Yuan spoke to the actress for New York magazine’s “Fall Preview” issue. Vulture got its hands on the complete transcript; highlights, below.
I read that you do a lot of research for your movies. What did you do to get ready for your role in Rust and Bone?
Well, I did kind of technical research, because I just had to find the physicality of the body language of someone who’s lost her legs. I wanted to find the authenticity of what it feels like, even though I will never, never know how it feels. But then about this character … most of the time, I read a script and then I understand the character right away — not everything about the character, otherwise it would be boring, maybe. But sometimes you have right away kind of a … you understand a lot about a person, and you understand the soul of this person, and then you will have to meet this person to learn more. With the character I have in Rust and Bone, I read the script and then I thought, My God, I don’t really understand her. And so that’s what I told Jacques Audiard, and I was kind of scared he would freak out. But that was what I felt, so that was what I had to share with him after I read the script. I was anxious about his reaction, and he told me, “Well, you know, I don’t understand her either. But that’s a good thing. We will have to take the road together, you and me, and find her, find who she is.” So that was kind of an amazing experience I was really looking forward to.
Let’s talk about the physicality of it, because I think that’s really interesting. When you say you did technical research to sort of know how it would feel to be without legs, what did you do?
Well, I don’t know if it’s very interesting, but I watched videos of people with no legs. I mean, each time I have to enter into a character and give life to a character, I do my best to believe that I’m old, or that I’m, I don’t know, desperate.
Your character has an affair in the movie. How did you do the sex scenes?
Well, with my legs, obviously [laughs].
Do they wrap them in tape and then green screen them out? I loved the sex scenes. It’s something you don’t see with disabled people in movies very much.
Well, we didn’t really think about the technique, because Jacques Audiard is … I remember when he was preparing the movie, he was writing e-mails to me, and he was [saying], “I spent an hour with the special effects, and I don’t want to spend anything. I just want you guys to be there with me, and we’re going to just give life to those characters.” So the technical part — we were lucky to work with amazing, amazing technicians. But then it felt like something real. You have to have a certain position with your legs not to make shadows and everything, but it’s not what is very important about the work we did. The most important was the director’s poetry, the way he filled this in with poetry and his vision of those people.
You rarely see a double amputee played in such a sexy way. Do you know what I mean? She has this thriving sex life, and a man who falls in love with her. Was that important to you? Did you respond to that?
Yeah, well, because this is a movie about rust, bone, flesh, blood, and love. And they’re young, they’re lost, but they’re beautiful, and they’re coming back to life, and in a big way they’re really coming back to life. And life with surrender is beautiful.
The Marine World part was very interesting to me, because when you describe the movie to people and you talk about killer whales, immediately they start to have an idea of a different kind of movie than it might be. Why do you think the whales are so important to the story?
Well, it’s an element of life, and it’s her violent wake-up. I won’t say that whales are violent, because I don’t think they are, but how we treat them is more violent than the animal itself. I think it must be the strength.
So you actually were directing these whales, is that correct? You were making them do those movements?
How long did it take you to learn how to do that? Were you scared?
No, I was not scared. I mean, I’m very uncomfortable in a captivity area. I remember when I heard about Jacques’s movie very early on I thought, Oh, my God, I could never do such a movie. Because I would have to work with whales, and in a Sea Land, and it’s like the zoo. I never visit the zoo. I never go to the Sea Land, because to me it’s like a human being turning animals into monsters. Then I was there, and I had to work with them. Right away, the trainer was amazing. I had all those thoughts about who those people are, and then suddenly I just saw people who loved those animals — even though I will never go back again [laughs], and I really don’t like it. I have a very easy contact with animals, and the relationship with the whales was there right away. So I was not scared, and it was not very hard.
You’re basically the one French actress who’s managed to have a really blossoming Hollywood career, not just in independent movies but — you’re in Batman. I believe when Rust and Bone came out in Cannes, I thought there was a bit of an outcry among the French that it maybe didn’t seem French enough, or it was too commercial? Am I wrong?
