Adèle Exarchopoulos : « I’m lucky ! »

Cannes 2022: Adele Exarchopoulos, the darling of Cannes

Adèle Exarchopoulos: “The difficult thing about cinema is not showing emotion but the mundane”

The French actress has just released Rien à Foutre, an intimate and realistic story about the need to connect. Led by Bulgari, Adèle shines with her own light and reflects on her steps in the cinema.

Her film debut was risky to say the least. However, it was precisely that leading role, in the controversial and intimate lesbian drama La vie d’Adèle by director Abdellatif Kechiche and alongside Léa Seydoux, that gave Adèle Exarchopolous (Paris, 1993) international projection.

With an intense look and a childish smile, the French actress chooses characters like her, intense and emotional, fragile but brave. The last one she has played is that of Cassandra in Rien à Foutre, a mandatory drama about the world of flight attendants and the need to connect emotionally that, after the pandemic, lands on the screen just in time.

What was the exact moment when you decided to be an actress?
I really never dreamed of being. My parents asked me to choose an extracurricular and I chose improvisation. During a class, a casting director saw me and took me to an audition. I got the job and I remember thinking, “Are people getting paid for this?” I’m still looking for that feeling that comes with telling someone else’s story. My passion stems from a childhood desire rather than a professional choice.

Nine years have passed since the success of La vie d’Adèle. How do you value that experience now with the perspective of the years?
It was a great human and emotional experience. Now I see the opportunities it brought me and the credibility it gave me. At that time it was risky because I had to make the right decisions, but today I have worked enough to appreciate what I got thanks to her.

In fact, the emotional complexity of Adèle’s character is very present in Cassandra, her new role in the film Rien à Foutre. Do you share anything else?
I see the similarities in the filming process and the directors’ perspectives. There is a kind of tenderness in the way they see this generation, a bit of irony, humor and a lot of emotions. We were surrounded by real people, playing real characters, who brought out the naturalness and reality in us. There was no hairdressing and makeup team, the only wardrobe was for the stewardess, and the rest, whatever we had on hand. I was wearing the director’s sweater, a tracksuit of mine and the other director’s sandals.

Was it difficult to interpret it?
The difficulty in playing her was that she never gets attached and I’m the complete opposite. I am much more emotionally dependent. The challenge of playing Cassandra was not being able to fill the void that she found herself in. It’s what I find most difficult in cinema: it’s not showing emotion, doing love scenes or fighting scenes, it’s the mundane. The real things that happen every day.

If she could play any character, which one would she choose?
The gift of this industry is navigating between genres. If I had to pick one type of character, it would be someone from a big sci-fi movie, like X-Men.

What is it and who gave you the best advice to dedicate yourself to the film industry?
It was Christopher Waltz, just after getting the Palme d’Or at Cannes for La vie d’Adèle, he told me: “Work”.

She always makes powerful characters, but what is Adèle like off screen?
I am like them, intense and emotional. It’s hard to define yourself, but I guess the difference is in my simplicity.

She is jealous of her private life, is it possible to combine fame and everyday life?
I try to find a way. I know that many people found out late that I had a son because I would never post anything about him online. We cannot forget that it is a virtual world and most people use it to validate themselves. For me it’s simple: the less they know, the less they can get to you.

You have also made your foray into fashion, what attracts you to it?
For me it is a game of fantasy and mystery. I choose the brands I work with because of what arouses me… Bulgari, because of her family heritage; Fendi for his chic character, or Paco Rabanne, for his sensuality. I also like that diversity of cinema in fashion.

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Adèle Exarchopoulos: “I dived into the underside of low-cost flights”

The actress, revelation of La vie d’Adèle, is dazzling in Rien à foutre, a film currently in theaters which tells the daily life of an airline flight attendant.

Nine years after her Palme d’or obtained at the Cannes Film Festival with Léa Seydoux for La vie d’Adèle, the only Palme d’or in the history of the festival awarded two actresses – and it was Steven Spielberg, then president of the jury, who had made a point of rewarding them -, Adèle Exarchopoulos finds in her latest film, Rien à foutre (currently in theaters), her most significant role. Totally moving and with phenomenal accuracy, it portrays a somewhat lost low-cost airline stewardess, who flees reality – in particular the death of her mother – by multiplying trips, parties and shots. one night.

By immersing us behind a fascinating backdrop, of which until now we only knew the tip of the iceberg, the film imposes itself as a Polaroid of the modern world, that of a certain youth. From Morocco, where she is recharging her batteries before preparing for the Cannes Film Festival, where she will present two new feature films, the actress tells us about the amazing shooting conditions of this film on the borders of the documentary.

We only see you in Rien à foutre. From the first to the last frame, you carry it admirably on your shoulders… Did you expect to have such a presence?
No not at all. For the simple and good reason that Emmanuel Marre, one of the two directors, whom I met first, had been very clear from the start: he did not want to follow a precise scenario but to reinvent everything according to the meetings, having total freedom during filming and improvising a lot… I had seen one of his short films which took a look full of humor and depth at our generation and I had total confidence in him. Just like Julie Lecoustre, her partner, whom I met later.

