It’s not enough to say that Marion Cotillard disappears into the roles she plays, she practically loses herself in them. Her level of dedication is that intimidating. The actress’ sense of passionate commitment has subsequently resulted in some of the most emotionally wrenching performances of the last couple of years. Cotillard, somehow, managed to effortlessly become Edith Piaf in Olivier Dahan’s “La Vie En Rose,” and she also fearlessly took on the role of a whale trainer who loses her legs in a freak accident—a part that might have been a disaster in a lesser performer’s hands—in Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone.” She’s being rightly recognized for her superlative work this year in two very different films: James Gray’s great, underrated “The Immigrant,” where she plays the sad-eyed Polish immigrant of the film’s title—one who falls under the shadowy wing of Joaquin Phoenix’s tortured showman—and also the latest from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, “Two Days, One Night.” The New York Film Critics Circle shares our enthusiasm for Cotillard’s work, having just awarded her Best Actress for the incredible double whammy of ‘Two Days’ and “The Immigrant,” and we now have a rich, deeply informative new 53-minute interview where the actress touches upon her method, her career so far, who she’d like to work with, and much more.
Cotillard spends a great deal of time discussing her work with the Dardennes. They met on the set of “Rust and Bone,” and she says the brother’s highly unorthodox shooting style simultaneously posed a unique set of challenges and helped to elevate her already high self-imposed standard as a player in their world. Cotillard, who grew up in a family of working actors, is an enormous fan of the Belgian filmmaking duo—former documentarians and unrepentant realists whose films can be tough to watch—and she elaborates on their meticulous, lengthy rehearsal process and even the act of writing scenes on the spot so as to more intimately understand her character. It must be said, Cotillard is a much higher-caliber star than the brothers are used to working with, but as anyone who has seen the film will tell you, she manages to intertwine herself seamlessly with their rugged, stripped-down milieu.
Cotillard also dishes a little bit on Justin Kurzel’s upcoming “Macbeth,” citing Lady MacBeth as a part she says she “always knew she would play,” and apparently one that she needed little to no convincing to commit to. A curious surprise is her desire to branch off into comedy, although it’s perhaps not that surprising given the surplus of tortured and mysterious women that she’s played for the likes of Christopher Nolan and James Gray. Surely she must get tired of so often staring mournfully off into the middle distance. Honestly, we’d almost forgotten that Cotillard popped up in the WTF battlefield climax of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” as a bad-ass Canadian news anchor, but hearing one of the world’s most talented actresses express some humility and doubt about being on the set of an Adam McKay movie is, oddly, a gratifying experience. Indeed, throughout the interview, Cotillard exudes a warm, light presence that makes us think she and comedy might actually go pretty well together (never forget “Forehead Tittaes“).
In the meantime, however, she’s being showered with accolades for her performance in “Two Days, One Night,” and it’s also been reported that Harvey Weinstein is wising up and including Cotillard’s fearless performance in TWC’s annual “For Your Consideration” Oscar run.