actress Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy, The English Patient, Four Weddings and a Funeral) has become internationally renowned for
her talent, elegance and commitment to her craft. Never shying away from
challenging roles and determined not to repeat herself, Scott Thomas’ body of
work is an extraordinary collection of acclaimed film, television and theatre
recently completed an additional three films: Lola Doillon’s Sous ton Emprise, Une Alain Corneau’s Femme Parfaite and Gilles Paque Brenner’s Elle
S’appelait Sarah. Fluent
in French and having been a resident of Paris since she was 19, Scott Thomas
has appeared in numerous French films, including Guillame Canet’s Ne le Dis
à Personne (Tell No One) Francis
Veber’s Le Doublure (The
Valet) and Pascal Bonitzer’s Petites Coupures (Small Cuts) that made her well equipped for her
latest film, Catherine Corsini’s Leaving.
you to the project when Catherine Corsini spoke to you of Partir?
Her. I was
immediately attracted by Catherine who is a unique person. She’s a little
extreme. I like her films very much because there is always something strong
and lyrical that takes place. She’s daring and tries many things. She came to
see me and talked to me about an idea she had for a film with me in it. The
story of a woman about my age who experiences something that many women
experience today. I was interested, so she started to write it. What’s more,
the entire undertaking with the crew appealed to me. Not only was there
Catherine, but Fabienne Vonier, the producer, as well. I appreciate her very
much. She has produced some lovely things. And then there was Agnès Godard who
was the chief lighting technician. I wanted to work with these women, to
recount a story with them about this woman who had been suffocated for such a
long time, and who believes she can reinvent the second half of her life.
How would you
define Suzanne’s character?
She is a woman who
takes stock of her life and doesn’t like what she sees. Suzanne is unable to
work because she was busy raising children for a long time. She loves her
husband. He takes care of all her needs. She is well-dressed, has a lovely
house, a nice car and goes on vacation… But her husband is constantly putting
her down. This woman is HIS wife. She belongs to him and she is part of his
social status. When she becomes aware of all this, she suddenly meets this man
who is completely opposite from her husband. He is kind, attentive and simple.
He is a Spanish builder, and just a bit of a crook. The meeting is a revelation
for her. It is linked to her desire and a sexual pleasure she hasn’t
experienced in a long time.
you the most in her character?
Her hope and her
naiveté. She thinks she can change the world, find love again and start from
scratch. She’s even ready to work at a checkout counter register. Her pride
weighs less heavily than her desire and her love. The moment she decides to
leave, nothing can stop her. Not even her children. She feels a bit guilty and
then after, she doesn’t look back. She takes her path. I like that freedom…
Suzanne and Sergi
Lopez’s character are both foreigners in France. Do you think that has an
impact on the story?
Yes, of course.
Both of them feel displaced. In fact, when you live in a foreign country for a
long time, there comes a point when you feel like escaping, to either go home,
or leave for another destination. In this situation, going elsewhere is
scenes particularly frightening for you?
with all the physical scenes. Whether they are violent scenes or love scenes,
it is always complicated. I don’t like doing them or watching them after the
film is completed, but I really like what they show here. It’s a typical story,
but not the way Catherine films it. Every time Suzanne sees her lover, after
they’ve become physically intimate, the only thing we see are crossed arms that
grab at each other. I found that very beautiful… It’s a very sensual film. Just
take a the look at the way she captures nature, the countryside, the seaside…
How would you
describe Catherine as a director?
She is very
instinctive and directive all at once. And also… rather harsh! Frontal, direct,
passionate. But I would work with her again in a heartbeat! She isn’t afraid.
She is demanding and rigorous. If she doesn’t get what she wants, she describes
it with total precision and… one must deliver! Actually, that worked out
perfectly for me because I liked to be pushed into a corner. I look to be
provoked… rather than having someone who’s happy with the first take!
After acting in
Philippe Claudel’s film I’ve Loved You So Long [for which she received a Golden
Globe, the European Best Actress award and the London Film Critics award for
British Actress of the Year] here you are once again in a role of a woman
looking to reinvent her life. Do you think French cinema sees you in this
No, I think these
women are characters that illustrate issues regarding women in my age group!
Each one demonstrates it in their particular manner. And that infamous mid-life
crisis is different for each person.
Up next for Scott
Thomas is Declan Donnellan
and Nick Ormerod’s Bel Ami
opposite an all-star cast including Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci; and Pavel Pawlikowski’s La Femme du 5eme opposite Ethan Hawke to be shot in Paris the summer of 2010.