The stars of Blue is the Warmest Color open up about a rough shoot playing lesbian lovers

Blue 2

Admirable job by Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) at the Daily Beast. He never prods Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos to say any more than they want to say, but simply allows the conversation to unfold naturally when it’s clear they’re eager to be candid. After a few minutes talking about their first experiences falling in love, Marlow asks an obvious question and the floodgates open wide.

(Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, and based on a graphic novel by Julie Maroh, Blue tells the story of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), an awkward but beautiful 15-year-old girl whose initial sexual forays leave much to be desired. All that changes when she crosses paths with Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue-haired college student studying art. It’s love—or is it lust?—at first sight, and before long, the two are inseparable).

This is a very immersive role that demanded a lot from both of you. You must have had a lot of trust in Kechiche before signing on to this.

Léa: The thing is, in France, it’s not like in the States. The director has all the power. When you’re an actor on a film in France and you sign the contract, you have to give yourself, and in a way you’re trapped.

Adèle: He warned us that we had to trust him—blind trust—and give a lot of ourselves. He was making a movie about passion, so he wanted to have sex scenes, but without choreography—more like special sex scenes. He told us he didn’t want to hide the character’s sexuality because it’s an important part of every relationship. So he asked me if I was ready to make it, and I said, “Yeah, of course!” because I’m young and pretty new to cinema. But once we were on the shoot, I realized that he really wanted us to give him everything. Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act.

Right. They pause the action for new camera angles, etc.

Adèle: Exactly. I didn’t know [Léa] in the beginning, and during the first sex scene, I was a little bit ashamed to touch her where I thought I wanted, because he didn’t tell us what to do. You’re free, but at the same time you’re embarrassed because I didn’t really know her that well.

Wait. You two didn’t meet at all before filming?

Adèle: We met once for a camera test before, since she was already cast, but that was it until the shoot.

And was it difficult to shoot that 10-minute sex scene? I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a sex scene that long in a movie—gay or hetero.

Léa: For us, it’s very embarrassing.

Adèle: At Cannes, all of our families were there in the theater so during the sex scenes I’d close my eyes. [Kechiche] told me to imagine it’s not me, but it’s me, so I’d close my eyes and imagined I was on an island far away, but I couldn’t help but listen, so I didn’t succeed in escaping. The scene is a little too long.

Were the sex scenes between you two unsimulated? They look so real.

Léa: No, we had fake pussies that were molds of our real pussies. It was weird to have a fake mold of your pussy and then put it over your real one. We spent 10 days on just that one scene. It wasn’t like, “OK, today we’re going to shoot the sex scene!” It was 10 days.

Adèle: One day you know that you’re going to be naked all day and doing different sexual positions, and it’s hard because I’m not that familiar with lesbian sex.

Me either.

Léa: The first day we shot together, I had to masturbate you, I think?

Adèle: [Laughs] After the walk-by, it’s the first scene that we really shot together, so it was, “Hello!” But after that, we made lots of different sex scenes. And he wanted the sexuality to evolve over the course of the film as well, so that she’s learning at the beginning, and then becomes more and more comfortable. It’s really a film about sexual passion—about skin, and about flesh, because Kechiche shot very close-up. You get the sense that they want to eat each other, to devour each other.

So are you two really good friends now? You know each other a lot more intimately than I know most of my friends.

Adèle: Yeah! [Laughs] Thankfully we’re friends.

And the shoot was very long in general.

Léa: Five-and-a-half months. What was terrible on this film was that we couldn’t see the ending. It was supposed to only be two months, then three, then four, then it became five-and-a-half. By the end, we were just so tired.

Adèle: For me, I was so exhausted that I think the emotions came out more freely. And there was no makeup artist, stylist, or costume designer. After a while, you can see that their faces are started to get more marked. We shot the film chronologically, so it helped that I grew up with the experiences my character had.

And same-sex marriage wasn’t legalized in France until May—well before you finished shooting the film. This is an important film. It’s rare to see such an honest depiction of the love between two young women onscreen.

