You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Marion Cotillard

'La Vie en rose' thesp an Oscar contender

She’s one of the year’s first real Oscar contenders, which is no small feat considering how few Americans will recognize Marion Cotillard when they see “La Vie en rose.” Even in her native France, where Cotillard co-starred in the first three installments of Luc Besson’s hugely successful “Taxi” franchise, the actress was not yet a big enough name to satisfy “Rose’s” co-producers.

But director Olivier Dahan wrote his Edith Piaf biopic with the young starlet specifically in mind. When the financiers balked, Dahan scaled back the budget and moved forward with Cotillard. But that meant an even greater challenge for the actress, since she would not have the luxury of playing the French chanteuse’s life in chronological order.

“When I saw that the fourth day of shooting for me was a scene in 1960 when she hears the song ‘No Regrets,’ I was really scared,” Cotillard says. But getting the climax out of the way early proved an unexpected blessing. “If we had saved the aging for the end of the movie, I would have been paralyzed with fear.”

Within the first two weeks, Cotillard had visited the full range of Piaf’s life, from age 17 to 47, and had found the pleasure in all those periods.

Though Piaf’s singing voice was her signature, it is Cotillard’s expressive eyes that sell her performance, the vital link in a full-body transformation that gains resilience even as her character grows brittle in the face of cancer, addiction and tragedy. To watch Cotillard in action is to suspect that no human has ever lived as much — or suffered as deeply — as the wounded sparrow she plays onscreen.

To an outsider, re-creating such intense pain may seem like masochism, but “it’s what I like to do,” Cotillard insists. “When I play tragedy, I have fun. It’s a very vast place to express yourself.”

Vocation: actress

Recent breakthrough: After a series of supporting turns, Cotillard carries “La Vie en rose” on her shoulders.

Role models: “There are many people that I admire: Meryl Streep, Sir Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Brad Pitt, Michael Keaton.”

Career mantra: “I think art has no frontier…Also, how to translate this into English in order not to spoil the idea? I think that you attract what you need.”

What’s next: Nothing official yet, but thanks to the international success of “La Vie en rose,” “I have very interesting offers now,” she says.

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content