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The Swimming Pool - Charlotte Rampling Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Warning - plot spoilers ahead!

Q. How did François Ozon pitch Swimming Pool to you?
A.
Much the same way he pitched Under the Sand. We had a meeting and discussed the idea before François started work on the screenplay. He asked me what I thought, we talked it over, then he went off to write, remaining in close touch. The process went on for four months. Then we shot the movie!

Q. How close to you is Sarah Morton?
A.
The character is utterly unlike me. English lady thriller writers live in a very specific world. I read a great deal of background and also some of the writing, some Agatha Christie, who is the most famous, and also some Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Rendell. These women really are very peculiar people.
They seem slightly disdainful, often bad-tempered. They are fiercely solitary and they like a drink. They seem to lock themselves up in a highly uncomfortable world, a world of complete silence.

Q. Sarah Morton seems rather unpleasant at the start of the film. Was this a problem?
A.
No, it wasn’t a problem What I like about the character is the way it develops, it’s journey. Just because a character functions in a certain way at the beginning of a film, doesn’t mean it will stay that way all the way through. Sarah Morton’s journey enables her to develop in many ways.

Q. What did you contribute to the character?
A.
François and I built Sarah Morton together. We work well together. So we are on the same wavelength, we’re complementary. And we’d started working on Sarah long before we went into production. When the shoot began, I knew her as well as François did. We worked together like two halves of the same individual.

Q. What was it like meeting your young French partner, Ludivine Sagnier?
A.
Ludivine is a very graceful actress, she’s open and generous. We got on beautifully. Unlike many actresses, Ludivine does not create unnecessary problems for herself. She takes a very direct approach. She overcomes her fears and takes risks.

Q. Was this your first time working with Charles Dance, a fellow countryman?
A.
Charles Dance is a fine actor. We did not know each other personally. François met a large number of English actors before casting this part, some of whom I knew. When he told me he wanted Charles Dance, I felt he was right for the part.

Q. What do you make of the way François Ozon sees England and English people?
A.
François is intrigued by English people, which is something I can understand, having connections in both countries. I see how open and frank English people seem, while hiding a great deal. François’ attitude to England is very healthy: he wanted to make a film there, with an English actress, filming in London and using both languages. He also wanted to use the Luberon, which English people adore.

Q. Do you know what Sarah wrote while she was in France?
A.
I decided I must know what Sarah is writing, even if the audience doesn’t. Every actor needs to feed his or her imagination in order to develop a character and make it come to life. My need was to know what Sarah writes while she is in France.

Q. In what ways does Sarah Morton resemble François Ozon?
A.
Directors choose characters in order to find out about them. They do this through their actors’ work and by the decisions they make as directors. By the time a film is finished, the characters have enabled the director to express a part of himself. I think that’s what happened with Sarah Morton.

Q. Finally, do you regret that you did not participate in 8 Women?
A.
No, because I was delighted to be 1 Woman in Under The Sun.

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