Young actresses dream of making their screen debut in a lead role: 22-year-old Adele Haenel achieved it, at the age of 13, toplining Christophe Ruggia’s “The Devils” in 2002. Playing an autistic child on the run from the authorities in Marseilles, watched over by an older brother, she projected a combination of courage and vulnerability.
“It was intense. I was a total beginner when I first met Christophe; we worked for nine months, rehearsing and researching. I look at my picture taken on the set, now, and it’s ridiculous: I was so little!”
She went back to school, earned her degree and went on the study economics but resumed acting in 2007 (“If I’m honest, it was always my first passion”),and earned a Cesar nomination for her work in Celine Sciamma’s fest fave, “Water Lilies.”
Of the four films she shot in 2010, three were selected for Cannes 2011: Valerie Mrjen and Bertrand Schefer’s “Iris in Bloom,” Jean Jacques Jauffret’s “Apres le sud” (both in Directors’ Fortnight), and Bertrand Bonello’s competition entry “House of Tolerance.” Up next is Sylvie Verheyde’s “Confession of a Child of the Century,” alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg and German August Deihl.
She says, “For me, it’s usually about wanting to work with a particular director.That’s the most important thing — even more than the script. They don’t have to be established names, they could be new directors, because I admire their energy and their enthusiasm. And secondly, I want to do things that are intelligent. If it’s something I’ve seen too many times before, I’m not interested.”