Léa: It is amazing. In France, it’s not out yet but at Cannes it was huge, and I think this is one of the reasons. This film is very modern. It’s a new way to make films. We never saw a film like this before—a love story this realistic. And it says a lot about the youth of today. It’s a film about love. I don’t really think it’s a film about homosexuality—it’s more than that. Homosexuality is not taboo anymore—even if it isn’t considered “moral” by everyone—which is how it should be.

Adèle: Without being a militant, Adèle was already very partial towards this movement because of how she was brought up. So for her, it’s just normal. There are some things that you can’t control, so she thinks it’s very bizarre when people say it’s against nature, and has no idea why anybody would give a fuck. Before gay marriage was legalized in France, there were huge demonstrations in France with even mothers with small children shouting terrible insults.

Right. I grew up around plenty of gay people, so it’s all about experience. People are afraid of what they aren’t familiar with, or don’t understand. But sex scenes aside, what was the toughest scene for you two to film?

Léa: Any emotional scenes. [Kechiche] was always searching, because he didn’t really know what he wanted. We spent weeks shooting scenes. Even crossing the street was difficult. In the first scene where we cross paths and it’s love at first sight, it’s only about thirty seconds long, but we spent the whole day shooting it—over 100 takes. By the end of it, I remember I was dizzy and couldn’t even sit. And by the end of it, [Kechiche] burst into a rage because after 100 takes I walked by Adele and laughed a little bit, because we had been walking by each other doing this stare-down scene all day. It was so, so funny. And [Kechiche] became so crazy that he picked up the little monitor he was viewing it through and threw it into the street, screaming, “I can’t work under these conditions!”

Adèle: We were like, “Sorry, we’ve shot this 100 times and we just laughed once.” And it was a Friday and we wanted to go to Paris and see our families, but he wouldn’t let us. But me, I always took trains in secret to see my boyfriend.

So… was this filmmaking experience enjoyable for you at all? It doesn’t sound like it.

Léa: It was horrible.

Adèle: In every shoot, there are things that you can’t plan for, but every genius has his own complexity. [Kechiche] is a genius, but he’s tortured. We wanted to give everything we have, but sometimes there was a kind of manipulation, which was hard to handle. But it was a good learning experience for me, as an actor.

Would you ever work with Kechiche again?

Léa: Never.

Adèle: I don’t think so.

But you don’t think that the proof is in the pudding at all? It is such a brilliant film.

Adèle: Yeah, because you can see that we were really suffering. With the fight scene, it was horrible. She was hitting me so many times, and [Kechiche] was screaming, “Hit her! Hit her again!”

Léa: In America, we’d all be in jail.

You were really hitting her?

Adèle: Of course! She was really hitting me. And once she was hitting me, there were people there screaming, “Hit her!” and she didn’t want to hit me, so she’d say sorry with her eyes and then hit me really hard.

Léa: [Kechiche] shot with three cameras, so the fight scene was a one-hour continuous take. And during the shooting, I had to push her out of a glass door and scream, “Now go away!” and [Adèle] slapped the door and cut herself and was bleeding everywhere and crying with her nose running, and then after, [Kechiche] said, “No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.”

It’s funny that you mention the runny nose, because watching the scene with you two in the diner, I was really worried that the stream of snot was going to go into your mouth.

Adèle: She was trying to calm me, because we shot so many intense scenes and he only kept like 10 percent of the film. It’s nothing compared to what we did. And in that scene, she tried to stop my nose from running and [Kechiche] screamed, “No! Kiss her! Lick her snot!”

So this was clearly a grueling shoot. What was the first thing you did when shooting wrapped?

Léa: Well, thank god we won the Palme d’Or, because it was so horrible. So now it’s cool that everyone likes the film and it’s a big success. But I took five days off and did like… three films in a row.

Adèle: I went to Thailand with my boy with no cellphone, no one to tell me “do this” and “do that” and “hit her again.” I was like [flips two birds], smoking weed, massages, woo!

59 Comments on this Post

  1. Read this earlier. Tremendous interview! But that can be what it takes to create great art…

  2. I know. I agree. Not judging. Not at all. Made special effort not to editorialize.

    Just wanted to present the feelings Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos chose to share, and frame it as frankly as they did.

    (we’re the only 2 comments? what did I do wrong with this post? I put “lesbians” in the headline and everything).

