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Léa Seydoux: “I have a body, I am carnal, I have dark circles, and European cinema allows me to impose it”


With her gaming instinct and carnal presence, she can play anything. The actress is presenting two films at Cannes, Les Crimes du futur, by David Cronenberg, and Un beau matin, by Mia Hansen-Løve. A perfect balance for the Vuitton muse at the top of her game.

It is rumored that at the beginning of March, when

My Wife's Story came out,

from Ildikó Enyedi, Léa Seydoux received a note from Catherine Deneuve telling her of her delight.

It was a first.

And you have to hear in this message from Queen Deneuve something of a handover between two actresses that many things bring together: a form of intractable sensuality, made up of audacity and elegance, golden hair, a fierce love, bravery, auteur cinema, an undeniable international influence.

Above all, both belong to the category of actress that Arnaud Desplechin, who directed them, calls with all the admiration of the world "actress-filmmakers", a rare caste of those who can also claim title of author, in that they circulate from film to film not the same thing, always the same thing,

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Read alsoCésar 2022: the tears of Léa Seydoux and the sobs of Xavier Dolan during the tribute to Gaspard Ulliel

This year again, Léa Seydoux strikes us in two films,

Les Crimes du futur


Un beau matin


One is signed by one of the greatest filmmakers in the world, the Canadian David Cronenberg, the other by one of the great hopes of contemporary cinema, the Frenchwoman Mia Hansen-Løve.

Both films will be in Cannes.

The Cronenberg hits theaters at the same time.

When we call her to talk about it, on a Saturday afternoon, Léa Seydoux is in New York.

A ray of morning sunlight fills the room.

Hello, Lea…?

In video, The story of my wife, the trailer

Madame Figaro

.– Before talking about your double news at Cannes, I would like to come back to your Cannes, last year, this missed opportunity…

Léa Seydoux.–

Having four films in competition like last year is one thing which almost never happens, and here it is… I caught the Covid in the middle of filming

Un beau matin,

the film by Mia Hansen-Løve, which will be shown in Cannes this year at the Fortnight.

We were filming in Epahds, in hospitals.

I knew I was positive when I left for Cannes.

Suddenly, I am at home, in Paris, in front of the Internet, deprived of this unique encounter between films of which I was extremely proud and the outdoors.

And there… we become fatalistic.


Life has chosen.

In Cannes, in 2021, cinema was reborn, it was a strong symbol, that of a life that could resume...

Cinema is always on the side of life.

That's why being kept away from this return to life seemed absurd to me.

Personally, I don't like it when things get morbid, in love, in work, in friendship – yet we face it every day: we all have moments when we are caught up in nothingness.

Being an actress helps to get through them, that's undeniable.

The profession of actress has this particular thing: you live in a character for eight weeks, and suddenly you make him die... Maybe it's to defend myself, but I feel like I'm acting in a movie in film a single character, to whom I lend emotions and character traits that are mine.

And this character walks around.

These are variations of me.

But actually, when we make a film, we

fully offers, one puts hope on energy, and then one is dispossessed of it.

You have to learn to live with that.

There is a little death side to it.

Is there a remedy for this?

Quickly shoot other movies.

Try different things.

The crimes of the future,

David Cronenberg's film has that stake for me.

It's a powerful movie.

It's a metaphor for what it means to be an artist today: our increasingly physical, carnal, sexual relationship to suffering, to transcendence.

It is a source of pride to participate in the work of such a filmmaker.

The great directors, when you meet them, there is always something exhilarating, and at the same time quite abstract.

One wonders what they are making that only they see.

There, for example, the film could seem opaque just by reading the script, and I wondered how he was going to convey that in the image.

It's a feeling that I really like: not knowing everything in advance, not understanding everything in advance either,

Léa Seydoux, the Cover Story

In images, in pictures

See the slideshow05 photos

See the slideshow05 photos

The film is about the body, its modifications, the post-human, the disturbing strangeness.

On the set, on a daily basis, for you who have to play these unusual scenes, how does that translate?

Cronenberg does few takes.

On a scenario which is dense, unrealistic, and which I have to play in a language which is not mine.

So it was quite confusing at times.

We especially wanted to tell you that in this film you are in your place, in the continuity of the roles you played for Arnaud Desplechin (


) or Wes Anderson (

The French Dispatch

): extreme physical presence, almost erotic, ironic distance , using language as a weapon…

The question of the place in the cinema today, for an actress, has become complex.

So being in his place is above all not having one?

