Yikes. It’s always a bummer when behind-the-scenes drama overshadows a movie, especially when the movie is supposed to be really, really great, but sadly that seems to be happening with “Blue is the Warmest Color,” the Palme d’Or winning coming-of-age drama out this fall. A couple of days ago the actresses from the film put the their director Abdellatif Kechiche on blast and talked about how they never wanted to work with him again. And now the director has fired back, apparently culminating in an explosive, tearful confrontation at a press conference for the film.
So to recap: just a couple of days ago an interview ran on The Daily Beast where actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos discussed their unpleasant experience on the film. It wasn’t exactly a happy one. Out of that conversation came accusations that Kechiche wasn’t in command of the film and that his searching for moments would often wear out the actresses. “He warned us that we had to trust him—blind trust—and give a lot of ourselves. He was making a movie about passion, so he wanted to have sex scenes, but without choreography—more like special sex scenes. He told us he didn’t want to hide the character’s sexuality because it’s an important part of every relationship,” Seydoux explained in the interview. “But once we were on the shoot, I realized that he really wanted us to give him everything. Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act.”
Both agreed that they wouldn’t work with the director again, who they paint as temperamental and demanding. Well, the director has shot back.
According to an interview with a Los Angeles journalist named Ramzy Malouki (the interview isn’t online in full but there are Twitter blow-by-blows), Kechiche responded that [sometimes rough French to English translation] “If Lea was born in cotton, she would never say that.” At the Los Angeles press conference, supposedly, things really blew up, with Kechiche saying, “How indecent to talk about pain when doing one of the best jobs in the world! Aides suffer, the unemployed suffer, construction workers could talk about suffering. How when you are adored, when you go up on red carpet when we receive awards, how we can speak of suffering?”
Seydoux, who is the granddaughter of Jérôme Seydoux, CEO of Pathé, started crying during the press conference (!) and said, “I have given a year of my life to this film I had no life during this shoot. I gave everything. I have not criticized the director I…. I’m just complaining about the technique. It was my dream to work with him because, in France, he is one of the best directors. My family has never helped me. Let’s stop talking about privileges.”
Awkward. Either way, we can all find out if this back-and-forth was worth it when the NC-17 rated “Blue is the Warmest Color” finally opens domestically on October 25th.