Exclusive interview: Nathalie Baye on the ‘luck’ of French actresses
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Legendary French actress Nathalie Baye has a new film, "De vrais mensonges", coming out this week. France24.com sat down with her to talk about her favourite roles, life as an actress “of a certain age”, and her upcoming projects.
FRANCE 24: Which one of your roles has had the biggest impact on you?
Nathalie Baye: I’ve been lucky to make a lot of films, to work with very talented directors. But it was the first movie I made, “Day for Night” by François Truffaut, that allowed me to discover cinema and made me love cinema. I was working toward a career in theatre rather than in film. But with Truffaut, working on a story about a film shoot, it was magical. It was a very important moment in my career. That said, a career is something that is built little by little. It’s like a puzzle, with new pieces added to older ones. There is not one role that will forever be the most important role of my life. It’s an ensemble of work.
FRANCE 24: In the US, lead roles for actresses over 40 years-old are few and far between. How do you find the situation in France?
Nathalie Baye: Cinema is supposed to represent life, and life doesn’t stop at 35 years old. One day I was talking with Meryl Streep – I was giving her an honorary César award. She asked me, “How is your career going these days?” It was a period where things were slow for her, the roles she was getting were a lot less interesting. After that, things took off again for her. I think in France there’s great fidelity to actors, and directors of all generations are more audacious in offering roles to actresses who are much older than 40. It’s a bit miraculous, but then again, there are not many of us working regularly. Still, we’re a bit luckier. In France, we spend a lot of time saying that everything is better elsewhere. In this case, at least, we can say things are better here.
FRANCE 24: Can you talk a bit about your future projects?
Nathalie Baye: There are two films that will come out soon. One is by Pierre Salvadori and is called “De vrais mensonges” (to be released in France on December 8), with Audrey Tautou and Sami Bouajila. It’s a comedy, but there are some very moving scenes in it, as well. And a film by Bruno Chiche in which I appear with Gérard Depardieu for the fifth time, I think. It’s an emotional film with some funny parts.