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Cotillard has right number in ‘Nine’

Oscar winner sings, finds unlikely role model

The star-studded “Nine” may be adapted from the Tony Award-winning musical and loosely based on Federico Fellini’s 1963 masterpiece “8½,” but Marion Cotillard drew her greatest inspiration for her role as Guido’s long-suffering wife, Luisa, from an altogether different source: “Hearts of Darkness.”

“I was looking at Eleanor,” Cotillard says of Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, who appears in and narrates the acclaimed doc about the troubled production of “Apocalypse Now.” “You can feel that she’s found her place in the world through her relationship, by being the support of the man she loves.”

If love for Guido fulfills Luisa, then losing him to his creative crisis — and the other women in his life — devastates her. That raw grief drives “Take It All,” a song performed by Cotillard and created especially for the film by Maury Yeston, who wrote the original music and lyrics for the Broadway production.

“Luisa is someone who keeps emotions inside,” Cotillard says. “It becomes too much and she screams it out. The song is her release and a gift for me as an actress.”

Landing the role in the first place fulfilled a long-held personal fantasy for the French actress, who won the Oscar for her masterful take on Edith Piaf in the 2007 biopic “La Vie en rose.”

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamt of doing an American musical,” says Cotillard.

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