She made a name for herself in Hollywood, but has lost none of her reserve. Nor his talent for deconstructing traditional patterns with demanding roles. We find her as a museum curator helping Jewish children in Valiant Hearts.
In the cozy atmosphere of the Pavillon de la Reine, in Paris, Camille Cottin, early in the morning, appears like a tornado, apologizing for being late – five minutes on the clock! She hates that. Out of breath but immediately operational, she settles down at the back of the restaurant and finds her natural reserve. Slender silhouette, hypnotic green eyes – her signature – but shy smile, she launches into the conversation, almost whispering, often hesitant. A personality very far removed from the cheeky characters of the pastille is revealed Bitch or series Ten percent who made him known: “I find it difficult to verbalize things, but as one reads in me like in an open book, one knows immediately what I think.”
Rather than going up to the plate publicly to be indignant, this discreet prefers to do militant work in her artistic choices: significant and strong roles. The latest? That of Rose, a museum curator who hides Jewish children in the Château de Chambord, in the middle of the war. The movie is called Valiant Hearts and is signed Mona Achache. “I read somewhere that the Resistance was not a choice but a responsibility, remarks the actress. I liked this sentence, and it is precisely what the director says in her film: the character of Rose is not a heroic figure at the start, but the context and the circumstances push her to sacrifice herself. It’s her destiny, and she embraces it because she can’t help it. It’s very beautiful about what it says about courage and Resistance.
In video, “Valiant Hearts”, the trailer
A subject that Camille Cottin knows well since she is the granddaughter of a resistance fighter in the army and of a grandfather who had volunteered to do sanitary chores in a camp for the sole purpose of dig a tunnel and escape. The family heritage impresses as much as it questions the transmission of temerity. “I think there were a lot of times when I lacked courage, and I see that strength more as an instinct, a drive in a specific context.”
Among the contemporary fighters who touch her, she cites pell-mell Nasrin Sotoudeh (lawyer specializing in human rights and political prisoner in Iran), Adèle Haenel when she left the Césars room, shocked by the prize awarded to Roman Polanski, or even his friend Camille Chamoux, who vehemently opposed comments made by Alain Finkielkraut on the set of the TV show We are not in bed. “At these times, Adèle and Camille are in perfect agreement with what they feel and ignore the context, the codes and even the consequences, observes Camille Cottin. It’s cathartic to see them in action.”
For her part, the actress was able to dust off the image of women in her own way by playing a homosexual talent agent in Ten percenta powerful businesswoman in Killing Eveor an uninhibited nymphomaniac in Fly – adaptation of flea bag of the renowned Phoebe Waller-Bridge. An enumeration that seems to affect the committed actress. Supporter of the 50/50 collective, which promotes gender equality and sexual and gender diversity in cinema, she founded a feminist production company called Malmö with her friend Shirley Kohn. The two producers stood out recently with the Sista collective and their video “And if we asked the same questions to women and men? », in which we see big French bosses interviewed as women.
Camille Cottin, the cover story
This image of a free figure that Camille Cottin sends back is, according to her, due to her debut on stage: “When I started the theater, I was a little locked up in my body, I didn’t know how to move, the energy was not circulating and my voice was not coming out. I then joined the troupe of the Théâtre du voyageur, in Asnières-sur-Seine, with whom I worked on the masks. This exercise opened doors for me. Becoming protean, using my energy, my raw sensitivity and freeing myself from seduction completely liberated me. The injunction to seduce somewhat hinders the development of women, ”she says.
A freedom that pleased the Anglo-Saxons. Camille Cottin is one of the rare French women to start making a name for herself in Hollywood. She rubbed shoulders with Brad Pitt (twice), Adam Driver, Lady Gaga or Matt Damon. Humble, she prefers to speak of “American experiences” rather than a career, but agrees that the United States “was a dream in the beginning”. Fed by her mother and her stepfather to the films of Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn or Clark Gable, she remains fascinated by the relationship to the very physical acting of American actors, their cross-dressing, their work on accents, the body…
very free education
A fun exercise, certainly, exciting, but despite everything difficult, even for this perfectly bilingual actress, who lived in London as a teenager and gave English lessons to earn a living. Among the difficulties, she remembers that she did not understand the indications given by Ridley Scott behind his mask on the set of House of Gucci, and that Adam Driver, a good comrade, had played the translator. The French also assumes her stage fright: “When I realized that I was going to shoot thirty days alongside Matt Damon in Stillwater, with a lot of face-to-face scenes, I felt monstrous fear, but once on board, you have to dare to own the role. That’s what you expect from an actor.”
Like an athlete, she finds the guts to tame her apprehensions by focusing on the “first impulse,” without prejudging what’s next. The success across the Atlantic of Ten percent helping, Camille Cottin is appreciated abroad. Guest last March on Jimmy Fallon’s cult talk show, the Frenchy passed the passing exam with flying colors and won over the audience by telling in a very friendly way that at the start of the filming of House of GucciLady Gaga, very focused on her character – rival of that of Camille Cottin – had said to her: “You are a beautiful woman, a great actress, but we will not be friends before the end of the film.”
You’re a beautiful woman, a great actress, but we won’t be friends until the end of the film.
After these American and English experiences – she recently performed in London in an opera based on The Handmaid’s Tale (The Scarlet Maid) – the actress slows down, takes the time to watch the work of others and take full care of her children, Léon, 12, and Anna, 7. “I tend to over-worry about them sometimes, and at other times I can completely let go. I adjust according to the signals they send me. It’s a strength to manage to establish a dialogue, and I strongly believe in the power of words with children. »
She says she has trouble with authority because, like her companion – the architect Benjamin Gauthier – she received a very free education. These young parents must both force each other to impose a framework on the house. “The rigor, the constancy, it is to become an adult”, sums up the quadra, who thinks to have kept a lot of things from childhood: “Joy in general, the pleasure of the collective and the taste for new experiences.” At valiant heart nothing impossible.
“Valiant Hearts”, by Mona Achache, with Camille Cottin, Swann Arlaud… Released on May 11.