Marion Cotillard, an actress between two shores

By Samuel Blumenfeld

Posted today at 12:36 a.m., updated at 5:35 a.m.

It was a day, at the very beginning of the 2000s, when she had no clear ideas. Marion Cotillard, 25 at the time, rushed into a travel agency. The shop was going to close, she just had time to buy a ticket to Bombay. She then returned home in a daze, packed her suitcase and headed to the airport with only one certainty: going to Goa.

Marion Cotillard was already a noted actress, she had held one of the main roles in Taxi (1998) and Taxi 2 (2000), productions by Luc Besson. She was no longer the debutante who, at 21, had been taken for an extra role in how i argued (1996), the second feature film by Arnaud Desplechin. “I was struck at the time by his perfectionism, the coherence of his universe”, comments today Marion Cotillard, met in a Parisian hotel where she is promoting the filmmaker’s new film, Brother and sister, in competition at Cannes and in theaters on May 20. But to go from there to feeling like an actress who counts, likely to survive the momentary infatuation of a director… Marion Cotillard had an image problem. Or rather, a good image.

In Goa, during this initiatory journey where the slightest word suddenly takes on the value of an oracle, in this hope, sometimes a little naive, that the East will act as a revealer, an Indian told him: you will remain frustrated as long as you will not become an international star.

Back in Paris, Marion Cotillard discovered a message from Tim Burton: he offered her a role in Big Fish (2003). Through the proposal of one of the most prominent American directors, the promise of a career in the United States was announced. Everything was suddenly about to change.

The most American of French stars

Twenty-two years after her Indian adventure, Marion Cotillard has meticulously created an image of an American actress. The actress, whose father was a mime and the tragic mother, at the head of a traveling theater, today has the stature of a Hollywood star. She succeeded where her French sisters, since Claudette Colbert in the 1930s, an eternity, therefore, failed.

“How could a French film with a French actress win an Oscar? “Marion Cotillard still wonders today.

Catherine Deneuve has only passed through Hollywood, to The City of Dangers (1975), by Robert Aldrich. Isabelle Adjani, after being twice nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress for The Story of Adele H. (1975), by François Truffaut, then Camille Claudel (1988), by Bruno Nuytten, never persevered across the Atlantic, achieving a dotted American career: Driver (1978), by Walter Hill, Ishtar (1987), by Elaine May, Diabolical (1996), starring Sharon Stone.

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