At first, both were considering giving the role to a real flight attendant. What made them change their tune?
I don’t really know… They actually met hundreds of flight attendants before we found each other. I had also been warned: “It is not certain that you will have the role, perhaps they will find the hostess of their dreams”. And then with Emmanuel, during this meeting, we liked each other… They still asked me to do some tests, in a small hotel room, on the Brussels side, all made up with a hostess costume, to be sure of their shot… He wanted to see how I carried the ritual of loneliness of an air hostess who gets up at dawn, unable to have an emotional life…

You then took training courses. How was this immersion phase?
I left with a low-cost company to do empty legs: Paris Madrid, Madrid London, London Paris… And I dived into the underside of these flights, in terms of preparation, security, pressure of numbers to sell as many products as possible for the passengers… That’s when I started to understand one of the essential elements of the character: this notion of having no hold on the present… One day, we were about to take off and I get a phone call from my young son’s school principal, who usually only calls me when there’s a problem. And there, for 3 hours, in full flight, I realized that I couldn’t do anything for him or for the people I love. I couldn’t talk to him, couldn’t act… We suddenly realize the constraints of this job, and the impact of these on their lives.

There is also this notion of the mask, very present in the film, that these hostesses must display, of perpetual representation… Is there a parallel to be drawn with what you sometimes experience as an actress?
A little yes. In the air, they must disconnect from reality, forget their problems and smile no matter what. Not to mention those passengers convinced that they will soon die and that you must reassure. And with the exception of this last point, when we actresses find ourselves on a promo, we are asked the same thing: to take a certain posture for the photos, to be pretty, with a smile on our lips and also to forget our worry. Moreover, to show you how important the notion of the mask is, I remember that when I became pregnant, after the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival for La vie d’Adèle, I could not find no more roles and I went back to work in my father’s little sandwich stand, where I worked before breaking into the business. And for people, it was just inconceivable that the glamorous actress they knew would sell them popcorn. When they told me that I looked like him, no matter how much I told them that in fact it was me, they were convinced that I was telling them canards: “You say nonsense! Come on, put me some M&M’s with that…”.

The filmmakers mentioned filming sometimes hastily in airports… Concretely, how did it go?
We would arrive in the morning and I would go to the toilets to change and do my make-up… For certain airports, notably that of Dubai, we did not have authorization to shoot. So we pretended that we were doing scenes for a wedding between us. There were a lot of moments stolen or worked on in a hurry.

How does improvisation work?
Already, you need directors who know how to put you at ease enough so that you can completely abandon yourself. And it was. Afterwards, they asked a lot of hostesses or flight attendants to play their own role and it immediately creates something extremely natural. We also shot during real flights where the production had offered passengers to travel for free in exchange for being filmed. As for the party scenes, we were totally embedded in real fiestas. After all, not everything was improvised. We still had a script, with a few key scenes written that had to be respected.

Do you identify with this lost youth portrayed in the film, who only has Instagram or Tinder as a real landmark?
In part, yes, because I know how society works today, where everything is consumed very easily, where we constantly seek everyone’s approval. I practice social networks, Instagram often for my work, and it has very good sides. Afterwards, it’s already starting to scare me for my son. I don’t want him to fall into it too young. However, I am unable to do a Tinder. I’m not judging, I’m sure there are great love stories on that side too, but when it comes to feelings and encounters, networks, it’s not for me.

Last year, Rien à foutre was presented in the Critics’ Week selection at the Cannes Film Festival, where you will be present twice this year, with Fumer fait tousser, by Quentin Dupieux, in the Official Selection, and with Les cinq diables, by Léa Mysius, at the Directors’ Fortnight. Are you rejoicing? Can you tease these two films for us?
Cannes, it all depends on who you share it with. If my best friends are there, Leïla Bekhti, Tahar Rahim, Géraldine Nakache or Jonathan Cohen, I know I’m going to have fun, yes. Afterwards, for the films, I have not yet seen Fumer fait tousser. I only want a small role in it, but it’s still a very wacky film, with a team of fallen superheroes who must go green to tame their fears by telling stories. And Les cinq diables is a fantastic film where I play a young woman who lives with her husband and daughter in a village. And this child has powers allowing her to go back in time through smells and she will notably revisit her mother’s past…

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Adèle Exarchopoulos, What I don’t have

When La Vie d’Adèle revealed her to the world, she was a girl with an instinctive talent. Today, nine years later, she is a conscious and contested actress, an organized mother, a true friend. Yet, she still lacks something.

“I’m looking for my place in the world”. Perhaps, you do not expect these words from an actress who seems to have clear ideas for some time: at 13 she made her debut in the cinema directed by Jane Birkin, at 20 she won the Palme d’Or as the protagonist – together with Léa Seydoux – of La Vie d’Adèle by Abdellatif Kechiche and today, 28, has a list of upcoming films worthy of a seasoned diva. For sure, Adèle Exarchopoulos, big black Maria Callas eyes that betray her grandfather’s Greek origins and her hair tied up in a high bun, grew up quickly. Like the character she plays in Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre’s Rien à Foutre. Cassandre is a flight attendant in a low budget airline; desperately alone, she has a wild life, she loves to have fun and hides behind the Tinder Carpe Diem profile; her vague dream is to move to Emirates. One morning she arrives late for work and is stuck for the first time in the same city for a few days, which forces her to deal with the emptiness of her existence and an important bereavement.

