The French Dispatch marks the third time Léa Seydoux has labored with Wes Anderson, and it isn’t troublesome to see why she is repeatedly drawn again to the director’s distinct and wittily stylised settings. “I’ve by no means felt that I match within the fashionable world,” she reveals. “I really feel that I come from one other time. As if the time I’m residing in proper now will not be suited to me.”
Seydoux will not be particular about what different time she belongs to, however the vaguely mid-Nineteen Seventies of The French Dispatch’s fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé definitely appears nearly as good a match as any. So too does the character of Simone, a steely jail guard turned nude-modelling artist’s muse. Though the attraction of performing for Anderson, Seydoux explains, is primarily rooted in the truth that, properly, there’s simply no different filmmaker like him.
“He has his personal language and there’s a sure rhythm in his movies that’s incomparable to others,” she says. “It’s very particular. It’s at all times a thrill to work with him. You possibly can really feel the thrill on his units, and it’s not one thing that occurs on each movie. Being on a set with Wes, you understand you’ll expertise an amazing journey.”
Clearly, her belief in Anderson runs deep, because the function of Simone is significantly extra demanding than The Grand Budapest Lodge’s resourceful maid Clotilde (a job that adopted their 2013 Prada business). Taking part in Simone required loads of nudity and, in a single memorable montage, the adoption of various comically troublesome poses. “Yeah, it wasn’t comfy,” Seydoux confirms. “However these photos are like work, and they’re lovely. He’s very visible, Wes. He thinks like a painter. And Simone will not be objectified at that second. You can suppose she is, from Wes’s standpoint, however she has a really robust authority. She presents her nudity and she or he’s at all times in charge of it.”
Simone is a girl who is aware of precisely what she desires — amongst different issues, the achievement of immortality by means of artwork — and will get it. “I can completely relate to that,” Seydoux laughs. “I’ve at all times carried out what I needed.”
Discovering her path
Initially, what Seydoux needed was to be an opera singer, and she or he duly attended the Conservatoire de Paris to pursue that dream. However after deciding she was too shy to make that work, Seydoux moved into performing on the age of 18, attaining her first César nomination (of 4 up to now) solely two years into her movie profession for Christophe Honoré’s 2008 school-set drama The Stunning Particular person.
Regardless of her grandfather Jérome Seydoux being the co-chairman of Pathé and her great-uncle Nicolas Seydoux chairing Gaumont, the actress determinedly solid her personal path, unaided by her household. Even earlier than incomes plaudits worldwide for 2013’s Blue Is The Warmest Color (for which she unprecedentedly as an actor shared the Cannes Palme d’Or together with her co-star Adele Exarchopoulos and the movie’s director Abdellatif Kechiche), Seydoux reached the purpose the place she was as more likely to be seen in a muscular Hollywood image (from Inglourious Basterds to Mission: Unimaginable — Ghost Protocol) as an intimate homegrown drama, corresponding to Arnaud Desplechin’s Deception, or Bruno Dumont’s France (simply two of her 4 movies that performed at Cannes this 12 months, whereas she remoted at her Paris house with asymptomatic Covid-19). However nothing in her profession has shocked her extra, she says, than being requested to play the feminine lead in a Bond film, particularly 2015’s Spectre.
“For me to be a Bond woman was utterly… I wouldn’t say it made no sense, however I did suppose, ‘How will I match into this huge machine?’” she admits. “I prefer to be surprising. I love to do my very own factor. Within the cinematic panorama, I’ve at all times expressed myself in a approach that’s not essentially like different actresses. I’m not an environment friendly actress. My tempo is completely different, and for that motive I’ve at all times felt anti-conventional.”
Given this, she discovered it no much less stunning to be requested to return to the function of Madeleine Swann within the long-delayed finale to the Daniel Craig arc, No Time To Die. But it surely was a better determination this time. In spite of everything, how far more “anti-conventional” are you able to get than a ‘Bond woman’ who’s a mom? “Once they requested me to come back again, I used to be blissful for one motive — this time she will not be stereotyped, and I used to be capable of have extra of my very own enter. So she’s not what you’d anticipate from a Bond woman, and that’s what I like.”
Seydoux returns to the theme of being an outsider: a girl not of this time, who will not be a part of the system, who doesn’t fairly slot in. She fortunately describes herself as melancholic — a top quality she laments is “disappearing within the fashionable world”. There’s definitely a way of existential otherness that pervades her roles: a deftly plied sleepy-eyed mystique, which evidently attracts explicit filmmakers to her. And in flip, she is drawn to a selected kind of filmmaker.
“I like administrators who’re a bit awkward, just a little loopy,” Seydoux says. Like David Cronenberg, maybe, who solid her within the upcoming rework of his 1970 sci-fi shocker Crimes Of The Future? “Sure! I believe I’ve discovered my splendid director,” she laughs. “I cherished working with him. I like the very fact he doesn’t make movies to please the trade. He simply makes the movie that he desires to make. I’m very impressed by individuals who have their very own approach of expression, and who can educate me one thing concerning the world.”
Does it encourage Seydoux sufficient to contemplate directing sooner or later? “Perhaps. Perhaps. I’ve concepts. However I don’t know if I’ve the expertise,” she says. “I’m going to cite Isabelle Huppert. She stated that [through acting] she makes her personal movie within the movie. And I really feel a bit like that.”