  3. Ryan,
    Yes, I think you made a mistake by putting “film” and “lesbians” in the headline. Most web surfers reckon they’re going to see something. The last thing they expect is to have to read!

    It’s an amazing film, it leaves you emotionally utterly drained. It’s a landmark film and tyrant or not Kechiche got jaw dropping performances. Or rather Seydoux and Exarchopoulos gave him everything.

    Hands down, the two greatest performances I have seen since… since… I can’t think of a movie that has two such incendiary performances. You usually get one. And maybe another in support. But the two leads?

  4. Umm, sounds like abuse to me.

  5. Love their honesty. Especially when they were asked if they’d ever work with Kexhiche again

  6. Umm, sounds like they could have just said no.

  7. Oh I know, I’m not judging either. In fact, I’m all for all of it. I’m all for Abdellatif Kechiche pushing them that far, and I’m all for Adele and Lea speaking so frankly and publicly about it.

    Gotta love the French. You always know where you stand with the Les Francaises.

  8. Sorry, I get it that everyone on this site is supposed to be snarky, but yours is such a grossly misinformed response to sexual harassment … any woman being taken advantage of or harassed can just “say no,” right? Sorry, but just because a woman (or man for that manner) does what you tell (force) them to do, doesn’t mean that they’re consenting … I’m gonna assume that you’re a sensitive human being and just chose the wrong words here. I can’t imagine the pressure of being surrounded by so many people and cameras and a man who is in charge of you and your career who you signed a contract with and you have to make this movie and if you say no, what does that say about you? They should have done a better job of doing this in a more nurturing environment and manner. Honestly, a “realistic” portrayal isn’t worth damaging humiliation. I’m glad the actresses seem fine, but they themselves said they’d never work with him again, and it’s unfortunate they had to go through that at all: I’d rather not have a “masterpiece” of art than subjugate women or any people to something like this. I’ll watch the movie because the actresses still seem proud and ultimately happy about their work, but this interview raises some really serious questions about “art” or “artistry” or “genius” and film, or whatever you want to call it … It’s like Last Tango in Paris – the sex wasn’t “real” in the sense that there wasn’t penetration, but that doesn’t mean that what was done wasn’t harassment.

  9. Bryce Forestieri

    Not even BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?

  10. Bryce Forestieri

    lol

  11. For all the hate O. Russell gets around here, Kechiche sounds like Polanski!

  12. I realize that the actresses are of age, but it sounds like their characters are 15 and 18. Real life stories like that are kinda creepy (and often illegal).

  13. This was very refreshing to read. They don’t sugar coat any of their emotions about the experience. But in the same vein, they also don’t slander or insult Kexhiche either. They just frankly state that while he’s a genuis and a talented filmmaker, he often drove them hard (too hard?).

    That said, it seems to have paid off and the women are aware of that.

    The buzz and reviews are really solid. I can’t wait to see this.

  14. Interesting read, especially when I always thought both the girls were extremely happy with their director [ Cannes awards ceremony anyone ?] But as much pushing and coercing the director did, the girls have to realize, their great performances came out because of that.

    Their story reminds me of Naomi Watts who had to go through similar ordeal while filming Mulholland Drive where Lynch kept on pushing her hard. And the results are for everyone to see. That performance skyrocketed her career.

  15. Jpns Viewer

    What a seemingly candid response.
    This is one of the fascinating aspects of French pop artists in general; and it’s not the first time I’ve seen or heard French celebs’ candidness in a way that is filled with nuance like this [I’m Francophile]. English-speaking thesps, of course, I believe, are also candid and relatively frank as well, and while many East and Southeast Asian counterparts due to reasons (nuance galore) have opted to be indirect in many valid cases given our own cultures, etc., the French artists’ way to deal with their own world has proved somewhat unique in its own right.

    Anyway, apparently, while Mademoiselles find it horrible more or less during the shooting, they do respect the director’s “genius” as well.

    I’m hoping at least the film will be for rent here in SE Asia (not in JPN now).

  16. Cotillard makes such a great performance in The Immigrant

  17. wow, you are everywhere aren’t you?
    Are you Cotillard’s agent?
    LOL

  18. Everywhere? Marion needs everyone sees her magnificent performance in The Immigrant

  19. Don’t assume anything about me.

    I did not choose the wrong words. They could have just said no. If someone were to tell me to do something that I didn’t want to do, I’d say no.