What do the roles you choose have in common?
These are usually independent women who make mistakes. Humanity is imperfect, and I don’t like clichés.

She quickly achieved impressive milestones and awards.
I continue to live in situations that I never even imagined possible.

How much has she had to fight?
The job came suddenly and by chance, at a time when I was afraid of leaving school, which wasn’t exactly my forte. I have known the disappointment of being rejected at the casting and of being considered a second choice. Everyone has their battles to fight, growing up means choosing which ones to spend their energies on.

Growing up also means finding your place in the world. She said she’s still chasing it…
I started acting very early, at 17 I was already living alone and at 23 I had Ismaël (from rapper Morgan Frémont, aka Doums) while friends went to parties to get drunk until dawn. Regardless of the goals, I often had to look for my space and the sense of what I was doing, because it was not suitable for my age or my generation.

Did she feel older, more adult?
In my choices, but not in my head, so much so that I have never experienced a moment in which I perceived them consistent with the environment I was in.

Are you quick to change course?
I have good instincts and, above all, true friends. If I tell a few lies, one of them will think to tell me: “you are bullshit, go further!”

A wrong course?
Nostalgia: sometimes you share something very intense with someone who suddenly doesn’t seem to exist anymore and it is useless to insist.

Do you tend to slide into the past?
I’m not the type of person who falls into depression. I face my emotions. And even when it’s hard, I get back on track, I try to keep myself in the flow of things.

You had troubled romantic relationships. After she ended up with Ismaël’s father, she was linked to actor Jérémie Laheurte for three years. Is love complicated?
Sentimental ties imply dependence, weakness, contradiction, passion: it is not easy to manage these emotions. As much as I am autonomous in working decisions, as much as I must have firmly established my emotional references.

What mother is she?
I’m very organized, but my job has several privileges: I don’t have to break my back to support four children, I mean. I try to keep Ismaël in the rhythm of my day while respecting his.

You have a long list of films in post-production. What project are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished shooting a bright film on ‘reconstructive justice’, which tells how one can recompose one’s life after the worst experiences.

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Adèle Exarchopoulos as a disillusioned air hostess in ‘Rien à Foutre’

She really is not cold in the eyes! For her first Belgian film, Rien à Foutre, Adèle Exarchopoulos (La Vie d’Adèle) embarked on an all-terrain shoot on the iPhone, surrounded by real air hostesses inspiring her role . A touching performance, describing the disenchantment of an entire generation.

How did you hear about directors Emmanuel Marre and Julie Lecoustre?
My agent told me that young Belgian directors wanted to meet me. Manu told me about the project and at this stage, it was already the story of a girl who lost her mother, and who will flee her grief by choosing to become a flight attendant, while nurturing this life false illusions. The film was going to talk about the masks we put on, the fantasies we draw to protect ourselves. But he didn’t have the ending, nor a real script, and wanted to shoot only with non-professionals. He looks at me and asks me: ‘Does that ring a bell? I said, ‘Serious, but please let me read something’. Leaving away from my son without a hitch, at that time, was a tough decision. And there he made me read a super successful scenario, but really badass… He was ready for his text! In fact, Manu did not want it to stay frozen. And it is true that we have completely moved away from it.

You talk about loneliness and masks. Experience as an actress?
It’s a job that can make you alone, because there is always a risk of dissociation between what people expect of you and what you become. Smile, dress like that, be nice but mysterious please… And then we can get lost in privileges too. The first time I came to the Cannes Film Festival, I was shocked to see that Coke was free (laughs). Or when it said ‘wolf’ in the restaurant menu, I didn’t understand that we were talking about a fish. It’s stupid but I don’t want to lose this carelessness. Nor the excitement of knowing that I am doing what I love, and that I receive totally outsized recognition. But I think I’m on the right track. Typically, here we are on a beach in Cannes, but then I go to a house thirty minutes from here where people I love are waiting for me. There are even friends who have gone upstairs and who sleep in my room. In my job or elsewhere, what matters is the people you share things with.

Does your character sum up a generation?
Absoutely. The film confronts a desire for revolution with a total abandonment of the convictions that can lead to it. He describes this desire to be perhaps too independent, as when Cassandre refuses to pool her sales earnings with the other hostesses. It’s a girl who abandons the collective. She flees that, in particular by immersing herself in her phone. Manu and Julie really succeeded in describing a current reality. Recognition is digital today, we no longer see smiles the same way, we no longer really look at the people or the situations around us. And I do not exclude myself from the observation.

You have worked with real air hostesses…
Several, yes. The immersion was therefore perfect, and we spent a lot of time together. They started explaining to me how I had to wear make-up or dress to respect the codes, how long they woke up before departure, how this rhythm completely changes your life… These people make four flights a day, at a moment it becomes hard to keep a grip on the ground.

And the filming was pretty rock’n’roll, right?
The device was actually super light. There were five of us on set, it really looked like a documentary! We shot on the iPhone without permission in airports, I was doing my makeup on my own like a grown-up… So yes, it was rock’n’roll, but super positive.

