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Dan In Real Life - Juliette Binoche interview

Juliette Binoche in Dan In Real Life

Compiled by Jack Foley

JULIETTE Binoche talks about working alongside comedians Steve Carell and Dane Cook in Dan In Real Life, why the film appealed to her, real-life motherhood and why she keeps herself in shape…

What did you like so much about the character?
Juliette Binoche: When I read the script, there was a scene that made me want to say “yes”. It was in the writing and I read a lot of scripts. I thought that was a challenge for me.

Was it a relief or a release for you to do something like this which is a kind of genre that we don’t’ see that much you in?
Juliette Binoche: It was more difficult in a way because it’s like breaking the rule of my other like films, where I just plunge into it with a sort of an artistic rage somehow. With this one I had to somehow have the horse inside me, but just control it a little more.

Was there a lot of improvisation working with Steve Carell?
Juliette Binoche: Not that much, no. It wasn’t improvised at all. You know, some people ask me: “What was it to work with two comics?” You know, it felt like: “Well, how does it feel for them to work with a dramatic actress?” It was like two different worlds that have to meet. And I have to say that the commitment was serious – on the set it was not like ‘ha ha ha things’. It was very real and we were thinking as actors, trying to lift the story into a comedy but yet have the inside of the characters.

How familiar were you with Steve Carell and Dane Cook before you started?
Juliette Binoche: I didn’t know them. Because in France, I didn’t see anything of his… you know, 40-Year-Old Virgin didn’t work. And The Office we didn’t get. So, we started to notice him with Little Miss Sunshine. But Dane, we don’t know.

You’re a mother, so how did you relate to Steve’s character single-handedly raising three kids?
Juliette Binoche: I think my character is trying to be a part of the family, but she is lacking that, so it’s very painful for her. That’s why she’s trying to be so perfect and angel-like. Everybody loves her. She’s in so much of need of that. The persona she’s playing is hiding her real needs. That was the challenge for me in trying to fit her and yet it’s not that. It had to be done in a light way, but it had to be there in order to relate to her and understand her. If they only knew what she was really like! [Laughs]

You’re the perfect mum on screen, are you perfect at home?
Juliette Binoche: I don’t think she’s trying to be a mother really, she’s listening, she’s there, but she’s not trying to replace anybody.

Are you a perfect mother at home?
Juliette Binoche: No, I don’t think I’m a perfect mother. I think I’m trying my best [laughs]. I think it’s complicated, it’s difficult. I think I’m learning from my kids so much to be their mother. I don’t think you’re born a mother, I think you become a mother.

How old are your children?
Juliette Binoche: 14 and 7.

You have four films coming out. How do you balance your private life with your career?
Juliette Binoche: I have three films which I made at home in Paris, and I chose a year before this not to work because there wasn’t anything that grabbed me. So the rhythm acting wise is very different from when you choose the next one.

How did you enjoy your year of not working?
Juliette Binoche: It was great, I travelled quite a lot. I went to Peru to walk in the mountains. I went to Iran, because I met an amazing man and he showed me around.

How as Iran?
Juliette Binoche: I thought the people were fantastic. The women are like Italian women, they rule the house inside. But it’s full of life. The history is very rich. The mystic of the Middle Ages. We have to learn from them. They influence all the philosophers when they came to Europe all those many many years ago.

Where else did you go?
Juliette Binoche: I went to Budapest. I read. I took time to be with my kids.

How do you take care of yourself?
Juliette Binoche: I take care of myself because I’m an actress and I have to take care of my body as it’s my tool in order to give in films. At the moment, I’m training because I have a show I’m going to do in a year where I have to dance, so I have to be ready.

What kind of show?
Juliette Binoche: I don’t really know, but the idea is to dance with a choreographer. I’m not a dancer, so I have to find a movement that belongs to me. I dance within my limits and with my imagination.

What training are you doing?
Juliette Binoche: At the moment it’s to strengthen myself. Then it will be rehearsals. A lot of Pilates and movement.

Steve said he was a gentleman in the shower scene where you had to take off your top. How do you feel about taking your top off on camera?
Juliette Binoche: I don’t know if he saw anything! [Gasps] You have to put your ego aside as an actor. Or you’re using your ego to tell the story. Your body is a part of a tool to tell the story. So if you feel something, it’s wrong. It means you’re not inside of the character.

What is your outlook on life?
Juliette Binoche: To be true. To take risks. To love the shadows as well as the light. To find your task. To recognise your task. To be active.

b>Read our review of Dan In Real Life