    I can’t imagine the pressure of being surrounded by so many people and cameras and a man who is in charge of you and your career who you signed a contract with and you have to make this movie and if you say no, what does that say about you?

    It means you have self-respect and moral integrity. No contract nor director can overrule one’s right not to be abused.

    Ftr, I think Abdellatif Kechiche was right to demand so much of his actors, they were right to comply, and they’re right to complain if they want to.

  20. Love between people of any age, whether three years apart or 73 years apart, is never creepy.

    Also, the age of consent in France is 15.

  21. Aye, never mind having to slap someone in the face, David Lynch made Naomi Watts finger herself on camera! Her tears in that scene are real cos she was so embarrassed. What a trooper, as ever!

  22. I had meant to give you the benefit of the doubt and I did. Guess that makes me naive or self righteous or whatever you wanna call it. It’s a good thing that your take on the whole affair and your apparent failure to understand what I wrote doesn’t make me particularly angry – it just reaffirms my belief that there’s still plenty of ignorance, and, much worse, stubbornness, when it comes to issues of sexual harassment and rape culture, even from people who seem to write so eloquently. I guess whatever harassment these actresses faced was just … what’s the word? “Illegitimate.” Then again I’m of the belief that you can get performances, even ones for the ages, without having to resort to tactics like Kechiche’s, so I’m biased. Glad you got kicks off of it, though.

  23. I had meant to give you the benefit of the doubt and I did.

    The benefit of the doubt? Like you’re doing me a fucking favour? You’ll only end up in hot water if you go about assuming things about people.

    Guess that makes me naive or self righteous or whatever you wanna call it.

    I don’t wanna call it anything.

    It’s a good thing that your take on the whole affair and your apparent failure to understand what I wrote doesn’t make me particularly angry – it just reaffirms my belief that there’s still plenty of ignorance, and, much worse, stubbornness, when it comes to issues of sexual harassment and rape culture, even from people who seem to write so eloquently.

    I understand everything you wrote. It’s you who doesn’t understand. You took my initial comment as relevant to rape culture. It is not. It’s quite plain that Abdellatif Kechiche was not sexually abusing Adele Exarchopoulos nor Lea Seydoux, based on the interview above. It’s quite plain that they were both willing to participate in what was demanded of them as a part of the filming process. And I hope you’re not implying that anything else that I’ve written is indicative of either ignorance or stubbornness toward sexual harassment or rape. You have no idea what my opinions are on those matters, whether or not you’d like to assume what they may be based on some brief, irrelevant comments.

    I guess whatever harassment these actresses faced was just … what’s the word? “Illegitimate.”

    Your word.

    Then again I’m of the belief that you can get performances, even ones for the ages, without having to resort to tactics like Kechiche’s, so I’m biased.

    That’s not a bias. That’s an opinion. And it’s one which I share.

    Glad you got kicks off of it, though.

    Something else you’ve assumed? Cos I didn’t.

  24. Well I can’t seem to reply to your latest comment. All I’ve left to say is that I don’t have to know somebody’s life story or moral code to recognize an insensitive remark when I see it – or to know from my own experience that such remarks tend to reflect a lack of compassion or understanding about a given subject. It’s an online forum after all. However you defend or rationalize it, saying “they could have said no” is no more than another form of blaming the victim. So no, I don’t know all of your opinions on those matters, I’ve only got what you write to go off of, and that’s what you wrote, I apologize if my disagreement with that statement offends you. The actresses may be proud of the final work and they should be, but it’s still clear they aren’t content with how they were forced to produce it, and glorifying and defending Kechiche’s way of getting there again only perpetuates that it’s ok to do these sort of things to women.

  25. I don’t have to know somebody’s life story or moral code to recognize an insensitive remark when I see it – or to know from my own experience that such remarks tend to reflect a lack of compassion or understanding about a given subject.

    Just because you think it’s insensitive doesn’t mean that it is. It wasn’t written by you, it wasn’t directed at you and it’s not about you. And I don’t care about your own experience and what such remarks tend to reflect – you don’t know me, so don’t fucking assume shit about me or judge me or insinuate anything about me. And the given subject, btw, is not sexual harassment. It’s the practices of filmmaking.

