Stylist's Megan Conner meets with the beautiful and enigmatic Audrey Tautou to talk about her new film Beautiful Lies. Co-starring Nathalie Baye, the stunningly shot feature tells the story of a hairdresser (Tautou), who forwards a series of passionate love letters to her mother (Baye).
Tautou opens up to Stylist about the appeal of not being perfect, how the success of 2001 Paris-based romance Amelie affected her and what sets the French film industry apart from the rest.
‘Beautiful Lies’ is brilliant, I really enjoyed it, it’s the perfect summer film. Why did you want to do it?
Because when I read the script, I laughed so much. I really adored all the characters and their craziness and the fact that they are very contrasted, you know? And also because I wanted to work with the director again, we had such a great experience on Priceless, and he is one of the best directors for comedy in France. He has such personal tone, such personal writing.
I particularly liked that it was funny, but that it wasn’t over sentimental...
Ah, no, and that’s also the reason I like his cinema in that there is something always a little bit immoral, he’s always on the edge. Like in Priceless, you know, she was sleeping with a very old man just for money, and she almost forced the other guy to do the same job, but to give her money.
Why does that element of immorality appeal to you?
Because that’s life. We are all a bit immoral, I think. If you don’t want to be boring, you have to do some forbidden things sometimes. Forbidden, not with the law, you know, not illegal. And also because I love the fact that people are not made in a single metal.
It’s not all black and white?
Yes, nobody is only white or black. Character and personality, it’s much more complex, and that is what’s interesting, and that’s where life is. That’s in the complexity of our nature, that you can have, or see life that’s lively.
We are all a bit immoral, I think. If you don’t want to be boring, you have to do some forbidden things sometimes.
Obviously we know you best for Amelie which was ten years ago. How have you changed through your twenties and thirties?
Well I think that I have more control of my freedom now. I’ve been able to organise my own life and schedule.
In terms of career?
Well, just in terms of being able to control what happens in my life. And also in my work. I’m really not one to self analyse. I’m curious about the people around me, curious about discovering things, but I’m not curious about myself. So that’s very difficult for me to answer because I’m not this kind of person that’s focused on their own belly button, thinking ‘ok'. I’m really not someone like that."
Amelie was so successful; how did you deal with that success?
Luckily it wasn’t my first film, I’d done a few films before. In fact I kind of realised the scale of what had happened sometime afterwards.
When did it hit you?
I didn’t realise how exceptional that was, and then years later I was back at that moment, and one day was like ‘oh right.’
Do you ever think you’ll brush off the Amelie tag (and would you want to)?
No, I would not want to brush away the Amelie experience. It was a very important film in my life but as an actor we must look ahead to new roles too.
What do you love about French film and how do you think the French film industry is different from the British film industry, or Hollywood? What makes it unique and different?
It’s not necessarily unique or special. What’s important in French cinema is diversity. You can have big films or small films, and it’s maybe successful in that; the range of films that are available.
Beautiful Lies is out on 12 August. Watch Jonathan Ross interviewing Audrey about the film here, or watch the film's trailer here.