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‘Hereafter’ thesp’s life turned upside down

Fresh Face: Cecile de France

To prep for the part of a celebrity French TV journalist who survives the 2004 tsunami in Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” Belgian thesp Cecile de France devoured whatever books she could find on dying and the afterlife.

“This experience turns her life upside down,” she says of her death-obsessed character. “Her professional success becomes less and less important, and she becomes a more altruistic person.”

De France, who nabbed a Cesar for her role in Cedric Klapisch’s “Russian Dolls,” was near dumbfounded when Eastwood plucked her to play one of the leads in the supernatural thriller, only her second American film. “I asked, ‘Are you sure?’ ” she recalls with a bashful laugh. And then: “I am so lucky.”

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