    However you defend or rationalize it, saying “they could have said no” is no more than another form of blaming the victim.

    The victim of what? Rape? No. Murder? No. The ‘victim’ of being goaded by a director into slapping a co-star for artistic purposes! Get the fuck over it!

    So no, I don’t know all of your opinions on those matters, I’ve only got what you write to go off of, and that’s what you wrote, I apologize if my disagreement with that statement offends you.

    It doesn’t offend me. And please don’t apologise. Stand by what you’ve said and don’t give a shit about whether or not it offends me. I can deal with myself.

    The actresses may be proud of the final work and they should be, but it’s still clear they aren’t content with how they were forced to produce it, and glorifying and defending Kechiche’s way of getting there again only perpetuates that it’s ok to do these sort of things to women.

    What sort of things? And nowhere in any of my comments thus far have I brought up gender. My opinions on what’s OK to do to women are exactly the same as my opinions on what’s OK to do to men. And I’m not perpetuating anything! I’m just expressing my personal opinion. What, do we think that because I don’t think Abdellatif Kechiche abused either of his film’s leads, I’m perpetuating rape? Are you motherfucking serious? I’m not glorifying anything! And who the fuck are you to determine what anybody ‘should be’ proud of except yourself?

    I didn’t label you as self-righteous earlier, but I’m fucking well doing it now.

    Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

  26. move over oscar bait.great interview/info.wow…

  27. julian the emperor

    I think you are confusing two different things here, Alex. Sexual harassment and making artistic choices at a film set is not the same thing. You make a superficial assumption where you too easily equate the two. If what the two actresses went through filming with Kechiche is really an instance of sexual harassment then I think you diminish the concept of sexual harassment, which is in nobody’s best interest.

  28. First of all, cursing at me and telling me what to do every other sentence isn’t helping anyone. I can apologize to whomever I want, if that apology isn’t accepted, that’s fine, and it’s entirely possible to apologize while standing by what you said.

    You said that you can deal with yourself, but from where I’m standing it seems to be the opposite case. But again, because we’re on an online forum I won’t assume that’s the case, I’ve learned my lesson with that. I never said you perpetuated rape. I’m saying that statements like the one you made contribute directly to a greater misunderstanding of sexual harassment which so unfortunately permeates our society. I happen to agree with Diane. You don’t. OK I get it. I’d say sorry again, but that might cause you to freak out again. Oh sorry, that was patronizing, wasn’t it. Oh sorry I said sorry again. Screw it I’m done. You don’t need anything I have to say and I don’t need anything you have to say so I’ll leave it at that.

  29. Sorry, I just happen to think that “artistic choice” and harassment aren’t mutually exclusive things, I don’t see how what I’m saying diminishes the concept of harassment … if anything, I find it dangerous to let anything go in the name of “artistic choice.” That’s my opinion, and I just hope that this doesn’t make other actresses feel they have to subjugate themselves to similar treatment for sake of a great performance because one man (like Kechiche) says its the only way for him to work.

  30. You said that you can deal with yourself, but from where I’m standing it seems to be the opposite case.

    Please elaborate. Where do I give you any reason to believe that I can’t deal with myself? Where do I seem to doubt my own opinions, or retract anything I’ve previously written? I can fucking deal with myself.

    I never said you perpetuated rape. I’m saying that statements like the one you made contribute directly to a greater misunderstanding of sexual harassment which so unfortunately permeates our society.

    I wasn’t even discussing sexual harassment when I made my initial statement! You’re the one who brought it up! It’s irrelevant! Diana mentioned ‘abuse’ and I did not disagree, but there is surely no reasonable doubt that either one of those two actresses could have refused and would have been within her rights to do so. It’d hardly have been the first time someone had challenged their director on set.

    OK I get it. I’d say sorry again, but that might cause you to freak out again. Oh sorry, that was patronizing, wasn’t it. Oh sorry I said sorry again. Screw it I’m done. You don’t need anything I have to say and I don’t need anything you have to say so I’ll leave it at that.

    I don’t even understand this bit.

  31. Funny how Alex has suddenly dropped the ‘sexual’ element from ‘sexual harassment’. It’s now just ‘harassment’, apparently.

