Marion Cotillard: ‘In France, they like underdogs; in America, they like success’

Marion Cotillard is promoting her much-hyped film Rust and Bone. I think the movie sounds kind of bizarre and sad, but it’s getting good reviews and people say Marion will get another Oscar nomination for it, so what do I know? To promote the film, Marion covers the new issue of W Magazine, and good God is this a weird photo shoot. The thing about Marion is that I feel like most people don’t have strong feelings about her either way. Yes, a lot of you like her, but I often wonder if there’s anyone who thinks “Marion is MY girl, my #1.” Nor is there anyone who is like “I hate her and everything she represents.” Because… she’s not controversial. Most of the time, she comes across like a ditzy hippie in interviews (no disrespect to ditzy hippies), and physically she’s beautiful. So… why this strong “look” for a photo shoot? Why a dominatrix/Nutcracker theme? Why make her waist look like that? Are they just trying to make it controversial and weird? Eh. Anyway, you can read the whole W Mag piece here, and here are some highlights (incidentally, this is one of the best Marion interviews I’ve ever read):

Marion on not winning Best Actress at Cannes this year: “I think I may have been on too many magazine covers. In France, they like the underdog. In America, they appreciate success.”

But she’s still so French: “It is much easier for me to understand something vast and complex than something light and uncomplicated. Perhaps that makes me very French.” She laughed. “Tragedy is almost always interesting to me.”

Getting respect in France and America: “I had costarred in three commercial hits in France,” Cotillard told me in 2007. “To have your place in French cinema, you have to prove that you are a serious actress in a noncommercial film. When Tim Burton picked me, French critics were impressed. In France, they see Tim Burton as a kind of film doctor, and the movie was not successful—so voilà!”

What were her first film-going experiences? “Fantasia. The dancing hippopotamus made an impression on me. And, of course, E.T. I went totally mad in the theater. I was almost pulling my hair out when they took E.T. away. That’s a deep memory of anger, despair, and pain. They had to get me out of the theater. I was screaming.”

Dreaming in French and English: “I recently spent six months filming in New York, and all my thoughts were in English. I played a Polish woman, and I would have loved to dream in Polish. Mostly, I am confused—some people talk to me in French, and I answer in English. And some people talk to me in English, and I answer in French. I think I’m too tired to dream in any language.”

What’s worse, a sex scene or a death scene? “Definitely a sex scene. I hate sex scenes. The body is so important in this movie, but I hate being naked onscreen. It’s very weird to imagine how a person would have sex. It cannot be your way. Otherwise, it would be super uncomfortable and overly intimate. Everyone has a way to have sex, so a character does too. I mean, kissing is very powerful. You feel something, you know? It’s really intense to kiss as another person.”

French people love Batman: “Oh, yeah, he’s very popular. Not all superheroes are, but Batman is. He is human, so you can relate to him. The French like that. I loved the TV series. I was totally crazy about Catwoman. She was so witty and fun.”

Her Oscar experience: “It was amazing. In France, we have a lot of actors, but you never get a chance to share your experiences. In America, you show the movie, and you talk about it with actors who know what it’s like to open your heart, soul, and mind to another person and let them in. I especially feel very close to other actresses.”

[From W Magazine]

W Magazine also tells the story of Marion learning English so she could promote La Vie En Rose in America, and how she picked it up very quickly by immersing herself into the language. I hadn’t heard that from her before, nor have I ever heard her talk so specifically about the differences between France and America as far what kinds of films are successful, etc. The Cannes quote is slightly out of context – Marion was set up with the premise that many, many people were surprised that she didn’t win Best Actress this year in Cannes, and her explanation was that she was simply too famous or “on too many magazine covers” to be considered a serious dramatic actress in France right now. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

Photos courtesy of W Magazine.

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50 Responses to “Marion Cotillard: ‘In France, they like underdogs; in America, they like success’”

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  1. marie says:

    she’s lovely but some of these photos are not but I do like the 2 “nutcracker” ones.

  2. Cleo says:

    I think her quote about Cannes is probably taken out of a context because it doesn’t really makes sense. Winning a prize in Cannes actually have nothing to do with France or press or reviews or anything like that. Prizes are basically given by 10 person (directors, actors, screenwriters…) from different countries. That’s the reason why the palmares is often controversial, it only reflects the opinion of a small group of people.

