Vanessa Paradis is currently promoting her role as a very overbearing mother in Cafe de Flore (a “decades spanning saga“), and she’s doing the publicity rounds in New York. Many people stateside often believe that Vanessa gained her (relative) notoriety through her long-term relationship with Johnny Depp, but Vanessa was famous in France for several years (as a film star and musical artist) before she met Johnny. She even won the equivalent of a French Oscar (a Cesar award) before Depp rocked her world (both up and down), so to speak. So now Vanessa, in the aftermath of their breakup, pushes forth with her professional life, and from the looks of her IMDb profile, she’s got a number of acting projects in the chute. Here are some excerpts from her recent interview with the Daily Beast:
She’s in NYC filming a Woody Allen movie: “I’m thrilled to be in New York because it was the city of my 20s–of freedom. I was working since I was 14 in France, and coming here as an unknown, walking through the streets, there’s an amazing energy and light in the sky. I’m so happy to be here.”
On her split with Johnny Depp: “I don’t sell my private life, and nobody knows the truth or has done a proper journalist’s work on that situation. Nowadays, people speculate, but nobody knows! I have my children to protect. There are children involved, so it’s really no one’s business but the family.”
On playing an overprotective mother in Cafe de Flore: “All parents are [overprotective]. When somebody hurts your child, you become a war machine. You couldn’t kill, but you want to. We have the gut feeling, you know? You love and you fear for them, and it’s all here [points to her belly]. I understand that. But Jacqueline is in a very different situation because she gave birth to a child with Down syndrome, and back then, the life expectancy of a child with Down syndrome was 25 years, so this woman is completely driven by love and fear, and she forgets who she is as a human being.”
On being a child star: “It was crazy to grow up in front of the cameras and speak to people when you’re not ready to speak at all. I loved singing, so it was amazing and cruel at the same time. When you’re 14 years old, you’re not a finished human being, so defending your ideas from critics is difficult.”
She’s taking on more work: “It just happened like that! With the age that I am, I guess there are more roles. I didn’t decide to act more but a lot of interesting roles just came at once. Since I’m turning 40, I can play the love interest, the mom, or the friend. When you’re younger, it’s all about ingenue roles.”
On becoming a mother: “What changes with motherhood is that you’re not No. 1 in your life anymore. Suddenly, someone counts more than yourself. It makes you a better person, less selfish and more aware of others. The biggest love of your life is born, and it’s the one love that never fades, but keeps growing stronger.”
[From Daily Beast]
I love Vanessa’s sentiments on aging in the film industry, which are quite similar to Winona Ryder’s statement (in response to her recent career resurrection) that she’s “psyched for 40.” That’s an admirable attitude. I wish I were psyched for 40 too, but yeah, I’m not really that evolved with just three more years to go. But I totally get her statements about motherhood. Once one sets their sights upon their own child for the first time, well, the rest is history.
Even though Vanessa will always be inextricably linked to Johnny Depp by their two children, she will always be a huge presence in France even without (and perhaps in spite of) his association. I happen to believe that she is perfectly lovely. Sure, she has some bad angles, but don’t we all?
Photos courtesy of WENN