In Ursula Meier’s “Sister,” the talented Lea Seydoux plays Louise, a complex maternal figure to a young boy named Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein). Though most know the beautiful, wayward Louise as Simon’s older sister, she regularly leaves him alone without a parent, finding affection in the arms of a man and leaving the boy to make ends meet hustling stolen skiing goods. Seydoux had hesitations about playing such an upsetting character, and as she told us in an interview this week, she initially found the character, “Cruel. She’s completely selfish.”
Where Seydoux found a common ground with the character was in her youth. “She is a kid,” Seydoux explains, “so that’s why maybe you can forgive her behavior. I spoke with Ursula for hours, saying, I don’t know why she’s so cruel. But the kid can be cruel as well, he’s very tyrannical. When you understand it’s about two kids, it becomes less [emotionally] violent.”
Ironically, what took her away from the film’s production was a much bigger blockbuster, last winter’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” As far as developing a relationship with her younger costar, there were many obstacles in the way. “At the beginning it wasn’t easy, because I think his role is difficult to play,” she says. “And I was doing reshoots for ‘Mission: Impossible,’ so I wasn’t there every day. I was a little like Louise in the film, always escaping. So yes, I had to spend time with Casey, and we got together and bought chocolates!
“I’m a sensitive person, so [this story] has an influence on me,” Seydoux explains. “And I’m okay with that. I was focused on the fact that she was the sister. It’s true that in the second part, she becomes more of a woman. A responsible person.” But Seydoux made sure to never lose sight of the age of both these characters, who only barely support each other. “They are like kids, so they’re not conscious of real life. They live in their own world, but they always find a way to feed themselves.”
“Sister” is merely the tip of the iceberg for Seydoux, the first of several films she’s shot in succession, a pace that forced her out of Michel Gondry‘s upcoming “Mood Indigo.” Earlier this year, Seydoux spent five months shooting an adaptation of the graphic novel “Blue,” titled “Blue Is A Hot Color.” As the older half of a lesbian romance, Seydoux characterizes the shoot as “Difficult. Six days a week shooting, sometimes seven days, for five months. It was extreme.” Though she‘s confident in the final product, stating, “It’s a very dramatic love story.”
She’s also quite optimistic about the two-hander “Grand Central” with actor Tahir Rahim (“A Prophet”), which recently wrapped shooting last month (“It‘s going to be a very good movie, I can tell you!”), as well as the animated “Longway North,” which involved her voice-work, though the animation process is expected to take quite a while. As for now, she’s leaping feet first into “Brotherhood Of The Wolf” and “Silent Hill” director Christian Gans’ new version of “Beauty And The Beast,” which will be both true to the source as well as Gans’ specific sensibilities.
“It’s the original, from the novel,” Seydoux clarifies, “but more special effects, it’s more modern. But it’s not exactly like the [Jean] Cocteau version.” She explains that the film with have a contemporary vibe, but stresses, “It’s going to be a classic!” While shooting begins next week, she has yet to become acquainted with the Beast himself, Vincent Cassel, though she has the requisite level of excitement. “I’ve met him for six seconds, just shook his hands,” she laments. “Next week I’m doing rehearsals. Everybody tells me that he’s very charismatic!”
“Sister” opens this Friday. You can read our review of the film from the L.A. Film Festival right here.