Our review of Rien à Foutre:
Everything is KO, next! Cassandre thinks she has chosen a dream life by working for a low-cost company that sends her into the sky four times a day. The sun, the party, the meetings… Cassandre continues at full speed, and soon absorbs the competitive foundations of her sector. Share your profits with the other hostesses? What next ! Support the unions? Just quit right away! But it is not because she has understood the rules of the game that she will find her account, and soon the question arises: by dint of losing her soul, who can help her? With its provocative title and its world of Ryanair-style travel, ‘Rien à foutre’ has the intelligence to tell us about a world that we all know, but that we never see on screen: paradise. low-cost, its attractiveness, and its quirks. With her jaded look and melancholy eyes, Adèle Exarchopoulos impresses by summarizing the paradoxes of a generation fed on capitalism. The sloppy image of the film will discourage some, but what a striking force! 4/5

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Adèle Exarchopoulos: “I had not experienced such freedom since ‘La Vie d’Adèle'”

On the occasion of the release of Rien à Foutre, meeting with Adèle Exarchopoulos, an anti-star in burgundy Nike jogging accompanied by her couple of directors, Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre.

To what extent did you recognize yourself in the character of Cassandra?
Adèle Exarchopoulos – In a form of disenchantment with the fact that today everything is consumed very quickly, whether it is physical, feelings, work. We let ourselves go less, we look less for the meaning of things, it’s very chaotic. In Cassandra’s disenchantment and despite her desire for life following a bereavement, I was able to recognize my generation.

How did this filming, carried out almost in a hurry in the middle of Covid, go?
A.E. – For me, who is not very academic, the aviation probation was difficult, having to smoke in the toilets, eat the food from the plane. I was afraid that I would not pass the moment of the security demo. We didn’t really have filming authorization in the airports and stopovers we were going through, I sometimes had to change in the toilet between scenes. But even in difficult times we laughed, it was really a common adventure.

Julie Lecoustre – We shot both in very standardized framed places such as airports and planes. For the extras, we had offered a free round trip Paris/Barcelona to people. So they were real passengers in full flight.

Emmanuel Marre – In Dubai, we shot without authorization. Adele changed in airport toilets between shots sometimes to make plans in the middle of people. The party scenes are also very realistic. It creates an energy of acting that is not tenable throughout the film but which recalls at certain moments the necessary urgency of the state of play, which we find in real life.

This title Rien à Foutre, does it have to do with an anarchic gesture?
E.M. – For us, it has to do with freedom of expression. There is a total privatization of public space, through brands, advertising, sometimes architecture. If you start asking for permissions, you hardly have the right to film people’s lives anymore, or only from one angle. However, it must be remembered that freedom of expression gives us the right to legally film a brand, as long as it is not denigrated. In Dubai, we shot with a small camera, but there the bloggers or influencers were four times more professional than us! They had an impossible gear. He should therefore have no problem shooting with the means of the cinema.

In the film, Cassandra’s body is constantly checked, to conform to her job in the company. Would you draw a parallel with the place of women’s bodies in society today?
A.E. – Beyond the body, which I was not necessarily aware of, it was more the work on a form of mask that interested me. When we met flight attendants with Emmanuel and Julie, what came up a lot was the outfit, the diction, the posture, the make-up, the costume which becomes almost political. When you’re in the air as a passenger, you’re not really aware of it, but when it’s your job, to be in the air disconnected from reality and no longer have a hold on your present, and to have to often reassuring half of the passengers who are often very anxious since we still have a chance of dying, it is more the question of the mask that is essential. It’s something I can also feel with a smaller measure on sale, but not so much considering how I came dressed today! But here it is, it is true that we are constantly asked for a posture. Me, it’s going to bother me more in what I’m sometimes asked to answer in an interview than on a red carpet where it’s fun to play the game, I completely manage to have some distance with that. When I look at a Zendaya or a Jane Campion, they play along too. This mask still makes us look at each other without really asking ourselves what we are going through.

J.L. – Among air hostesses, the sexualization of the body is very marked. The uniforms, particularly in the low-cost companies, are super tight, they have to wear a certain shade of lipstick coordinated with the color of the nails, they have hairstyles, regulation earrings. There is a whole imagination around the air hostess, and at the same time it was also for us to show that in the character of Cassandre there is this duality of the mask as Adèle said, of the armor almost . We also see this implicitly, because apart from her job Cassandre does not wear makeup, appearance is not at all an immediate issue in her relationship with others. We worked with the costume designer on things that were quite vague, quite large outside of the hostess outfit. He is a character who has a sexuality but who we decided not to sexualize.

E.M. – In her personal life, Cassandre has freedom with her body. When she doesn’t want to wax, she doesn’t wax. But in the company, there, there is real violence. Our idea was to show that the uniform is violence. The real violence is when she goes to the job interview and is asked at the end what her reaction should be if a passenger behaves inappropriately. She knows that you should never say no, it’s almost like prostitution. That is a violence a thousand times greater than the question of representation.

The film is ultra-realistic. How much improvisation?
A.E. – The job interview was written and the narrative arcs too of course but everything else is improvisation. What I can say is the first time my parents have liked a movie I’m in and are proud of me. But there are as many things about me as there are not in Cassandra.