  3. carrie says:

    i’m french and “her trouble” in France(if there is a trouble) is that we saw her in her first french movies and she was a bad actress
    And she did too many covers with too many “she’s the best” stories or fakely candid intervews(if she works well in Hollywood ,it’s only because she’s a good actress but also she plays the Hollywood game )
    And how can you believe she’s credible as down-to-earth person or actress,when she’s crazy of fashion or she’s the face of Dior?

    For The Note,she’s really good in RUST&BONE but her male co-star Matthias is more interesting
    And she’s totally wrong on Cannes prizes:it’s a jury who gives the prizes(not the press)

    • Cleo says:

      I’m french too and I agree with everything you said.

    • flor says:

      Anyone can play goo in Hollywood if given the opportunity because mediocre is what acting has become. Excepting DDL, Joaquin and PSH that are the only three who ALWAYS give a good performance, there really isn’t good quality acting anymore.
      Look at the actors that are being thrown around as possible Oscar winners this year. Excepting the three I mentioned before, the rest are mediocre at best. I love DEnzel but he is not at the top of his game and hasn’t been in a long time.
      Then, you have the actresses. They say Jennifer Lawrecne is getting away with it. I don’t like her but I’ll try to put my personal dislike for her aside and give a thoughtful opinion; is Jennifer’s performance something that in 50 years actors are going to come back to and use as a matter of studying and improving their techniques?
      That is the question that, I believe, has to be asked when they choose a Oscar winning performance, which nobody does. Go back to the last decade and think about all the winners… Not even Meryl gave that kind of performance. You know what I mean? Hollywood has become a popularity contest and it’s pretty much an insult to Marlon Brando ‘s or Al Pacino’s performances or any other performance that truly lasts over time.

    • lafairy says:

      French too and totally agree with everything you said.

      She is mediocre at best, the difference between her and Audrey Tautou for example , tautou, or juliette binoche who are also well known internationally and who can both have the possibility of a tremendous international career. Audrey tautou likes acting, Marion likes fame.

      Marion Cotillard is doing everything to have just fame and money, so sure she is bothered that french people judge her as the really mediocre actress she is and not trough her hype. Audrey Tautou or Juliette Binoche are far from being “the underdog” and they are respected and adored

      PS: ofh and about cannes, it’s just that she wasn’t best that’s why she lost, saying it’s about magazines covers is quite disrespectful for the actual winner and just indicates how full of herself she has become

      • Eléonore says:

        I am French as well and completely agree with you. Marion is completely overrated and there are so many other actresses in France who are much more talented and beautiful than she is. Marion is so average, I never quite understood why she “made it”. When I listen to her French interviews she seems so uneducated and not very bright; her mind seems to work super slowly for some reason. In any case good for her that she is so famous, but she definitely does not deserve it and I hate to say it but she has zero charisma.

      • lrm says:

        I am American, and I agree with you. I do not dislike marion c.-actually, i have no idea what the heck she is saying in most of her interviews, written or not…lol. not b/c of her english, no, but b/c her thoughts are ‘like a ditzie hippy’ perfect description and i’m sort of a ditzy hippie myself!
        seriously, does she actually answer anything? or just muse and pontificate for a second and call it good?

        but anyway, w hile i find her beautiful and like her style, and she does seem down to earth, to me, so far, i find her acting awful!
        yes, ,there are worse out there who are as/more successful, to be sure, but i find her the weak link in anything i’ve seen her in….her acting bugs me so much. and i keep trying to like it, b/c as i said, i don’t dislike her. she does not seem pretentious or vacuous or other things which might annoy me in an actor.

        she’s like the french Scarjo though slightly more talented nad def. less trashy. She’s pretty elegant with a dash of iconic, to me.

      • andy says:

        I wish that Ludivine Sagnier would get more attention here in America. She is a fantastic actress.

