'Chocolat'

After wrenching roles in “Lovers on the Bridge” and “The English Patient,” Juliette Binoche is certainly proud of the natural ease that her character, the chocolate purveyor and charming heroine of Lasse Hallstrom’s “Chocolat,” exudes.

“She’s lighter than some of the other women I’ve played, and I think she’s a kind of therapist, and that’s why I liked her so much,” Binoche says. “But it still took a lot of work to get her right; it has to be natural and real, in the end, but you get there with a lot of work.”

The actress recognizes that some of the effort she had to exert to make the role come naturally has been a long-term evolution.

“When I first started acting, I had a lot of energy and the desire to express myself, but at the same time, I had to work a lot, because I had so much will, that I had to cut down this will and just let myself be. I was so desirous of it and I was so sure that I could act, it was not good,” she admits wryly.

“I think as an actor you have to be more humble than that,” Binoche says. “You have to let things happen in you, because it’s through you, it’s not you. But it’s very physical, what I’m talking about. But it’s all related, with so many layers. Through the acting with your heart, you can reach truth and freedom.”

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