FEATURE ANNE PARILLAUD
And The Single Vampire
GThe List 18 June~l July I993
Just another Gallic girl in a tight frock? ANNE PARILLAUD persuades Edward Murphy that there’s more to the star of Nikita, Innocent Blood and Map Of The Human Heart than meets the eye.
iewed from this side of La Manche. the French babe actress is hardly a
new phenomenon. A whole illustrious line of them stretches back through Moreau. Bardot.
Deneuve. Beart and Dalle. So maybe the English language debut of Anne Parillaud would be hardly surprising were it not for the fact she’s given a whole new meaning to the term femme fatale. First seen as the teenage psychopath-turned-trained assassin in Luc Besson’s thriller La Femme Nikita (Hollywood remake Assassin imminent). she now stars as a bloodsucking vampire creature in the comic- horror thriller. Innocent Blood.
Anne Parillaud established her reputation in France and Italy over the past decade with leading roles in L'Hote/ I)e Plage, Iz'c‘oute Von; Pour Le Peau (1 'un Fife and La Battant. The 32- year-old Parisienne also picked up a prestigious French Cesar award in 1990 for her portrayal of the scantily-clad killer Nikita but there‘s nothing in her real-life character to indicate that she can be packaged as anything like a Brigitte Bardot or even a Sylvia Kristel. Never a performer to be accused of self publicity (she has only done six interviews in the last three years). or of allowing herself to be exploited. you could expect a little bite from the actress if you label her as a ‘sex symbol‘.
‘Sex! . . . Sex!‘ she replies in achild-like Gallic whisper that can induce goose-pimples on your earlobes. ‘Why are you all pre-occupied with sex? Is it important for a woman to be sexy. if you happen to be French and in the movies?’
Underneath the petulance there‘s a serious point to be made about audience assumptions. Just because she‘s got a penchant for slipping out of little black numbers on screen doesn‘t mean that‘s all there is to Anne Parillaud. Renowned as one of the country's most intelligent and most intuitive
do something that is “sexy” as you call it. It may be something that is part of the script. and it will be part of me. if that‘s what the character is to be.‘
With director John (Atttet‘it‘an Werewolf In London) Landis at the helm. it was obviously tongue-in-cheek — but how did the actress actually view the part‘.’
‘When I read Innocent Blood. I don’t know if] interpreted it the same way as
performers. the former classical dancer doesn't take any lip from journalists. producers. directors or public relation consultants. especially ifthere‘s an underlying suggestion that she's only in the movie for decorative purposes. That may be vogue for some actors these days but in Parillaud’s case it's very difficult
‘Sexy women are very appealing to play. But well-written ones are the best. Whether they be psychopaths. . . vampires. . . or nuns!
John Landis saw it.‘ she says. ‘I saw my character. Maria. as being a lost soul who was capable of much love. but because of her unfortunate disease. I interpreted her very much as a fallen angel who was doomed to live this dark existence.
‘I never believe in taking a role in a movie purely because it will
to decipher whether it‘s contrived or genuine. ln Innocent Blood she plays an environmentally-friendly vampire. who only preys on the scum of the earth. Not that they‘re in short supply. Maria. the sexy bloodsucker she plays. bites down on more male flesh than Sylvia Kristel ever did. She breaks more men’s bones than Catherine Deneuve has hearts. And her wayward experiments with bondage would even have Freud buying at the moon. Is she comfortable doing the ‘kinky‘ stuff?
‘Sure. if it‘s part of the character. if it ﬁts the mood. then I would feel comfortable with that.‘ she says. ‘But it’s not a consideration that you
get your name known. I was persuaded into acting because I felt I could expand my knowledge of performance in more exciting ways. So the performance. and the room to perform. is the most important thing in that decision. any decision.‘
In this business though it’s often the decisions of others that can channel an actor‘s career. In Parillaud‘s case it‘s possible her reputation as one of France‘s most intelligent performers may have intimidated some Hollywood producers. She was ousted from the lost Steven Soderbergh movie Kafka after ‘creative differences‘ on set and Tinseltown didn‘t have the courage to cast