I don’t know. Cannes is the taste of people … we were very happy that the movie did very well at the box office in France. That’s what is important. I don’t know if it’s too commercial. I don’t know. I never see the movies like that. My opinion on the movie I do is: Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don’t. That happens sometimes. But I love the movie, and I’m very proud to be in it, and I’m so happy that people want to see the movie. That’s it.
Festival - Special Presentation
Marion Cotillard (La Vie en rose) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) star in this gritty, moving and emotionally raw love story from Cannes Grand Prix winner Jacques Audiard (Un prophète).
The schedule will be announced in August.
I have added more HQ pics of Marion for Rust and Bone After Party at 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Jacques Audiard is on a quest to revive the B movie.
The French director has won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival and been nominated for an Academy Award, but he has a passion for the colorful cut-price end of the cinema market: horror films and thrillers, melodramas and westerns.
Audiard said the original notion for his new feature “Rust and Bone” was to make “a B movie with a star” — the star being France’s Marion Cotillard, whose best-actress Oscar for Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie En Rose” has spawned a Hollywood career.
It’s not a bad description. On one level, the film is an opposites-attract love story, set on the grittier side of the French Riviera, involving Cotillard’s haughty animal trainer and Matthias Schoenaerts’ down-and-out boxer. But the plot twists verge on melodrama. Early in the film Cotillard’s character has her legs bitten off by a killer whale, and Audiard also throws in brutal bare-knuckle fights, a child in peril and scenes scored to a pounding Katy Perry track.
“In the end it’s a very simple story — with some complex elements to it,” Audiard said in an interview at the Cannes Film Festival alongside his screenwriting collaborator Thomas Bidegain. “We take things from life and try to put cinema in them.”
It is, he admits, a risky approach.
“If you get too stylized then it becomes ridiculous, it becomes unbelievable,” said Audiard, as outside, thunder rumbled, unseasonable rain pounded the Croisette and a stiff wind whipped up a gray Mediterranean. “If you stick to reality you end up with a documentary approach and it can be boring.”
The balance of gritty subject matter and cinematic flourish gives Audiard’s films a flavor unlike those of any other filmmaker.
His 2005 film “The Beat That My Heart Skipped,” about a man torn between crime and music, was a deft French update of the 1978 Harvey Keitel vehicle film “Fingers.” ‘’A Prophet,” which won Cannes’ second-place Grand Prize in 2009, was a blend of tough prison drama and little-guy-makes-good story that was nominated for the foreign language Oscar.
Looking like a dapper academic with his trademark trilby hat and pipe, Audiard cited film fanatic’s range of influences — from 1960s Brazilian director Glauber Rocha to 1950s thriller “The Night of the Hunter” and Tod Browning’s 1930s sideshow shocker “Freaks.”
Bidegain, who also worked on “A Prophet,” chimed in to call “Rust and Bone” “’Terms of Endearment’ meets ‘Freaks.’”
“Rust and Bone” grew from a desire to make a movie about the economic crisis, and was loosely adapted from a book of short stories by Canadian writer Craig Davidson — with their California setting replaced by the Cote d’Azur.
Audiard said the power of B movies — from 1930s horror films to 1940s film noir thrillers — is that they said something about the crisis-ridden world around them.
It’s an element he finds lacking in a lot of films now that the world is in crisis again.
“If you look at American studios, the big productions have nothing to do with reality,” he said.
“We are just French filmmakers, but seen from here, things need to move. You have to find niches where you can put yourself, points of view from which you can see the world changing.”
“Rust and Bone” has been well received at Cannes, where it is one of 22 films competing for the top prize, the Palme d’Or. There has been near-universal praise for the performances of Schoenaerts — the beefy Belgian star of Oscar-nominated cattle drama “Bullhead” —and Cotillard.
Audiard said Cotillard was the obvious choice for the role.