The end of the film switches to a somewhat difficult return to the family in a small town near Liège. Would you say that one of the common threads of the film is also the difficulty of attachment to others today?
E.M. – Cassandra’s attachment disorder is the heart of the film. This is what we discovered while making the film. What are we attached to? To his work, to his friends? The film explores places of attachment and detachment too. Cassandre must relearn how to attach herself. The return home is also a common place in cinema, in a place where we did not know if Cassandre was right to return or not. At the same time she finds something but when she comes back to it she discovers that she does not necessarily belong there. But in the world of airports that we describe, where everything is a bit of a non-place, it was important to echo a “super-place” that only those who live there know. The attachment is very strong between the father and his daughters, when he speaks to them about their birth it brings out something fundamental, it is what attaches us fundamentally.

In the film, Cassandre is very taken by social networks. What role do they play in your life Adele?
A.E. – I would be a huge liar to tell you that they have no role for me. Despite everything, it’s a game we’ve all fallen into either out of unhealthy curiosity or political conscience, there are a thousand reasons and I don’t even know if there are good ones or not. I practice the networks but it really scares me for my child, the fact of spying on people’s lives and thinking that it comes down to these beautiful moments on Instagram. I use it a lot for work and it has very good sides, freedom of speech, expression, images. To speak concretely, the images of the death of George Floyd have made police violence undeniable. There was no longer any doubt. Networks are therefore sometimes essential, but it is also a little destructive on private lives on a daily basis because it remains an illusion. I manage to have some distance because I am self-deprecating, but half of the photos I post where I am obviously made up, retouched, dressed in outfits that do not belong to me, I am well aware that I am in my bed awful and exhausted when I post them! It makes me laugh as much as it worries me.

You were born in the cinema in the film by Abdellatif Kechiche. Can we see a common thread between your character in La vie d’Adèle and that of Cassandre in Rien à Foutre?
A.E. – Adèle’s life is about discovering the first times, there is disenchantment but also an enormous attachment. When you love for the first time you really believe that you are going to die. The link I would make between the two films is the space of freedom on set. I had not experienced such freedom since the experience of La vie d’Adèle, thanks to this strength that Emmanuel and Julie have to put us in completely real conditions. Of course there was a script but they were only afraid that it would be fixed, conventional, they wanted to reinvent the script during filming.

How do you choose your roles Adele?
A.E. – There are no criteria but sometimes desires. For example the desire to make a comedy but it is rarely at these times that it falls. For me the choice is very instinctive. It is linked to a meeting, a reading. Choosing a film is a bit like a love story, I want to be part of the adventure. It may be an encounter with a role, a filmmaker, a scenario. To be honest, the few times I wanted to be strategic I very quickly regretted it. To be in the right place, you have to listen to yourself.

Did filming with a male-female director couple bring a form of equality to the set?
A.E. – There is never a complete tie on a set. Julie and Emmanuel are two very different animals even if their sensitivity is the same. It was the first time I worked with a duo, I loved it. But the real subject of the film is the question of the masks that we wear without knowing what the people behind them are really going through.

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5 express questions to Adèle before the César 2022

Her first visit dates back only to 2014, however, today, Adèle Exarchopoulos is a familiar face to the Césars. A true style icon for her time, the young actress likes to dress up. Tonight, she is wearing a breathtaking Paco Rabanne dress. Exclusively, she answered our questions a few hours before the big ceremony. Nominated for the César for best actress in a supporting role, Adèle Exarchopoulos takes advantage of this unique moment, without pressure.

How do you feel a few minutes before the ceremony? Always a pleasure to go to this high mass?
I feel lucky, and I feel surrounded by people I love so that’s the main thing.

Is it a perilous exercise to define your outfit for the Césars? Are there any prohibited clothes?
Not when working with Leila Boumedjane, who is my stylist. Yes, I suppose there are less advisable clothes. You will have to ask her (laughs). I don’t really care.

Why did you choose to wear Paco Rabanne tonight?
Because it’s a classy, elegant brand that I really like. I have a high regard for its artistic director, Julien Dossena. He is also my friend.

How do you feel when you’re dressed as Paco Rabanne?
A feeling of femininity. And elegance.

What can we wish you? We imagine leaving with the precious statuette…
What can you wish me? That whatever happens, there are the same people who are in my room as when I left it.

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‘Mandibules’ Press Conference at 77th Venice Film Festival

“Je sais que je ne suis pas du tout ce que je dégage” pour L’Officiel Paris

C’est une rentrée intense pour l’une des actrices les plus observées du cinéma français. Avant d’enchaîner plusieurs tournages, elle se confie à nous et révèle son envie de défendre des personnages qui lui ouvrent de nouveaux horizons.

L’année a déjà bien commencé. À 25 ans, Adèle Exarchopoulos est revenue en compétition à Cannes, six ans après la Palme d’or obtenue pour La Vie d’Adèle. Dans Sibyl de Justine Triet, sorti au printemps dernier, elle hisse sa performance au niveau de celles de ses modèles au cinéma : Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon, Béatrice Dalle et Kate Winslet. L’année 2019 la verra aussi aborder pour la première fois le genre de la comédie avec Mandibules de Quentin Dupieux. Ce sera une fantaisie surréaliste et ambitieuse, où l’imaginaire visuel prodigue à l’élan comique une force explosive. Pour l’actrice, l’avenir, c’est maintenant.