No, I wouldn't say that either.

It's to make it move, its place, to make it travel, from one nation to another, with what that means of different working methods, to choose if possible projects that avoid repetition.

I have the privilege of being able to make the films that I love.

They are not necessarily unanimous, I am not the most commercial either, I have never received a César, but I still feel like I am in the right place.

Even from a geographical point of view: I shoot with authors from all over the world, and I see that I am allowed more freedom as a French actress.

Would there be a special status for the French actress?

Yes… My American actress friends know it well, they who are subject to more pressure from agents, from the industry, from what makes Hollywood.

The box office decides their career, the films they have to make.

Even more unimaginable, to have a physique that is not controlled by industry.

I have a body, I am carnal, I have dark circles.

I don't want to erase that.

And European cinema allows me to impose it.

Paradoxically, however, it was Hollywood cinema that taught me to love bodies that bore signs of life: the body of Marilyn Monroe, the body of Liz Taylor, the body of Gena Rowlands, we can hear the life that behind it are the cracks, the doubts.


Marilyn Monroe's body, Liz Taylor's body, Gena Rowlands' body, you can hear the life behind it, the cracks, the doubts.

It's moving

Léa Seydoux

Is it with this in mind, for example, that last year you shot


by Bruno Dumont, a film almost signed by four hands, showing to the point of absurdity the sometimes monstrous, above ground side of celebrity?

Yes, it's a film that I like a lot, a lot, a lot.

It provokes clear-cut reactions, which are always interesting.


was it a farewell to France, to French cinema?

No, it's the opposite !


The proof, in Cannes, I will be in

Un beau matin,

the film by Mia Hansen-Løve, which we shot with Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia, Pascal Greggory.

It's a film that questions France, in tune with the two years we have just lived through, the care environment, the passing of generations.

It's great to go from this film which directly challenges France to a futuristic Cronenberg body art filmed in Athens with international actors.

Mia Hansen-Løve gave me to breathe an air that I know well, questions that I hear about, identified emotions, that I share with actors that I also know: there is a feeling of great familiarity.

I arrive in Athens, and there, I feel out of place, I am no longer in my comfort zone, the scenario describes bodies that are no longer ours, the sets are organic, and I play opposite actors,

Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, who have a consistency that I don't have.

My technique is precisely not to have a technique and to bet on instinct, so that each film is still the first.

Which means that I have a lot of stage fright on set… but I hold on to this fierce desire not to rely on my automatisms, so I seek while playing.

From my point of view, I rarely like my first takes, I grope, I search live, it's messy.

But facing Cronenberg, who doesn't like to do a lot of takes, it forces you to look differently.

Filming abroad, with actors trained elsewhere, is often an invitation for me to overcome everything that blocks me, and in the end, I know that this is where I get the best out of me. .

But at the moment,

Is it a way to test what we have called your always amazing ability to adapt?

Let's say I like being moved.

It helps me reinvent myself.

Does fashion also move you?

I have loyalty with Vuitton.

There is with Nicolas Ghesquière, as with certain filmmakers, a dialogue that is invented as the collections and clothes go along.

Listen: the editorial staff podcast

The next trip, what is it?

Bertrand Bonello's film,

The Beast,

that we were to shoot with Gaspard Ulliel.

(Long silence.) The film will shoot at the end of the summer.

I'm glad we're continuing the project.

Gaspard's disappearance has united us.

I shot three films with Bertrand Bonello, we've known each other since 2008, when I started, but the sudden disappearance of Gaspard brought us closer.

There is no longer this hierarchy, which still exists between a filmmaker and his actors.

But there, there is this incomprehensible thing that struck us, and which forces us to think about things differently.

Gaspard was one of the great actors of my generation.

Our filmographies have crossed so many times.

He leaves, and we realize that he had this natural reserve, this modesty which meant that we didn't dare disturb him between shoots.

We were pushing back the time

also be close friends.

He was like that.

With a part of mystery to which he was attached, which allowed him to breathe between films, to exist other than as an actor who spends his whole life in the image.

Has his disappearance changed anything in your relationship to cinema?

I don't know if it's related.

There, it's true, I don't want to chain the shootings.

I need to take some time for myself.

I want to work for filmmakers who will mobilize a very strong desire, on projects that challenge my way of acting a little.

I want to live, not to be only in fiction.

I feel the need, even if it's to feed the actress afterwards.

Future Crimes

by David Cronenberg.

Released May 25.

Source: lefigaro

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