Queen Margot is above all a history of a family. A
royal family. A family full of conflicts. A family that ruled 16th century France amid
violence and pain. It is also the title of Patrice Chereau's new movie - a fresco full of
fever, wrath, excesses and blood.
It is also one of the most exciting combinations we've been offered by a
French movie in a long time. Isabelle Adjani is Queen Margot, the object of all desires
and powers; Daniel Auteuil, Henri of Navarre, her husband for political reasons;
Jean-Hughes Anglade, her brother, the half-mad king Charles IX; Vincent Perez, La Mole,
her secret lover; and Pascal Greggory, Anjou, her other brother craving for power. All
characters are fully immerged in the storm of history. All actors have to comply with
Patrice Chereau's standards.
Some days after its screening at Cannes, we met with the choir of Queen
Margot (Adjani, Auteuil, Anglade, Perez, Greggory) on Wednesday, April 27th in the
Hotel de la Tremouille. The hotel was a very lively spot since the press showed up. When
the five actors arrive to meet us, they have already answered hundreds of questions, but
they have done it individually. This is the first time they will meet all together after
filming. We feel a bit of tension as some of them do not know what kind of memories this
film has left for the others
To start with, we'd like to ask what is the first feeling you had about your
character and about the whole project when you read the script for Queen Margot.
VP: It is a bit
special for me as I am part of Patrice's family. I was his pupil at Amandiers and I have
worked with him a lot; thus, Queen Margot is a continuation of this work. What's
funny is that when I started at his school in Nanterre, I told him I'd had enough of the
Conservatoire because they only let me play young lover characters, and I wanted
to begin with something different in Nanterre. So, during the two years, I just had
secondary roles! When Patrice let me read the script for Queen Margot, I
immediately recognized the old cliché coming back, and it actually scared me a bit - but
at the same time, I knew that the young lovers are never really purely such, with
Patrice, so I have had the chance to summarize all the work we've done together and
actually try to avoid all clichés. Moreover, when he told me about Isabelle and, little
by little, about all those big actors, it became a project one has maybe once in a career.
Do you remember the first time you all read the script together?
VP: Patrice was very open... There is something I found quite surprising during the
rehearsal. Patrice was discovering the characters together with us. I mean, he really
waited for the chemistry, which always starts between the actors and their characters. We
revealed to him what he was waiting for, what he was looking for, which were the mistakes
to be avoided. He just works when there is a certain intensity.
In the movie the camera is always very close to the faces and bodies like a
caress. How did that feel?
VP: It's very close to his way of working on stage where he always gets very close to the
actors. Here the camera replaces his eye. It is true that this closeness creates a kind of
tension and a semi-animal relationship. Actually, the camera does not exist. it is Patrice
who is really there.
This is a very prestigious production. Don't you think there is a risk that each
of you will try to protect yourself more in this movie than when you are the only star?
VP: Well, in the movies there are really two families, the Catholics and the Protestants,
and I went through the filming hardly ever meeting Daniel or Jean-Hughes, like a parallel
route; moreover, I entered the movie during St quite strange
Sometimes I'd go
around to see the others filming.
Have you been surprised by the result now that you've seen the finished film?
VP: Patrice has been truthful to what he is, what he loves, what he's worried about, even
though this film is big stuff.
How do you feel about being all together in Cannes?
VP: It is reassuring to be all together.
[With sincere thanks to Cinzia Masina for her French translation]