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THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

A tourist in this town

April 01, 2012|Irene Lacher
  • French actress Audrey Tautou
French actress Audrey Tautou (Jennifer S. Altman / For…)

Gamin French film star Audrey Tatou, 35, who became known to American audiences in the whimsical rom-com "Amelie," crosses the Atlantic again with her latest movie, "Delicacy," about a young widow who finds love again with an unexpected suitor. The film, directed by David and Stephane Foenkinos, opens Friday in Los Angeles.

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You've said that you look for enriching experiences in the roles you choose. How did you find that in "Delicacy"?

I was interested in the joy of the character. It was a challenge for me to do the mourning part. I was interested in the psychological evolution of the character and how things move and how she in a way becomes more a woman. It's something I wanted to try to make it as realistic as possible.

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Your character is a beautiful woman who finds romance with a man other people think isn't good enough for her -- he isn't good-looking or successful enough. Have you in your life felt that people had expectations for who you should be with?

No, I didn't experience it myself, but it's true that it's very common for people to have prejudice about other people. And the movie shows that behind an appearance you can find something much nicer than the costume seems to show. You understand?

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, April 03, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Audrey Tautou: The Sunday Conversation column in the April 1 Calendar section misspelled actress Audrey Tautou's last name as Tatou in the text and in a photo caption.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, April 08, 2012 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part D Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Audrey Tautou: The April 1 Sunday Conversation column misspelled actress' Audrey Tautou's last name as Tatou in the text and in a photo caption.

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You didn't make another American film after "The Da Vinci Code" in 2006, and you're very much anchored in the French film industry. How do you feel about Hollywood?

I really, really adored my experience on "The Da Vinci Code," and to work with [director] Ron [Howard] and [costar] Tom [Hanks] and everybody was great for me and really exotic. But I like working in the French industry because they give me great parts, and I don't feel I would have the desire to live in Hollywood to be able to get parts.

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Why not?

Because I'm very spoiled by French cinema. I would love to come as a tourist and make a movie once in a while, but it doesn't work this way.

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How is it for a French actress in Hollywood? Did you get other offers after "The Da Vinci Code"?

Yes, a few. But I think that to get some offers you really need to show and to express the desire or motivation. I never wanted to have a career in Hollywood, but once in a while I really appreciate to have this kind of experience.

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How do you define success for yourself?

For me, you have success when you have the luxury to be free in your choices and to have the opportunity to get some interesting parts.

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Are there people that you are hoping to work with?

I'm really looking forward to shooting my next movie, which will be directed by Michel Gondry ["Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"]. That will be a very interesting experience, a crazy experience. He's going to have all the possibilities to express his imagination, and he's so creative. When I say creative, it's in a way that is going to be very unusual and a unique experience, I think.

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What's the name of the film?

It's an adaptation of a French novel written by Boris Vian. There's no definitive title, and I'm not sure that the book is translated in English -- "L'ecume Des Jours." L'ecume. It's like "foam."

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Didn't Gondry send you a personal animated invitation to work on this film?

Yes. I received an animation movie that he had made for me one day, when he was proposing me the female part of the story. And it was very charming, poetic and funny. It's difficult to explain because it was kind of psychedelic. It was very original and I was touched that he took the time to ask me in that way.

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When I researched you on the Internet, I didn't see anything current about your personal life. How do you keep your personal life out of the media?

I'm a very discreet performer, and I've never answered any personal questions about my private life.

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Yes, but here, with paparazzi everywhere, they just shoot you.

In France, we don't have the same pressure as America. We have a rule that protects us a tiny bit more. [The media are] not allowed to print pictures about your private life without your authorization. They still do it anyway, of course, but I think it's a little way of not being chased by them. Ten years ago, we had only one tabloid. Now there are eight or 10.

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You've been compared to Audrey Hepburn. Did your parents name you after her?

Yes, it's one of the reasons why my parents named me Audrey.

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You do bear a certain resemblance to her physically and in your personal style. I guess it's a coincidence, isn't it?

Yes, because when I went to Paris to go to theater school, [my parents] were not that happy. I was doing university at the same time, so they weren't too worried, but I think it's worrying for parents when their child says, "I want to become an actress." If I had told them I wanted to become a doctor, I think they would have been less worried. So it's a coincidence. It's very funny.

At the beginning, I really thought there was no relationship, that they didn't name me Audrey because of Audrey Hepburn. So I spent a few years answering journalists, saying, "No, no, there's no relationship." And after a few years, I thought, I should ask them.

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How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

I like to travel and to eat culture.

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You mean consume culture?

Yes. Like I like to go to museums to learn things, to try to draw, to paint, to write, to travel, to play piano.

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calendar@latimes.com

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