    I just hope that this doesn’t make other actresses feel they have to subjugate themselves to similar treatment for sake of a great performance because one man (like Kechiche) says its the only way for him to work.

    Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux have never yet, to my knowledge, given any indication that they were any worse than uncomfortable with Abdellatif Kechiche’s filming methods, nor that they were unwilling to participate. Ftr, Kechiche does not appear to have said that that is the only way for him to work. Also, your repeated references to specific genders are narrow-minded. ‘One man’…’ok to do these sorts of things to women’ etc. Sexual harassment can be directed by either gender to either gender. But then, you’re the only one here discussing sexual harassment.

    An earlier point: Sorry, but just because a woman (or man for that manner) does what you tell (force) them to do, doesn’t mean that they’re consenting …

    Find the proof that Abdellatif Kechiche ‘forced’ anyone to do anything. Find the bit where either Adele or Lea did not consent.

    And another: the sex wasn’t “real” in the sense that there wasn’t penetration, but that doesn’t mean that what was done wasn’t harassment

    Not once in the above interview does either actor raise any issue with Kechiche’s method of directing during the sex scenes.

  32. I know. That’s why the above comment. Isn’t that an ordeal ?

  33. The wilder I get the more serene Paddy’s resilience will become. Right. He’s been anything but serene. I apologize for the outbreak again.

  34. I found the actresses experiences on set, as they honestly relate, quite disturbing. And I think “harassment” is far too mild a word for it. They actually do seem traumatized by this experience, as any normal person would be.

    And I wondered how long would it be before the director/studio/whoever tried to silence them. The Huffington Post story (linked above) of the director’s retaliation really says it all.

  35. Christophe

    Kechiche has responded and it’s getting ugly (translation from Twitter via French Huffpost):

    “You don’t come to LA to promote a movie when you have an issue with the director. If Lea wasn’t born in cotton [aka born with a silver spoon in her mouth [she’s the granddaughter of the billionaire owner of French film distributor/producer Pathe], she would never have said that. Lea couldn’t get into her character. I had to extend the shooting for her. She belongs to a system that doesn’t want me because I’m inconvenient. Blue-collars suffer, not adored actresses who walk on red carpets.”

    To which Lea Seydoux responded (in tears): “My family has never helped me. Stop talking about my privileges. I haven’t criticized Abdel. I have talked about his approach. We won’t work together again.”

    Apparently, technicians also complained during the Cannes Festival abt the awful working conditions on the film. The filming was extended for two months for the same pay.

    As far as awards are concerned, I guess it would be fair to vote for Adele or Lea, but not for the director or even the film.

  36. “As far as awards are concerned, I guess it would be fair to vote for Adele or Lea, but not for the director or even the film.”

    If this kerfuffle doesn’t fade away fast I suspect further American awards hopes for the movie are over. If enough voters become too uncomfortable with all this, a tipping point is reached that tilts in the wrong direction.

    I could be really wrong, but I think most voters won’t know what message an award will send.

    “Here’s a prize for a performance you say had to be harassed out of you.”

    or “Here’s an award and we don’t care what abuse you had to endure in order to get it.”

    or “Here’s an award for what sounds like months of torment. More like this, please!”

    The movie is what it is, and by all reports it’s a unique work of art. It doesn’t need any American awards.

    It won’t be the first movie that won the Palme d’Or and nothing else, ever. Isn’t that enough? I’m afraid it better be.

    By the time the César Awards role around next year, Blue might have shown enough stamina to pick up some prizes at home. Oscars, BAFTAs? I doubt it.

  37. Christophe

    It’ll definitely get enough support in France to be nominated in major categories at the Cesars, the controversy could hurt its chances to win though, but I think there will be more support for the actresses anyway.

    In the US/UK, the competition is so strong, that even without controversy Blue is definitely a long shot. Adele Exarchopoulos is still in contention for a nom (according to bloggers / pundits / critics) but the win seems more and more improbable. The film won’t even be eligible for Best Foreign Film since it’ll be released too late in FR to make the cut with the national comittee.

