Although she broke out playing the tough-skinned Andréa in the French show “Call My Agent!,” Camille Cottin comes off as gentle, bubbly and down to earth in real life. The hard-working Cottin didn’t shoot to fame; she became one of France’s hottest actors in her late 30s, after appearing in numerous stage plays, shorts and TV series over more than 15 years. Now, she is navigating between big American movies and French cinema with Tom McCarthy’s “Stillwater,” which bows at Cannes, and Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” lined up for later this year, as well as Rachel Lang’s war drama “Our Men,” the closing film of Directors’ Fortnight.
What was your reaction when you read the script of “Stillwater” and what did you think of the character you played?
I read it in one go, and it was a very nice feeling because I got completely pulled in. I was on a set shooting another film, reading the script between takes, and didn’t want to put it down. I liked this role very much. It’s a character who has a temper that I never got to play before; that’s much closer to who I am in real life.
She’s very different from Andréa, your character in “Call My Agent!” even if they’re both strong women.
Yes, my character in “Stillwater” has an inner strength because she’s a single mother, raising her daughter on her own, but she’s not harsh. She tries to juggle everything. She stands for her values with integrity, but she’s not driven by conflict or anger. Up until now, I’ve played lots of characters who are a bit hard-bitten.
“Stillwater” has many different layers; what compelled you the most?
I found it interesting to see this very conservative man [played by Matt Damon] who comes in, tall and muscular, embodying the quintessential patriarch, [and] gradually becomes a different person through his relationship with my character and her daughter. And it turns out that he needs them as much as they need him.
How was it to star opposite Matt Damon and see him look so unrecognizable?
I met him for the first time during our first reading in Marseille; he was the Matt Damon we know with his amazing blue eyes and his smile. And then once we started shooting I saw him in this Bill Baker outfit every day; the metamorphosis was stunning, but it helped me stay in my role. In this film he doesn’t say much and hardly moves. I remember when we had that scene in a restaurant, at some point he told me, “You’re so lucky you can move around and express things with your body!”
What’s up with the fifth season and TV movie of “Call My Agent!”?
The announcement of a fifth season took us by surprise because it was very premature. So far, what we know is happening is a TV movie that the producer, Dominique Besnehard, spoke about. The writers are working on it.
I heard that Andréa might move to New York in the TV movie. Would you like that development? And will you have a role in the U.K. remake of “Call My Agent”?
Shooting in New York would be wonderful! But we would need to find a way for Andréa’s work family to be in the picture. As far as the U.K. show, I might have a little cameo! We’ll see, but it’s a fun idea. It’s going to be strange to see another Andréa, but she will look very different from me anyway!
What was it like shooting with Ridley Scott on “The House of Gucci”?
It was so great to meet and work with Ridley Scott and Adam Driver, who is an immense actor and Lady Gaga, who is extremely committed. The casting process happened in different stages over several months. I did two tapes and found I got the role in November on my birthday! And we shot in March and April. I play Paola Franchi [Maurizio Gucci’s girlfriend for whom he left his wife].
Things you didn’t know about Camille Cottin:
In her genes: She’s the daughter of Gilles Cottin, a well-known painter and illustrator.
Beauty and brains: She has the equivalent of a master’s degree in English and worked as an English schoolteacher at the start of her acting career to make ends meet.
Humble beginnings: Before landing a role opposite Brad Pitt in Robert Zemeckis’ 2016 film “Allied,” she had crossed paths with the actor in Wes Anderson’s SoftBank commercial in 2009.