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Adèle Exarchopoulos Addresses the 'Blue is the Warmest Color' Controversy and the Film's Sex Scenes

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire October 25, 2013 at 10:49AM

Relative newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos was the belle of Cannes this year for her breakthrough and baring turn in "Blue is the Warmest Color." Her performance opposite Léa Seydoux as a teenager coming to grips with her homosexuality was so strong, it caused the Jury, led by Steven Spielberg, to award the Palme d'Or not just to filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, but to its two lead starlets as well -- a first for the festival.
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Blue Is The Warmest Color (skip crop)

Were your parents at all wary about you making the film?

You read the comics and they're explicit. It tells such a good and beautiful story, so no. They are so respectful or me and took their distance. It's just cinema to them. I think cinema is the art of reality.

On top of all the adulation the film's received, a lot of attention has been paid to the nudity. Has the reaction surprised you?

Yeah, but I understand it. American audiences aren't used to it. It's a choice by the director. We all have sex, it's like a drug, everyone loves it. We had to show how making love to someone is visceral. We had to convey how much of yourself you give over. So we chose to show to everyone the emotion behind the discovering of one's sexuality.

We are adults, so come on. It's fiction, it's cinema. I don't get the big deal.

How did you and Léa work together in the lead up to the sex scenes?

We have really different ways of working. For the sex scene is was really a question of trust. We were allies on this movie. So I helped her, and she helped me. It was pretty natural really. We just trusted ourselves. I was terrified of the breakup scene. Abdellatif pushed us all the time to do our best and not 'act.' He was really there for us.

What was the most challenging scene?

Every scene was challenging. I mean for me it's difficult to take a phone call and be natural. It's more complicated than giving yourself. But yes, every scene was so challenging.

Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in "Blue Is the Warmest Color"
Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in "Blue Is the Warmest Color"

How long did it take you to recover when done the shoot? Did you even feel the need to recover?

I went to Thailand for a week with my boyfriend. It really helped. I just cut everything out.

I have to ask: Everyone's talking about The Daily Best interview. Is there anything you want to clarify about what was said?

I just think it's too bad that people are talking about this, even if we provoked it. It was naive.

On whose part?

On me and Léa. We were saying true anecdotes, but they put all the negative things in the interview. I think every genius is tortured. Sometimes it's hard to do justice to these people.

My father called me after the interview went live going, "What? There's scandal?" We learned so much making this movie. Of course you can't express yourself properly when talking about the huge human adventure we went on, making this movie. The three of us were always together searching, working. It's only normal that there was some conflict. I chose to make the movie the way we did, and I loved it. It's hard for me to talk about this, not because there are secrets I'm trying to hide, but because it was so intense.


This article is related to: Adele Exarchopoulos, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color, Interviews, Sundance Selects