  38. I used exclamation marks and profanity. Get over it. I maintained my composure.

    You lost your cool, calling me an ‘asinine idiot’ and an ‘ignorant fool’. I’m over it. You did not maintain your composure. By your own admission, you got angry.

    http://namass.org/

  39. I’d say BAFTAs are definitely still within reach. Possibly Oscars, as long as this thing boils over soon and it receives the requisite critical and commercial success upon release. But BAFTAs? Absolutely. They needed no prompting last year, for example, to bestow Director, Actress and Screenplay nominations upon Amour, and a win for Emmanuelle Riva. BAFTA have always responded heartily to successful French films.

  40. Depends on whom you are, I suppose. Pop a camera in front of me and the first thing I do is whip it out and get tugging!

  41. Christophe

    Might be right, though I’m not eager to find out… I want summer to last forever!

  42. Adèle: Yeah, because you can see that we were really suffering. With the fight scene, it was horrible. She was hitting me so many times, and [Kechiche] was screaming, “Hit her! Hit her again!”

    Léa: In America, we’d all be in jail.

    You were really hitting her?

    Adèle: Of course! She was really hitting me. And once she was hitting me, there were people there screaming, “Hit her!” and she didn’t want to hit me, so she’d say sorry with her eyes and then hit me really hard.

    Léa: [Kechiche] shot with three cameras, so the fight scene was a one-hour continuous take. And during the shooting, I had to push her out of a glass door and scream, “Now go away!” and [Adèle] slapped the door and cut herself and was bleeding everywhere and crying with her nose running, and then after, [Kechiche] said, “No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.”

    It’s funny that you mention the runny nose, because watching the scene with you two in the diner, I was really worried that the stream of snot was going to go into your mouth.

    Adèle: She was trying to calm me, because we shot so many intense scenes and he only kept like 10 percent of the film. It’s nothing compared to what we did. And in that scene, she tried to stop my nose from running and [Kechiche] screamed, “No! Kiss her! Lick her snot!”
    ******
    I read what Ryan has posted and found it fascinating. Fascinating in the context that I can’t imagine myself allowing any director or any other human being to manipulate me or demoralize me enough to perform some of the actions these two women describe.

    ********
    Léa: The thing is, in France, it’s not like in the States. The director has all the power. When you’re an actor on a film in France and you sign the contract, you have to give yourself, and in a way you’re trapped
    *********
    When an actor or anyone that for that matter feels trapped in a situation they respond so much more differently than they would in normal circumstances. I won’t pretend to know or understand the legal position these two women found themselves in regarding their contract but it seems from their own admission that this wasn’t an ordinary experience for anyone. It does seem to me that the situation was rather abusive.

    As for Paddy’s comment it resonates with me a bit. The reason it resonates for me is that so many times we hear people comment about nudity in film and whether it’s required to define a character and their behavior or it’s just there to increase ticket sales. We also are aware that its the women in film who deal with that on a regular basis although men are finally showing their asses. But their is a difference between a man showing his ass and a woman who is required to completely expose herself. I’ve heard the complaints and said then why don’t they just say no. I mean for years we fought hard to accept the concept that a woman, or anyone for that matter; has the right to say NO. But for some reason in film “just saying no” doesn’t seem to apply so of course there is a double standard. Most men who are directed in a nude quickly drop their hands to cover themselves so they aren’t all hanging out there for the pubic to “judge” their attributes they way women are exposed. So I can understand Paddy’s comment. Men can say NO and it’s pretty obvious they do, maybe it’s time that women begin to truly excercise their right to say no as well.

    Again I don’t understand the legal ramifications in France but the “you’re trapped” is a little bit scary.

  43. I can’t imagine there’d be any legal ramifications to an actor refusing to hit another actor or refusing to be hit as a part of the artistic process, no matter what contract they’d signed.

    Plus, my comment was referring not to the sexual scenes but to the violence. It doesn’t sound like either Adele of Lea was as troubled by the nudity as they were y the violence.

    Re: nudity, I’m of the opinion that we might live in a much healthier society were actors of both genders more willing to get over it and let it all hang out! Give us all a look!

  44. Gosh, I know, let’s not get our hopes up…

  45. You know this reminds me of that time the French guy raped the maid in New York and then the business women in France were like ‘maybe we let too much stuff slide’. I got the impression at the time that a certain degree of sexual harrassment was expected over there. Maybe it’s a culture thing. And the younger generation react when the older ones didn’t? Maybe.