    • ccp says:

      I’m French as well and I disagree. The French are huge success snobs, and Marion’s popularity has dwindled here ever since she’s made it in Hollywood. There’s that underlying contempt for mainstream stuff that people try to pass off as intellectualism, and I’m glad Marion pointed it out. It’s annoying, honestly. I know of a lot of people who liked The Artist when it first came out and then refused to acknowledge it when Americans started paying attention to it. Jean Dujardin will go through the same things if he tries to make it big in Hollywood, although I doubt he will.

      I also disagree with the fact she’s a bad actress; often overrated, sure, but far from a bad actress.

  4. J125 says:

    I think she’s made some fairly controversial statements. Her 911 conspiracy theory? A man on the moon? Ugh. This woman.

  5. J125 says:

    I think she’s made some fairly controversial statements. Her 911 conspiracy theory? A man on the moon? Ugh. This woman.

  6. Cam S says:

    Is she kidding? Americans always root for the underdog. THEN when they become successful, we love to tear them down. Is the American way, no?

    • Justyna says:

      I think it’s generally a human thing to do not like people who are more successful than we are, not French, not American, but I kind of understand her point (or I think I am). For example, when I look at the way American actors or musicians present themselves it’s always different than with Polish actors (and from her statement I assume it’s the same in France). Those more popular American ones like to brag, create a fantasy, show how they are better, richer and more amazing than us peasants (or lie that they are younger or taller than they really are). Big villas, expensive cars, designer clothes, commercials etc. There are people who criticize them for that and prefer actors with talent like Joaquin or PSH (especially here on CB) but mainstream audience tends to buy it hence the Oscar campaigning (Oscar goes to bigger fame chaser, not a better actor) and other PR games to show how amazing they are etc. In Poland (where I live) the actor who brags, who lives in luxury and who stars in the commercials, is a face of some brand, is laughed at by mainstream audience. You cannot be treated seriously as an actor and live a Hollywood kind of life here. There are many famewhores who act exactly like that – I am rich and famous and I will be on the covers of all the magazines, but they are limited to being celebrities. Real actors who win awards – work in theaters, wear reasonably priced clothes and if they lie, it’s to make themselves look worse, not better.

    • ccp says:

      Not really, though? Look at the Oscars, 90% of the films that are nominated are successful films. Look at the Cannes Festival, half of the time it’s the most obscure film that wins. Anyone remember Unble Boonmee?

  7. Ri says:

    I hope her Cannes quote was taken out of context, it makes her sound entitled.

  8. Saphana says:

    the underdog thing is unversial. i hear that in every country i lived in. the brits say the same for example, the germans etc.

    not only is it human to feel with an underdog, you can also feel elitist in it. you know the typical hippster and his bands that are only known by five people and as soons as ten people know the band they sold out.

  9. JaneB says:

    There’s something missing, I don’t know what it is but it’s a person I can’t find interesting. When I get to read her interviews I’m like “how annoying can you get” but in the end I just don’t care about her.

    Also I just hate the statements “the French are like this”, “Americans are like that”.. what is she an ethnologist or an actress? ^^

  10. Christina says:

    Oh W magazine…there you go again. They take perfectly beautiful people and make them look like freaky aliens in most of their photoshoots lately. I get that they are trying to be edgy, but sometimes it just comes across as pretentious and over done. Marion is so beautiful, they should have tried to accent her beauty.

  11. andy says:

    Marion is beautiful. I would love to see her photographed w/Louis Garrel.

  12. Diana says:

    To me, she’s smug and I percieve her as entitled; she seems very pretentious. I don’t know what is it, but I can’t seem to like her.

  13. normades says:

    I don’t think this is true. She won an Oscar as an unknown French underdog. DuJardin same thing.

  14. Trek Girl says:

    I love these photos – absolutely love them.

    That was a great interview. I don’t have much of an opinion about her, as I do not know her work, but I’m starting to appreciate her.

  15. midnightmoon says:

    She is gorgeous but kind of flat. The photo shoot is full of Illuminati symbolism. I sometimes visit for education. Some of the modeling photoshoots are horrifying. RPatz & KStew photo shoots are discussed. For those of you open to that line of theory, this layout is OBVIOUS. Yuck.

  16. Eleonor says:

    That’s the Mia Wallace wig!

  17. Ginger says:

    I am American but I love French films. I have to agree with the former posters who said that Juliette Binoche and Audrey Tatou are better actresses. But I still find myself liking Marion as even if she isn’t in the same league.

