The delectable Audrey Tautou stars in the new film Priceless, out in cinemas this Friday.You can watch the trailer for the film here. We've also been handed a highly secret sealed set of Q+As in a brown paper envelope, with the lady herself!Read on:
So this is your first film since Da Vinci Code?
I shot it at the end of 2006, end of December, so it was my first film since the Da Vinci Code. I had accepted this movie before the Da Vinci Code, so we had to change the schedule for me to be able to do Da Vinci Code.
Are you happy with The Da Vinci Code? The critics hated it but it made a lot of money, so people must have liked it…
I keep seeing myself with all the special effects. It's hard for me to watch the movie as a spectator. Usually it's difficult for me, and for me in this movie it's even harder; I guess that's where my cynicism comes in. It's too much for me. But I liked the experience, and I enjoyed shooting the film. I would do it again if I had to. But everything is so different from what I am as a person.
Your character in Priceless, Irene, is quite a departure for you; she's a real seductress…
This character for me was very new, because it was far from the kind, shy and discreet areas that tend to play. It was a very new image that I can give. It was new to play a woman who plays with her sincerity, and who is a seductress, a manipulator and a liar! I was able to compose a character as opposed to being very natural, so it was very interesting for me. It was great to realise that I could be this kind of real woman!
Did you think Irene is bad girl, manipulating all these men, or is she just taking advantage of male stupidity?
I do see what you mean, but I don't think she's playing on older male stupidity, because I don't think that these men she's with are stupid. They are very aware of their loneliness, and that's the reason they have to buy this young woman. I think it's more the expression of how you can be a slave in modern society, in a different way. She's not a victim, because she chose to do that, to try and seduce older men and to obtain their money, comfort and the lifestyle she likes. Her motivation is not nasty; she has a true fascination for the places that she's goes in these relationships. To me, it's scary where she goes, but I think that she considers herself living a life like a princess in this world. Even if the charming prince isn't as young, pretty and exciting as she may like!
So she's not a bad person…
I think she would be doing something bad if she were really cheating the people around her. But she's not a thief and she's not trying to kill anybody. And I think that the people she's seducing know exactly who is the person they are with. And in the film, with her relationships, she does not expect people to kill themselves financially. Especially in her relationship with Jean. She says right at the beginning that he cannot afford to be in love with her! It's cruel, but there's no question of feelings at the beginning; for her, this comes with money. That [the romance] all comes at the end. After all, it'd be weird to have a romantic comedy with no romance at all!
Is Irene a lucky girl to find someone like Jean?
I think so. Although in her mind, she would have preferred him to be a bit richer! I think she's lucky to find someone who can fall in love without judging her. At no moment does he judge and criticise. And for her to find someone who can see the real her, and get into the adventure.
Who is this Gad, your co-star, who plays Jean; is he a big name in France?
In France, he is the most popular humorist. He does great stand-up, and on stage he has this amazing sense of moving his body. He's very burlesque and can express many things without talking; he's very expressive in his body and face. I knew that he was funny — he has a talent to control people's laughter. He knows how to say things, it's a like a total control. I wasn't expecting him to be this good. I'm not at all like that! Even though I try!
The film feels like a throwback to old Hollywood. Did it remind you of any classic films, maybe Breakfast at Tiffany's?
Yes, I think you are right. There are some little things, and with the location, the luxury, the story, it is an elegant romantic comedy. So I would think it fits with this family of movies, rather than any one in particular, but I think in Priceless there is something different. It is about the insolence and almost the cruelty that we can feel in this comedy. It's a not a sweet romantic comedy — it's stronger, a bit more cynical, which shows a very true part of the psyche!
And you are going to play the great designer Coco Chanel in a new movie?
That's true; I will start shooting at the end of the summer. If everything goes to plan, I shall play her, but it's not a huge biopic about her. It's a film about her early life, her personality, all her experiences that lead us to see and understand who she will become. It's an interesting way to look at her. It is not fictional, it is based on her life. The script is finished but I have not had time to digest it all. The director did some research about Coco and she wanted to see what the most interesting period of her life was, and she thought her youth was fascinating, so we're going to take every element of her young life.
Have you ever considered why French actresses have never prospered in Hollywood?
I don't know. First, I don't know their motivation; did they really want to work in Hollywood? But also I think it's very difficult for French people to work in Hollywood, because it's such a huge industry and to be able to create some space for yourself is a hard job. So I'm not sure French people are ready to do that, and of course the language doesn't help! You almost can work only as a foreign character. You can't play everything like an American can. Then the French film industry, which is not amazingly well, it is able to finance big productions, and we have wonderful directors, who might be as famous as Steven Spielberg, so for myself I am very pleased to work with French directors. They can being me so much pleasure.
You had a bad experience on a film called The Libertine. Can you tell me why?
It was a long time ago, and I didn't like the experience as an actress. I hated the final movie. I don't want to revisit that; it was something too small to make into a big deal. It's not important.
You love literature; ever tempted by writing?
I have never thought to write anything, except lists of what I have to do! I don't think I'll write, at least not until I become an old woman! But I would like to be more creative, but I'm not very serious as a person. So I prefer a moment of thinking more than the action!
So what are your other creative outlets; you were a good musician as a kid, right?
I was never a good musician. As an actor, you create your character with the director, but you are just an interpreter, you are not the origin of the character. It's a way to express imagination, through the character.
You always take photos of your interviewers. What do you with them?
Right now, I have no objective, but you never do anything for nothing, so one day I will understand this puzzle! The first time I did it, it was because I was meeting so many people and they were all blurring together. So I needed to make all these people not entirely anonymous! And I realised later it was interesting and funny to see all those faces. It makes it more human.
Priceless gets its UK cinema release this Friday(13th of June 2008) www.pricelessmovie.co.uk