    But yeah, that sound like abuse to me. Maybe after they finished the movie they asked around to other actresses and found out they shouldn’t have let it happen so they’re saying something now.

  46. Spike Ghost

    This is creepy and i hope the director stays in France.

  47. In all fairness, both Seydoux and Exarchopoulos have admitted to not having regrets about making this film, being very proud of what they achieved, and noting that Kechiche is a genius and that all geniuses have issues that have to be worked through, and that they knew going into it that they would have these intense sex scenes and they knew what his style entailed. So before we start trashing Kechiche, let’s take ALL of the actresses comments from their interviews in stride. Exarchopoulos also talked about not trusting journalists since they have taken her words and run with them. This film is the only time a Triple Palm has been awarded, and with good reason. Kechiche told his actors to trust him, they did, and the result is that their careers are forever transformed positively and they walked away with acclaim and opportunities beyond their comprehension. Nothing in life is easy. A tyranical director is nothing new – most of the greats are/were, from Welles to Kubrick to James Cameron. The difference is most actors don’t talk about it as they are more concerned with what it will do for their art and careers later. What they went through isn’t completely unique, most method actors and directors work in this way – they have to do onscreen what is required and not fake anything. People that are displaying shock are unaware that many directors work this way. In the case of Kechiche, Seydoux, and Exarchopoulos, they made it work and I’ve never seen a more poignant film about love that has the power to change minds and hearts. This piece of work matters and it was worth their sacrifices.

  48. Zoe79,
    I can agree that the final product is definitely an achievement and I was similarly touched. The only thing that worries me a little bit (and it was not only you who has done this) is that many of you are willing to side with Kechiche and call him a “tortured artist” as an explanation/excuse for his actions. Yes, there have been many tyrannical directors, it’s not new and in all fairness a director has to establish their creative control. However, being a genius or an artist does not excuse being a terrible person. It doesn’t matter if they are average or talented, no one should have the right to treat their hard working actresses this way- and yes, this is abusive behavior. There is a difference between being in control as a director and being a tyrant. We have been letting men like Kechiche (and also some of the greats you mentioned) get away with this behavior just because they happen to be very good at what they do. It shouldn’t be that way. I’m not denying that it all came together into a fantastic movie. I get that other directors have used a similar approach and also gotten great performances and such. However, other creative geniuses have been able to come up with great work without the need of being cruel and autocratic, like Vince Gilligan, Guillermo del Toro, and Nicholas Winding Refn (who is nice to his actors despite having his own set of personal issues). We can’t be too forgiving here.

  49. I don’t think these actresses are that traumatized.

    They seem to be relishing all the attention this has brought them. And if anyone disagrees, just google their names … and you will be swarmed with half naked come-fuck-me-hither-and-thither expressions as they embrace each other for the cameras.

    We can’t be too forgiving here, either.

  50. Annette

    What would have been truly genius is if he could have produced similar results without resorting to abusive methods and going 3 months over the film schedule. They say he’s a tortured artist, but who was actually suffering throughout the process? Knowing what when on behind the scenes makes it feel dirty to appreciate the film.

  51. This sounds terrifying and I really don’t understand how many of these comments can justify the behaviour of the director.

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  54. Jesus, I can’t believe how many people are justifying this guy’s actions. That was straight up abuse. And all you people saying “but they could have said no!!1!”, yeah, nice to know that victim blaming is alive and well and not going anywhere soon. Fucking gross

  55. Where in the world did you take this “interview” from? I’ve watched several of and they never said shooting was terrible. Anyway, did you watch the movie at all? Afdele was 17 in the movie, not 15! There’s a birthday party where she turns 18.

  56. A very poorly invented piece of dialogue. Why didn’t you even try to use the actresses real names? )) They never said they wouldn’t work with the director again, all I heard from them in a real interview was praise and respect. The reactions to the garbage you posted are ridiculous!

  57. Sorry, I didn’t pay attention, they names are real, but all the rest is pure and sick invention. They didn’t say a word of what was written above, they don’t even speak English that well. Why did you do that? ))

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