In town for her latest movie, Back to Burgundy, where she plays a filial daughter and wine maker, the Parisian actress talks French cinema, character wardrobes, and a special relationship with Chanel.
Who is Juliette and do relate to her?
In Back to Burgundy, I play Juliette, a filial daughter struggling to manage the family’s male-dominated vineyard after her father’s death. Even though our director, Cédric Klapisch initially said I was so different from Juliette, I am an actress and love playing characters that are completely opposite of who I am—in this case, a winemaker rooted in the countryside and to the family business. But in reality, I come from a family of actors, so I too, have this responsibility to carry our name in the industry.
Like your brother in the film, you left home to explore the world. What brought you back?
I lived in New York for two years and Los Angeles for a while, but that was in 2008, so not a great time to be in the US. I had to go back to France and an opportunity came up. My first movie, Lights Out (2010) made it to the Cannes Film Festival and I’ve never looked back—I’ve done about 15 movies since. I’ve just finished filming my first movie in New York as well.
How would you describe the French film industry today?
I think French cinema is going very well. We have this new wave of directors who are incredibly talented and open to what the world has to offer—so their influences are as wide and diverse as the films they produce. It’s beautiful to see this generation of directors and movies meld with the classic French movies that play a key role in our history.
What would you say is most French about you?
My grandmother gave me this education of how to be a real Parisian. She’s very elegant, very French, always with a big hat and coat, and loves Sonia Rykiel. But more importantly, there is a strong sense of never excusing themselves for who they want to be. It is this freedom that I’ve been instilled with and admire older French women for.
If you weren’t an actress, what would you be?
A designer. I love fashion. It’s the first thing I do when I work on a character—go into wardrobe and discuss with the costume designer who this girl is, what’s in her closet, and what else needs to be added to complete her looks. Even in the field, a winemaker needs to look cute, no? I’ve also been working with Chanel, they were the first one who dressed me when I went to Cannes. I remember arriving at the Rue Cambon store and thinking I’ve just reached heaven. They’ve been very supportive since and I just got news we’ll be working together on a short film together with other upcoming actresses.
What are your fashion essentials?
Denim jeans, a white T-shirt, boots, and a little necklace.
What’s your favourite wine?
Burgundy. They have something magical.