One To Watch: Marion Cotillard
With an acclaimed and prolific body of work behind her, Academy Award winner and French style icon Marion Cotillard has won the admiration of both audiences and critics alike in recent years. At home in both mainstream and more art-house productions, her work is varied and versatile, never failing to deliver outstanding and memorable performances. 2016 will see her take on the role of French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour in the much-anticipated romantic thriller Allied alongside Brad Pitt and to celebrate the release, we take a look at the multi-talented actresses' rise to movie stardom.
Born to actor parents in Paris 1975, Cotillard grew up in Orléans and began acting as a child, appearing in one of her father's plays. Enrolling as a teenager at Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique d'Orléans, a self-admittedly shy and sometimes sensitive Cotillard discovered a love of acting and upon graduation returned to Paris where she took up a career on the stage.
Minor roles in film and television followed and in 1996 Cotillard won her first leading role in TV film Chloé playing the title role of a teenage runaway who is forced into prostitution. In 1998, she went on to feature in the iconic Taxi, playing Lilly Bertineau, earning a nomination for a César Award for Most Promising Actress and reprising her role in both Taxi II and Taxi III. In 2001, she was again nominated for the prestigious César Award for Most Promising Actress for her role in Pretty Things in which she played twins Lucie and Marie
Big Fish, 2003
In 2003, Hollywood came calling and Cotillard was cast alongside big-screen heavyweights Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Helena Bonham-Carter and Billy Crudup in Tim Burton's Big Fish playing the role of Josephine whose husband is desperately trying to reconcile with a dying father. The film received multiple award nominations including 4 Golden Globe Award nominations, 7 BAFTA nominations and an Oscar nomination for its score, composed by Danny Elfman.
La Vie en Rose, 2007
Cotillard received worldwide recognition for her astounding portrayal of French singer Édith Piaf in the 2007 biopic La Vie en Rose. The film was an unexpected box office hit and Cotillard's performance was recognised by a multitude of awards including a Golden Globe, Best Actress BAFTA, César Award for Best Actress and the much sought after Academy Award for Best Actress, becoming the first woman and second person to win both a César and an Oscar for the same performance, as well as a 15-minute standing ovation at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Public Enemies, 2009
Cotillard went on to star alongside Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in Public Enemies, re-counting the final years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger and his pursuit by FBI agent Melvin Purvis. Proving her versatility, in the same year, Cotillard also took on the role of Luisa Contini in the musical Nine alongside Hollywood A-listers Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and Kate Hudson and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance.
In 2010, Cotillard took on the role of femme fatale Mal Cobb, a projection of Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Dom Cobb's deceased wife in Christopher Nolan's much anticipated film, Inception, also featuring Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine and Ellen Page. She was reunited with director Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 taking on the role of Miranda Tate, later revealed to be the daughter of Batman's adversary Bane, in the final instalment of Nolan's Batman trilogy.
Rust and Bone, 2012
Despite her mainstream success, Cotillard has not forgotten her arthouse roots and frequently appears in independent foreign-language productions. Perhaps best known is her moving performance in the acclaimed French-Belgian romantic drama Rust and Bone in which Cotillard stars as Stéphanie, a whale trainer who suffers a horrific accident and severe depression but is brought back to life by an unexpected love interest, played by Matthias Schoenaerts. In 2014, Cotillard also appeared in Two Days, One Night in which she plays Sandra, a young mother who suffers a nervous breakdown. The film won the Sydney Film Prize at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival and earned Cotillard a second Oscar nod as well as several Best Actress nominations around the world.
Always on the hunt for new challenges, Cotillard recently took on the demanding role of the ambitious and crazed Lady Macbeth alongside Michael Fassbender in the titular role. Widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, the film brought Shakespeare to a modern audience of cinemagoers. Cotillard has recently been re-united with Macbeth director Justin Kurzel and co-star Fassbender taking on the role of Sophia Rikkin in the much-anticipated adaptation of Assassins Creed.
Boxing Day 2016 will see Cotillard in the role of the mesmerising Marianne Beausejour, a French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines in Casablanca during WWII, in Allied, directed by legendary filmmaker Robert Zemeckis. Starring alongside Brad Pitt in the role of intelligence office Max Vatan, the couple are reunited in London where their relationship continues to be threatened by the extreme pressures of war.
When asked about why she chose to audition for the film Marion Cotillard explained 'I love the fact that it felt like a very entertaining thriller and at the same time it felt like a very deep and profound love story. Then, when I heard Bob Zemeckis was on board and Brad Pitt would be playing Max, it was even more exciting to me. Bob is such a visionary director. He's done so many special movies only he could have created, so I felt it would be really cool to be part of a project that is a new genre for him."
'It's a love story basically and I read the script 4 years ago, it was a long time ago, my agent gave it to me, and I thought it was such a beautiful story. Very entertaining and at the same time, super deep and super powerful and I was waiting for it to be made at that time when I read the script," Cotillard continued.
Marion Cotillard loved the costumes in Allied; "Most of the film's I do, I wear terrible clothes. I never had to be a princess, like I do in this movie. All those actresses in those glamorous movies: I was a big fan of Greta Garbo and all this era of movies so I dreamt watching those movies and when we started working with Joanna Johnson and I found that she would make most of the clothes on me. She has this talent, she's an amazing costume designer: we had long conversations about the length and the material which tells a lot about the personality of a character. That's what's amazing about the job of designing clothes for a movie because you can really put little touches of emotion, of feelings, of strength, of depth in the clothes you make. Bob and Joanna have been working together for years and they know each other. She knows exactly what he wats, she knows his sense of glamour and femininity. We had several fittings and I was so happy to see the process of more than just clothes bit emotion and strength and power coming together in such amazing and beautiful outfits she created. That was a great part of the process of getting into the movie."
Outside of an already illustrious acting career, Cotillard was chosen as the face of Dior's bag -Lady Dior' in 2008 and continues to act as a brand ambassador today appearing in a number of campaigns, short films and even a music video for Snapshot in LA, a song she penned and performed especially for Lady Dior's campaign: Enter the Game – Dior Cuise 2015.
Cotillard is also interested in environmental activism and has participated in campaigns for environmental protection, in particular Greenpeace, for whom she has been a member and acted as a spokesperson since 2001.
Allied in cinemas Boxing Day