Priceless - Audrey Tautou interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
AUDREY Tautou talks about playing a scheming seductress in French romantic comedy Priceless, the film’s comparisons to Breakfast At Tiffany’s and whether or not she views her character as bad.
She also talks about her forthcoming role as the designer Coco Chanel and why she insists on taking photographs of anyone that interviews her!
Q. Your character in Priceless, Irene, is quite a departure for you; she’s a real seductress.
Audrey Tautou: This character for me was very new, because it was far from the kind, shy and discreet areas that tend to play. It was a very new image that I can give. It was new to play a woman who plays with her sincerity, and who is a seductress, a manipulator and a liar! I was able to compose a character as opposed to being very natural, so it was very interesting for me. It was great to realise that I could be this kind of real woman!
Q. Did you think Irene is bad girl, manipulating all these men, or is she just taking advantage of male stupidity?
Audrey Tautou: I do see what you mean, but I don’t think she’s playing on older male stupidity, because I don’t think that these men she’s with are stupid. They are very aware of their loneliness, and that’s the reason they have to buy this young woman. I think it’s more the expression of how you can be a slave in modern society, in a different way. She’s not a victim, because she chose to do that, to try and seduce older men and to obtain their money, comfort and the lifestyle she likes. Her motivation is not nasty; she has a true fascination for the places that she’s goes in these relationships. To me, it’s scary where she goes, but I think that she considers herself living a life like a princess in this world. Even if the charming prince isn’t as young, pretty and exciting as she may like!
Q. So, she’s not a bad person?
Audrey Tautou: I think she would be doing something bad if she were really cheating the people around her. But she’s not a thief and she’s not trying to kill anybody. And I think that the people she’s seducing know exactly who is the person they are with. And in the film, with her relationships, she does not expect people to kill themselves financially. Especially in her relationship with Jean. She says right at the beginning that he cannot afford to be in love with her! It’s cruel, but there’s no question of feelings at the beginning; for her, this comes with money. That [the romance] all comes at the end. After all, it’d be weird to have a romantic comedy with no romance at all!
Q. Is Irene a lucky girl to find someone like Jean?
Audrey Tautou: I think so. Although in her mind, she would have preferred him to be a bit richer! I think she’s lucky to find someone who can fall in love without judging her. At no moment does he judge and criticise. And for her to find someone who can see the real her, and get into the adventure.
Q. Who is this Gad, your co-star, who plays Jean; is he a big name in France? Audrey Tautou: In France, he is the most popular humourist. He does great stand-up, and on stage he has this amazing sense of moving his body. He’s very burlesque and can express many things without talking; he’s very expressive in his body and face. I knew that he was funny — he has a talent to control people’s laughter. He knows how to say things, it’s a like a total control. I wasn’t expecting him to be this good. I’m not at all like that! Even though I try!
Q. The film feels like a throwback to old Hollywood. Did it remind you of any classic films, maybe Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
Audrey Tautou: Yes, I think you’re right. There are some little things, and with the location, the luxury, the story, it’s an elegant romantic comedy. So, I would think it fits with this family of movies, rather than any one in particular, but I think in Priceless there is something different. It’s about the insolence and almost the cruelty that we can feel in this comedy. It’s a not a sweet romantic comedy – it’s stronger, a bit more cynical, which shows a very true part of the psyche!
Q. Are you going to play the great designer Coco Chanel in a new movie?
Audrey Tautou: I will start shooting at the end of the summer. If everything goes to plan, I shall play her, but it’s not a huge biopic about her. It’s a film about her early life, her personality, all her experiences that lead us to see and understand who she will become. It’s an interesting way to look at her. It is not fictional, it is based on her life. The script is finished but I have not had time to digest it all. The director did some research about Coco and she wanted to see what the most interesting period of her life was, and she thought her youth was fascinating, so we’re going to take every element of her young life.
Q. You love literature… are you ever tempted by writing?
Audrey Tautou: I have never thought to write anything, except lists of what I have to do! I don’t think I’ll write, at least not until I become an old woman! But I would like to be more creative, but I’m not very serious as a person. So I prefer a moment of thinking more than the action!
Q. So what are your other creative outlets; you were a good musician as a kid, right?
Audrey Tautou: I was never a good musician. As an actor, you create your character with the director, but you are just an interpreter, you are not the origin of the character. It’s a way to express imagination, through the character.
Q. You always take photos of your interviewers. What do you with them?
Audrey Tautou: Right now, I have no objective, but you never do anything for nothing, so one day I will understand this puzzle! The first time I did it, it was because I was meeting so many people and they were all blurring together. So I needed to make all these people not entirely anonymous! And I realised later it was interesting and funny to see all those faces. It makes it more human.