“She’s an actress I’d seen in ‘La Vie En Rose,’ and I really liked her,” he said. “I was very impressed by her masculinity, somehow, her toughness.”
Her star quality also gave the film an edge.
“It’s an interesting thing to cut off the legs of a star,” the director said. “The higher they are, the better they fall.”
Audiard’s films can take years to go from conception to completion — “Rust and Bone” was in the works for three years and was completed just days before its Cannes premiere. He says it’s too soon to talk about his next project.
But he has an idea.
“I really would love to do a musical about drug and arms trafficking,” he said, a touch wistfully, turning to Bidegain. “We have to do it.”
Check out this french interview Marion did with Paris Match. The interview has been translated by Google translator:
Paris Match. In “Pretty Things”, the movie from the book of Despentes Virginia in 2001, you were a character steep, black, with morbid impulses. The new production of Jacques Audiard makes one think of this disturbing facet of your personality. It is in you?
Marion Cotillard. Not anymore. But at a time, yes, I was much darker than today. What has not changed is my side flayed alive.
Teenager, you were suffering?
Teenager and later I was tortured in a painful uneasiness … Like a lot of people in that period.
You take drugs?
No, my instinct of life was much stronger than self-destruction. Also, I saw around me examples of people who were lost in drugs. It kept me away from hazardous substances. I was in some excess, I smoked too much, sometimes I drank more than reason. But I was always afraid of losing total control.
This malaise long did it take to dissipate?
Yes, it was a long way. And I am fortunate to have always been surrounded by the love of my parents, benevolence to some friends or lovers. All this has protected me from self-destruction.
Well you play these characters there.
I do not know but what is certain is that I love them. Stephanie in “De Rust and Bone” is in denial about his unhappiness. It is enclosed in a shell to give the illusion that nothing can reach it. And, in fact, inside, it’s a disaster.
Unlike followers of the Actors Studio, you seem not to like get the emotions in your own personal memories.
No, never, I think it’s too dangerous. I am unable to go digging through painful personal memories. However, around me inspires me to play. Thus, to embody old Edith Piaf, I took the gesture of my great uncle who lived with us at a time. My brothers have recognized right away! This way his body moved, his hands … Or, when Piaf meets Marlene Dietrich, her idol, I took a look subdued little girl I was close then.
Have you been tempted by analytical work on yourself? To relieve some suffering as much as to know you better?
If, of course. And that’s exciting. The human soul, mine, I’m interested! Some therapists I met working on the body’s memory, the trauma as expressed in our physical behavior. I need me to work on the head and body.
You did it to be better with you or to refine your acting talent?
Work on humans would necessarily make the actor more just. What I discovered as a person necessarily reflects on my work as an actress.
Everyone notices your radiant vitality since you had a child.
I grow up. I am more clear.
You keep a journal?
I did when I was younger. I stopped. But I’m still in need to become aware of who I am, how I evolve. I do not know if I perceive all the steps precisely, but I know something ahead of me, I do not fall asleep. I pick up things, I get rid of others, I sill that prevents me from moving forward.
What prevented you from growing, which has parasitized this clarity in movement to which you aspire?
Well … [long hesitation.] Fear. Fear of not being up to par. Insecurity. It is difficult to analyze. It can disappear so quickly, that fear. At the same time, it remains so entrenched, if not derogated. I have old habits of fear so ingrained. When I realize, I see that these fears prevent me from moving forward.
But what are they? Sometimes you evacuate, this fear?
Sometimes I surpass! The nagging fear is caused by my need for recognition …
After your countless international awards?
Yes, it is a form of pathology, I think. I rid myself one day? Fear sometimes prevents me from being quiet …
I have added some pics of Marion attended the after party for Rust & Bone which was hosted by Dior and Elle Magazine at Cannes last week. Some lovely pics of Marion with Berenice Bejo and Matthias Schoenaerts:
Check out the press conference video for Rust and Bone at Cannes last week: