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AT THE MOVIES

British reserve -- and French passion

The British actress has a movie coming out about French Jews in 1942 and is starring on London's West End in 'Betrayal.'

July 21, 2011|Geoff Boucher

"When I was making big movies and was 'a star,' I felt almost afraid of audiences, I felt very defensive and it was always 'Love me, love me, love me,' but that turns into other things," Scott Thomas said. "People see you on such a big screen or they see you in their living rooms and for many of them it creates a weird, ambivalent relationship with you as an actual person. You go into a shop and ask for something and they just stare at you with their mouth open. You can't get anything done!"

The star power remains in many ways, although Scott Thomas is now best described as an actor's actor. "She is amazing to work with," said Gilles Paquet-Brenner, the director of "Sarah's Key." "She does amazing work and just brings an authenticity to every moment. I feel like she could do my job probably better than I could. In this movie, though, she is perfect for this role. No one else could play this -- a woman living in France in this way -- the way Kristin can do it."

Scott Thomas has become a major presence in French cinema -- "She belongs to France now," is how Paquet-Brenner puts it -- and not only does she enjoy the nuances of the language, she also welcomes the vivid female roles she finds on the pages of American and British scripts.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, July 23, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
Kristin Scott Thomas: An article in the July 21 Calendar section about Kristin Scott Thomas said the actress welcomes the vivid female roles she finds on the pages of American and British scripts. It should have said she welcomes the vivid female roles she finds in French scripts.

"The French scripts have these slightly loopy women -- it's much more fun than just standing there on screen and being arch and bitter," Scott Thomas said. "I don't want to be bitter on screen. I'm bored with it. I don't want [the marquee of my] career retrospective to be 'The Cinema of Bitterness.' 'The 'Cinema of Regret,' maybe, but not bitterness. There's something about the way Anglo Saxons look at women my age. There's something about faded beauty and regret in all of the roles. There are no roles for women my age that are like, 'Bring it on!' "

--

geoff.boucher@latimes.com

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