En parallèle à votre carrière au cinéma, vous avez toujours entretenu un intérêt sincère pour la mode…
Je n’y avais pas accès avant de faire du cinéma. Désormais, poser, mais aussi pouvoir assister aux défilés, comprendre ce qu’ils représentent, tout l’artisanat en coulisses, ça me passionne. Il y a une image à incarner, et surtout à manier en trouvant la bonne distance, voire un peu d’humour. Sinon, on peut vite se laisser travestir et devenir lisse. J’ai donc appris, lors des shootings, à être moi-même à travers les univers que je suis chargée d’incarner.

Vous entretenez même de grandes amitiés dans ce milieu…
Oui, Camille Seydoux m’habille depuis le Festival de Cannes en 2013 et la Palme d’or pour La Vie d’Adèle. Je me souviens, je n’avais absolument rien à me mettre, j’étais sur le tournage d’un autre film, je dormais dans un hôtel Ibis et soudain on m’a dit: “Il faut aller à Cannes”. Personne ne me connaissait, j’avais 19 ans et j’ai demandé à Camille (la sœur de Léa Seydoux, ndlr) de m’aider. Je suis émue parce que depuis, je sais que je peux l’appeler, j’ai la chance de la savoir à côté de moi, dès qu’un nouveau projet se présente.

Cette année, au cinéma, vous n’avez jamais eu autant de projets.
Il y a notamment Bac Nord de Cédric Jimenez. C’est un polar tourné à Marseille qui évoque aussi bien la criminalité galopante que l’obligation aux résultats à laquelle sont soumis les policiers, jusqu’au jour où le système judiciaire se retourne contre eux.

Dans un virage à 180 degrés, il y aura aussi Mandibules de Quentin Dupieux.
C’est vrai que la comédie est un genre dont j’ai énormément envie, mais qui me fait peur aussi. Cela dit, la peur et l’urgence me motivent. J’ai envie d’aller vers ce que je ne connais pas, d’autant plus qu’en France, on vous stigmatise très vite. Si tu fais trois films d’auteur dédiés aux thématiques sociales, tu deviens indissociable de ce cinéma-là. Alors, réussir à accepter les règles du jeu, pour mieux savoir les contourner et ne pas être cataloguée, ce n’est pas évident. On m’a d’ailleurs souvent posé des questions à propos de la comédie, en présupposant qu’elle ne me convenait pas. Je vénère Ken Loach, certes, mais j’adore aussi Jim Carrey.

On vous verra enfin dans Revenir, un premier long-métrage de Jessica Palud qui vient d’être sélectionné à la prochaine Mostra de Venise.
J’y joue une veuve. Surtout, je l’ai tourné avec un enfant dont c’est le premier film. J’adore cette magie des enfants ou des non-professionnels. Il y a une liberté et un instinct qui évidemment se perdent, une fois qu’on se met à tout intellectualiser. En tout cas, c’est la première fois que je joue une maman.

Votre perception des rôles qu’on vous propose a-t-elle changé depuis que vous êtes devenue mère ?
Pas précisément, mais forcément je juge moins, j’ai revu mon sens des priorités et reconsidéré l’importance de la transmission. Bon, ça sonne un peu cucul, mais c’est vrai ! Maintenant, je ne lis pas chaque nouveau scénario à l’aune de ma maternité, mais elle me nourrit certainement, d’une façon ou d’une autre.

Y a-t-il des rôles qu’on ne vous propose jamais ?
J’aimerais jouer moins les ingénues, aller davantage vers les films d’épouvante ou les films futuristes. Dans tous les cas, j’aime les imperfections d’un rôle, tout ce qui ouvre le débat. On aime aussi les autres pour leurs imperfections, même si lors des conflits, on affirme toujours: “J’aimerais bien que tu changes ci et ça.” Aimerait-on autant les autres sans leur part de noirceur ?

Vous semblez être assez sélective dans votre carrière.
À quoi bon se presser ? J’ai trop eu le sentiment qu’on m’attendait au tournant pour ne pas prendre mon temps. Je grandis à travers mes choix. Alors, même si je viens d’enchaîner les castings, ce que j’adore parce qu’on n’y parle du personnage et pas d’autre chose, comme de l’ego ou du salaire, une carrière se construit bien souvent sur des refus. D’ailleurs, quand j’ai trop de doutes, je préfère renoncer.

Regardez-vous les films dans lesquels vous jouez ?
Oui, mais uniquement pour les défendre ensuite durant la promo, pas pour m’admirer.

Avez-vous le sentiment de jouer avec votre image ?
Quand j’arrive sur un film, je m’abandonne totalement au personnage. Je ne me pose pas trop la question de mon image, d’autant qu’on ne peut pas empêcher les malentendus. Je sais qu’avec mes formes et ma grosse bouche, je suis considérée comme une femme sensuelle, alors que je pense être assez pudique. En fait, mon image, je la laisse complètement appartenir, non pas au metteur en scène, mais à la vision qu’il a de mon personnage. Je sais que je ne suis pas du tout ce que je dégage.

