Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Interview: Mélanie Laurent

Melanie.jpg

French cinema has provided some truly impressive actresses from Catherine Deneuve to Juliette Binoche but few have proven quite as talented as Mélanie Laurent. Not only has this icy blonde recorded a debut album (En T’Attendant) with singer and ex-boyfriend Damien Rice, she’s in cinemas this week in her first leading role opposite Ewan McGregor in the comedy-drama Beginners. With a clutch of French films, a part in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, and directing experience (De Moins En Moins in 2008) under her belt, she is now the face of Dior’s fragrance, Hypnotic Poison. Stylist met her, feeling like a huge underachiever…

You filmed Beginners with Ewan McGregor. Is he a total charmer?

Yep, you said the right word [laughs].

Did you hang out together?

We had a burger on the road. Actually, I had two burgers and he was like, “Oh my God, you’re the first actress I’ve seen do that.” But that was about all of the spare time we had.

Your star is rising. Can you walk the streets without paparazzi following you?

Yes. I had my first paparazzi experience three weeks ago – they just took pictures of me at the airport, doing nothing.

Did you find it exciting?

No, it was weird. In France you don’t really see paparazzi as we’re protected [by laws]. For paparazzi to take photos you really have to be doing cocaine in the middle of thestreet… which I won’t be doing.

I had to learn English fast because I lied and said I was perfectly fluent. I watched '''Gossip Girl '''on repeat.

Why did you choose acting?

I met [actor] Gérard Depardieu on the set of Asterix & Obelix when I was 14 because the father of my best friend at the time was working there as a technician. Gérard asked me, “Do you want to make movies?” and I said, “Why not?” I did my first movie with him, so he kind of chose all this for me.

You then starred in Inglourious Basterds but didn’t speak English at the time. Was that difficult?

Yes, I had to learn fast because I lied to Quentin and said I was perfectly fluent. I watched Gossip Girl on repeat [laughs]. That’s the best way to learn.

Which roles would you like next?

I seem to get the serious roles but comedy would be fun. I also want to direct more. I don’t like being called just an actress because people stop referring to you as a human being. They say, “You’re an actress, you’re not real, you don’t have feelings.”

What are your career rules?

Gérard Depardieu told me three things: firstly, forget acting school. Second, don’t try to learn your text and what it’s meant to be – you do it. Thirdly, he said never be afraid to be ridiculous, which was great because if you’re afraid of that you won’t do anything.

Beginners is in cinemas on 22 July

Interview: Natalie Lukatis. Photography: Corbis/REX Features

Related

rexfeatures_446814g.jpg

The everlasting charm of French cinema

Cannes-film-festival-hero.jpg

Cannes: iconic artworks

memorableparisquotes.jpg

Iconic Paris Quotes

Comments

More

This week's best A-list Instagrams

From Lupita Nyong'o's refreshing break to Beyoncé's family trip to Paris by Nicola Colyer

29 Jul 2016

Taylor Swift accused of “false feminism” by Pretty Little Liars star

"I’m so appalled" by Harriet Hall

29 Jul 2016

Mila Kunis unveils bargain wedding ring: "we bought it on Etsy"

Mila Kunis has revealed that she bought her and Ashton Kutcher’s wedding rings on Etsy by Kayleigh Dray

29 Jul 2016

Politician Sophie Walker on overcoming Imposter Syndrome

“I have bluffed and blushed my way through life”

28 Jul 2016

From Ryan Gosling to Joss Whedon: meet the male feminists

Great quotes, past and present, from men speaking out on women's rights.

28 Jul 2016

Woman takes herself on “self date” after being stood up on Tinder

Because self-love is just as important as romance by Moya Crockett

27 Jul 2016

Lena Dunham and America Ferrera slam Donald Trump’s sexism and racism

“Hi, I’m Lena Dunham and according to Donald Trump, my body is probably a two.” by Harriet Hall

27 Jul 2016

“Screw the scales”: fitness blogger pens uplifting essay about weight

“Stop letting your weight have any affect whatsoever on your self esteem” by Sarah Biddlecombe

27 Jul 2016

Disabled teenager heartbroken at being excluded from family wedding

There are times when it's OK to leave a family member off the guest list. This wasn't one of those times by Moya Crockett

27 Jul 2016

Model who hid vitiligo for a decade shares inspiring post about beauty

Sick of hiding her face from the world, Breanne Rice has penned an empowering post about how we define beauty by Kayleigh Dray

27 Jul 2016