  18. Marion says:

    The photo shoot is horrible!

    As for her, she’s just so full of herself!
    To me she’s not a good actress, her voice and her acting…I just can’t!!!

    And she’s sounds like she’s “spitting in the soup” – as we say here!

    I really cannot stand her, and the last straw was her acting in “Les Petits Mouchoirs”
    All of them actors of “la bande à Canet” are just the same too!


  19. Mira says:

    Love the photo shoot, especially the first one. The way they have used red is terrific.

    As for Marion, I feel the same for her like I feel for Michelle Williams – meh! I don’t dislike her but I don’t like her either. She doesn’t interest me enough to like or dislike her. I’m talking about her acting.

  20. Xena says:

    “Yes, a lot of you like her, but I often wonder if there’s anyone who thinks “Marion is MY girl, my #1.” Nor is there anyone who is like “I hate her and everything she represents.”

    Maybe it’s because she doesn’t get enough publicity and people like their number 1 to be someone who gets a lot of coverage. If you’re into pop culture it’s no use devoting yourself to someone who hardly gets any press. IMO.

    • Mazunte says:

      That might be true, but it doesn’t make any sense.

      Shouldn’t it be all about devoting oneself to someone’s talent and specific look, style, personality?

      I love this photo shoot. This photographer’s creativity is amazing and she has the look for these scenarios. And the interview was good too.

  21. Mazunte says:

    Marion is MY girl, my #1!!! My favorite amid the favorites! And Guillaume Canet, her baby’s dad, is MY boy, my #1.

    For me, Marion and Cate Blanchett are the epitome of female beauty, grace and class.

    I find her a very good actress, but I have only watched a Hollywood movie with her, so I don’t have an opinion on her talent as an actress when she is not performing in her mother language.

  22. Flo says:

    As a French myself, I agree with the French people on this thread (and other people who expressed the same views as well): Marion may be loved in America but she’s not that loved in France.
    I think the perception in France vs USA are the same regarding Penelope Cruz/Javier Bardem. They’re loved in the US but most Spanish people can’t stand them.
    Marion is completely overrated (although to be fair, I thought she was quite good in Rust and Bone)and I’m so fuc**ing sick of watching her in SO MANY American movies. If Americans really want a French actress , why not pick a good one? Like Juliette Binoche for example.

    • Hypocricy says:

      As a francophone myself, i also don’t undertsand Marion’s appeal in the US.

      From all the french or even francophone actresses out there (like Belgians Marie Gillain or Cécile De France) who could have make it in the US, she doesn’t have Emanuelle Béart’s sex appeal, she doesn’t have Sophie Marceau’s charisma, she doesn’t have Cécile De France’s charm, Audrey Tautou’s feminity or Juliette Binoche’s talent.

      In all those qualities that makes you the most appealing one, she is beaten by a mile by many french and french speaking actresses.

      For me she is a cold beauty who is dull, pretentious and ignorant at times.

  23. kitvancleave says:

    Well, I hate to break up the “stomp Marion” party that’s going on here, but Cotillard is amazing. Her work is genius. The people saying she’s not talented are, I wager, not in the film business. If they were, they could explain why every major director today is lined up to work with Marion, and want to hire her again when they have success with the first film. Or why she’s had nine tributes for her work this year alone. Meanwhile, Marion takes all the hatred from her countrymen, talks fondly about France, says she wants to continue to make her home there, That’s gracious. By the way, let’s don’t drag up that whole specious 9/11 nonsense again. If you don’t speak Parisian French and haven’t actually seen the video yourself, you don’t know what you’re talking about. It was on CANAL for one year without anyone thinking it was controversial. Only after the Oscar did it become a chance for the rightwingers in the US to “get” France for not joining us in Iraq. So please, stay away from her films and stop buying magazines in which she’s featured. The rest of us will take your place.

  24. Jitterbug says:

    I cannot believe the nasty comments with regards to Marion. All these bitter remarks coming from, mostly, French people (women, no doubt).

    Clearly you don’t have to “like” her just because she is a fellow countryman but, if I’m honest, your bitterness and abhorrent jealousy makes it all the more evident why Marion chooses to work in America!