Vous appréciez même les vrais rôles de composition.
Oui, dans le biopic sur Rudolf Noureev réalisé par Ralph Fiennes, mon personnage s’éloignait beaucoup de moi, avec sa prestance et sa coupe au carré très sage. J’ai fait énormément de barre au sol afin de travailler sa posture distinguée. Si ça passe par le corps, ça me plaît, je n’aime pas trop intellectualiser, je préfère le concret. Un rôle comporte forcément une part d’insoupçonné mais là, je voulais voir si j’en étais capable. Je me suis demandé si je réussirais à être élégante, car je sais qu’on me reproche ma nonchalance, ma diction. J’aimerais aussi faire une voix dans un Disney : ça me pose plein de questions et ça me sort de mon quant à soi.

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Quand Adèle (Haenel) rencontre Adèle (Exarchopoulos)

Adèle Exarchopoulos et Adèle Haenel : deux actrices habitées et singulières tournent pour la première fois ensemble. Une occasion rêvée pour affronter leurs imaginaires de jeunes femmes libres, entières et insoumises.

La came à portée de main, clopes et chocolat, rien que du légal, les deux Adèle sont en promo pour Orpheline. Elles y jouent le même personnage à des âges différents. Le film réussit le test de Bechdel haut la main : y figurent plus de deux personnages féminins, qui se parlent et parlent d’autre chose que des hommes. Le rôle politique d’une actrice ? Ça passe aussi par le choix de ses films, nous disent-elles d’une seule voix.

Adèle Exarchopoulos et Adèle Haenel confirment qu’elles ne jouent pas n’importe quoi n’importe comment : dans leurs films, de La vie d’Adèle (Adèle E.) aux Combattants (Adèle H.), ces deux actrices font valser le corset d’une féminité répertoriée, d’une hétéronormalité faisandée. Aujourd’hui, c’est la première fois qu’elles passent du temps l’une avec l’autre ; sur ce film, elles n’ont pas joué ensemble. Et entre la cérébralité têtue d’Haenel et la sensualité brute d’Exarchopoulos, ça matche.

Telles des adolescentes collées un samedi après-midi, attendant que la sonnerie les libère, elles se passent une clope, comme pour faire front commun face aux emmerdements de l’interview. En sweat à capuche et morgue affichée, elles se reconnaissent.

Sur cette photo, vous avez l’air vraiment complices. Auriez-vous pu la faire si vous vous détestiez ?
Adèle Exarchopoulos: Non, je n’aurais pas pu poser avec quelqu’un qui m’a fait du mal ou à qui j’en veux. Si je t’avais détestée, j’aurais pas pu.
Adèle Haenel : Ouais ? On l’aurait fait parce qu’on est obligé. Au début je râle, et au final je dis oui. Y a un moment, faut se tenir. On vit en société…
A.E. : Moi, je sais pas me tenir.
A.H. : Moi non plus. Ah, ah !

Ce film, réalisé par un homme, est une exception dans la mesure où il donne la parole aux femmes, et presque seulement à elles. C’est un film féministe ?
A.E. : Je pense pas. J’ai un problème avec les délires féministes. J’ai pas lu le scénario en me disant : « Ah, ben voilà ! Ce film parle de liberté, de tolérance par rapport à des choix. Je me demande si les gens vont juger cette femme sur sa sexualité, sur sa fuite. »
A.H. : Ah, moi, je me revendique féministe. Ce film met en scène des femmes sans poser de jugement masculin sur elles, et en ça il participe au féminisme. Une femme cherche sa voie avec la féminité, et les hommes se débattent avec la virilité.

Beaucoup d’actrices ne supporteraient pas de se laisser filmer à leur désavantage.
A.E. : Les boutons, c’est les miens, même pas du maquillage. T’arrives à accepter ça, Adèle ? Ce moment où tu te sens hyper mal à l’aise, vulnérable, moche, dans un film, et quand tu n’es pas à la bonne distance ?
A.H. : C’est très détestable. Mais ce qui est pratique, au cinéma, contrairement au théâtre, c’est que tu peux t’investir complètement en ne te posant pas la question de la gueule que tu vas avoir. Ton taf, au moment où tu tournes, c’est de… comment dire ?

Ton taf, c’est de lâcher ?
A.H. : Si tu voyais tout de suite le résultat, tu ne le ferais peut-être pas. On tourne, et on a un film un an plus tard. La première partie du travail, c’est de jouer. La deuxième – détachée de la première –, c’est d’assumer. Et tu te rends compte que les gens t’aiment pour ce que tu es, et pas pour ce que tu voudrais être. Bien sûr, ils voient ce que tu voudrais être, et à quel point tu n’y es pas. C’est une meilleure façon d’être aimée, même si c’est par moins de gens.

Ils n’y arrivent pas vraiment.
A.H. : Ils ne sont pas moralement mauvais, ils sont juste usés par la vie, par le temps d’une vie. Le film parle de ça aussi.
A.E. : J’aime bien le regard d’Arnaud (des Pallières, ndlr) sur les femmes, sur les actrices. Je l’entendais, quand il nous dirigeait, il aime les femmes pour leurs failles, leurs imperfections aussi.

