The Actors: Timothy Spall and Marion Cotillard

Variety, December 4, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Actors: Timothy Spall and Marion Cotillard


Marion Cotillard and Timothy Spall were in the Variety Studios presented by Samsung Galaxy to discuss acting and their new films "Mr. Turner," in which Spall stars as the painter J.M.W. Turner for helmer Mike Leigh, and "Two Days, One Night" Cotillard's first pic with Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. The interview has been edited and shortened for space.

Spall: How did that come about, your working with (the Dardenne brothers)?

Cotillard: I worked on Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone," and they were co-producing the movie. So I met them for the first time there, but it was a very brief encounter. And I was very impressed because I'm a huge fan of their work. But it was actually never a dream that I allowed myself to have to work with them, because they usually work with Belgian actors and people that nobody knows, so then you can really jump into their stories without being worried that you're going to have to forget this well-known actor who will fit in their world. So I was very surprised when they asked to be part of their movie.

Spall: But it doesn't surprise me because if they're famous for making things with people that don't look like they're acting, you're the perfect actress to do that because that's what you can do.

Cotillard: Well this is the highest compliment that I can have, because that's what I try to do. That's what you do, too, is to work so much that you're going to go beyond the work and you're going to become this person in the process of - I heard that with Mike Leigh you have this process of rehearsals, right?

Spall: Yeah, yeah. What you do is you build a character up usually based on two or three people from your life that you amalgamate, you start building this character, becoming this person. And then eventually you grow up with this character, take it from birth and then you're introduced to your other characters. So what you're doing is like Frankenstein, like a joint Frankenstinian thing, you're bringing this character together.

Spall: When was the first time you got paid for a job as an actor?

Cotillard: I was actually very young. I think I was 7, something like that.

Spall: What's it like when you're 7? …

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