January 2000

Why did you agree to make this film?

The script, its structure, the fact that it was the director's first film. Its construction is so much like a romantic American comedy. I thought it was quite peculiar in the French movie world. It made me think at Capra's movies…and I really wanted to work with Michele Laroque because I like her vivacious spirit, her humor. Finally, I thought that we made a curious couple and, therefore, rather interesting.

Is there something at the heart of this story that touches you?

Everyone takes away what they want from this story, but if there is a lesson to be drawn from it, it is that when one begins a relationship without a solid base... It is better to solve all the problems relating to previous relationships. When one begins a new love affair, one must try to have clarity about the past in order not to repeat the same errors. In this movie, on the contrary, there is a serious problem already at the beginning because Oriane's boyfriend commits suicide when he finds out that she's in love with Hadrien, his best friend.

Even if it is true love between them, there is a time bomb in their relationship; so clearly what they are building will fall into ruin sooner or later. I was touched by the story of this woman trying to save this couple. I often have the impression that in daily life people do not fight enough to save love or friendship. The film treats all these themes with poetry and humor. I also liked the despair of this man, who is an architect wandering on buildings - Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe…I loved this character, who's complicated enough to challenge me in this role.

How does one go from the world of Patrice Chereau to Harriet Marin, a newcomer in making a full-length feature film?

I do this with the same conviction, with the same energy, the same challenges. You can work with someone on their first movie or on their tenth, somebody who has won an Oscar or whose talent has been recognized but, in the end, you face the same things. If there are questions, you ask yourself about them before filming begins. If you don't do this beforehand, surely the questions will arise during filming when it is usually too late. One must learn how to anticipate problems.

In this film Oriane calls Hadrien a depressive maniac. Do you agree?

He's very depressed…he doesn't understand what went on. He lost his best friend, he's losing his wife, he lost his job. He's lost, a kind of ghost. He tries to forget his despair by distracting himself.

How did you play this lack of balance?

I don't know. It is difficult to explain. I work by experience. I learn from everything I've done in my life and then I take that mass of experience and apply it to my characters. There are revolutions, meetings with characters as in Le Bossu, a character very well written, or in Patrice Chereau's film, in which the role of Viviane has been a really true experiment. These characters helped me in advancing as an actor. In every film, I learn how to act. I try to do better. The difference is that today I do it for myself, for my own personal satisfaction, whereas in the past I tended to do it only for the director. What a mistake!

This role allows you to play every shade in between comedy and despair. I guess this must be a great satisfaction for an actor?

Sure, but it's not easy. Take, for example, the close shot of my face while I'm crying and then suddenly I begin to shout with laughter.

It is Harriet Marin's first full-length film. What can you say about her way of directing the actors?

She knows what she wants. She fights for it but she stays calm. Even if she felt the pressure of her first film, she was very open to us actors.

What can you say about your partner?

We were very bonded. We stimulated each other like a ping-pong game. Word exchanges were quick. She's very lively. It was very pleasant.

You also played with two young actors, Arnaud Giovaninetti and Audrey Tautou. What do you think about them?

I like them both very much. Audrey is an actress who knows her trade very well. She puts the scenes together. And Arnaud is the same. We worked well together. I was very happy to work with them.

We feel you are at ease in comedies, especially when it is a bit atypical like this one. Would you like more roles like this?

Yes, I would. But I would also like more complex roles, which I miss.

What would you do to save this couple?

I would spend much time waiting. Waiting and hoping that she still loves me. Never let my fears and angst attack my hope to live for one day, one hour only, this happiness so dear to me. Love is very rare. You must recognize it before it's too late.

Question for the director: The couple is played by Michele Laroque and Vincent Perez. Are they the first actors you thought about for these parts?

Harriet Marin: I wrote the script without thinking about anyone special. I thought about possible unusual couples. And, at a certain moment, I went into the office of the producer and I proposed to him Michele Laroque and Vincent Perez. He was so enthusiastic that I was immediately convinced of the goodness of my choice. Since the beginning, he supported me, and then I was lucky that both actors accepted immediately.

[With special thanks to Cinzia Masina for her translation]


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