Quelles imperfections ?
A.E. : Des imperfections physiques, par exemple. Moi j’ai une peau immonde pendant tout le film.
A.H. : La perfection, aujourd’hui, c’est les pubs pour les rasoirs. Les filles, elles n’ont pas un gramme de trop, elles sont retouchées vingt-cinq fois. C’est pas ça aimer les gens. Jean Genet a écrit un truc sur Rembrandt : quand il peint sa mère, il peint la vieillesse de sa mère, son trajet de vie… C’est ce que veut dire Adèle, je pense. On aime les gens pour la vie qui les traverse, pas juste un idéal de beauté plastique, figé, destiné à vendre des rasoirs et des maisons à Marne-la-Vallée.
A.E. : Dans le couple, on est toujours là à se reprocher des choses. Un jour je me suis demandé : « Si mon mec changeait, est-ce que ça me dérangerait ? Est-ce que finalement je ne l’aime pas pour ses défauts ? » La réponse est oui. Je l’aime aussi profondément pour ses défauts.

Dans le film, le personnage interprété par Nicolas Duvauchelle tabasse sa fille de 13 ans. Une écrivaine m’avait dit un jour que les pères frappent leur fille pour les punir de ne pas pouvoir coucher avec elle. Qu’en pensez-vous ?
A.H. : Ah ouais ?
A.E. : Moi je ne vois rien de sexuel là-dedans, peut-être parce que j’y connais rien. C’est plus une façon très maladroite et inexcusable d’aimer. Le nombre de bleus sur quelqu’un peut être comparé au nombre de bisous que cette personne aurait pu recevoir. Tu associes les coups à l’amour. Il y a une frontière hyper-fine entre haine et amour. J’ai fait des ateliers en prison : le nombre de crimes passionnels, de meufs dont le casier était vierge et qui ont plongé… Je le comprends. Un dérapage c’est horrible, mais je comprends. Une fois de plus, sans excuser. Après, quelqu’un qui se lève tous les matins et pète la gueule à sa fille, c’est différent.

Adèle H. ?
A.H. : Il y a une forme de lâcheté dans la violence. Péter la gueule à quelqu’un, c’est le chemin le plus direct pour exister. Ça dit une absence d’effort dans la construction de soi. Tu compenses par la violence que tu vas infliger à quelqu’un. Il me semble que c’est plus souvent une violence des hommes envers les femmes que l’inverse.

Tu n’as pas l’air d’accord, Adèle E.
A.E. : Les femmes violentes avec les hommes, ça existe aussi, on en parle beaucoup moins. Et on ne peut pas généraliser : chaque situation, dans un couple, une famille, a sa complexité.
A.H. : Ça se passe quand même plus souvent dans l’autre sens. Bon, après, il y a des vies écrasées, qui du coup en écrasent d’autres.

Vous vous êtes déjà fait taper ?
A.H. : Tu crois qu’on va dire ça dans Marie Claire ?

Pourquoi pas ?
A.H. : Non, notre vie personnelle ça ne regarde pas Marie Claire.

OK. Pensez-vous que cette jeune fille, le personnage du film, qui couche avec des hommes plus vieux, est en quête d’amour ?
A.E. : C’est aussi une quête de soi. Nous, les femmes, on aborde le sexe de manière plus cérébrale. Ça ne nous empêche pas du tout de prendre du plaisir.
A.H. : Ce personnage connaît des mues successives d’identités, c’est comme ça que je vois l’histoire. Comment tu te dépouilles, au travers des âges de ta vie, du concept même d’identité. Pour devenir plus fluide et vivre plus sincèrement. Plutôt qu’une quête d’amour, on a à faire le deuil de sa propre naissance. A partir du moment où tu nais, tu n’es plus tout. Tu es un petit morceau, et tu travailles ce morceau.

Adèle H., tu as dit un jour : « Exister demande une sacrée dose de combat. »
A.H. : Oui, on est écrasé par les injonctions. Il faudrait être comme ci ou comme ça. En fonction d’où tu es né, de ta couleur de peau, de ton orientation sexuelle, de ton sexe…, j’assimile ça à de la fausse vie, de la vie plate, sans intérêt. Moi c’est là où j’envoie chier tout le monde, et où l’acte d’exister devient une résistance. Donc on peut appeler ça un petit combat. Regarde la honte que représente la transgression. Ça fait toujours peur.
A.E. : Il y a le combat contre soi-même aussi. C’est le combat le plus dur dans la vie. Tu as du mal à aimer qui tu es ?
A.H. : Oui, grave. Comme tout le monde, non ?

Tu ne ressens pas ça, Adèle H.?
A.H. : Si, mais je trouve qu’on est trop absorbé par nous-même. A l’inverse d’Adèle, la théorie m’aide vachement. Ça m’ouvre des horizons. Je me confronte à des livres, aux pensées d’autres gens. Ça fait un appel d’air, et j’arrête de tourner autour de mon nombril, de me poser en permanence la question de qui je suis. Et je m’en fous un peu plus, tu vois ?

Pourquoi vous a-t-on appelées Adèle ?
A.E. : Le soir où ma mère a perdu les eaux, mon père était en train de boire une bière Adelscott. Le choix est donc venu de ce qu’il y avait au bar.
A.H. : Parce que mes parents aimaient bien ce prénom. Et à cause d’Adèle Blanc-Sec.

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(Video) March 27 – Télérama