So. the inevitable question: after Amélic was Tautou scared of being typecast'.’ ‘I know that for 90% of the people. I will stay Amelie forever.‘ says Tautou. ‘So I don‘t have to fight against that. I rely on the people around me and the people I work with. I‘m lucky because I don’t have Amelie 2 in my pile of scripts to read.‘

Was Tautou surprised by how popular Ame/iv was'.’ ‘()h yeah.‘ she says. Did it change your life‘.’ ‘It changed because when anybody is on TV every night it becomes mathematic.’

Becomes mathematic. I think Tautou. who's mastery of Iinglish (her third language after French and German) is still a little wobbly (although she rather impressively developed a working use of our tongue during the US publicity tour for Arm‘lic'). means appearing on television multiplies her popularity tenfold.

Did she get a lot of work offers after Ame/iv? ‘Yes.’ she says. ‘I had more offers. The choice was larger and coming from more different places. I enjoy the life I have now and the chances I have..

Then in a self-effacing manner that can only be described as ‘bloody cute‘. she says: ‘I try not to make the audience fed tip of me.‘ As if. ‘I think there‘s no recipe to be good.‘

The thing. she says. is to continue and to be different. 'I think it depends on the people you meet. the director you work with. the talent you have. I don‘t know.’

But Tautou does. Although filmgoers outside France knew little or nothing of her before Amelie. Tautou had already acted for television and appeared in half a dozen films. In 1998 she won the Best Young Actress Award in the ninth Jeune Comedien de Cinema Festival in Bezier. She began acting lessons at an early age. displaying a flare for comedy that would later pay off in her first major film role. in the romantic comedy I'c’nus Baum" (Insiitut) (the only other Tautou film prior to Amelie released in the UK). So she’s got acting experience there was a career before Amelie.

Tautou has no grand scheme for her career. Despite having been a professional in the acting business for ten years. despite having been propelled into fame by one of the most successful French films ever. Tautou‘s taking things as they come. She isn‘t. for example. trying to do as much work as possible on the back of Amelie.

. v s . Q I\o. no. she says. because I don I want I

people to get bored of me.‘ She's doing the self-

effacing cute thing again. 'That’s why I‘m trying to do some small parts just for my pleasure.‘ she continues. ‘Well everything is for o

my pleasure. If people don't like me. they won‘t I

go to my movies anyway. I don’t want to be '

more popular than I am now. That‘s enough.’

Neither is Tautou making any conscious decisions to distance herself from Amelie by taking polar opposite roles. You might think that to be the case had you seen the recently released French thriller He Lot-vs me. he Loves me Not in which (lllmting/ Plot spoiler imminwitf) Tautou plays a psychotic stalker yep. a bunny boiler. But of taking a range of roles she says: ‘I don‘t want to show anything.

I don't have this pretension. I thought that it would be funny to do He Lows me. he Lures me Not because I liked the script and the part.‘

She does. however. admit. she thought ‘it would be funny to cheat a bit with how people see me‘.

What motivates Tautou's career choices (apart from making films for pleasure) are filmmakers she admires. Forthcoming films from her home country. lium Pudding and I’m sur la Bum/iv. are directed by the French auteurs Cedric Klapisch and Alain Resnais. Dirty Pretty Things is directed by an old stalwart of British television and cinema. Stephen Frears (.lly Bt’tllllffil/ lxumdrcm'. Dangerous [.iuismts). ‘lle's really a genius.’ she says. ’So clever. so sensitive. I think that when you work with someone who is really better than you. you have to rely on them.’ Again with the cuteness. ’If he thinks that you can do it. he must be right because he has enough cxperience.‘

So now Tautou (who once said: ‘I wouldn't mind being in an American film for a laugh. but I certainly don‘t want to be in 'l'lu'ngy Blah [flu/1 .i’. if you know what I mean‘) has taken her not-so-meagre experience Stateside. But not to Hollywood. oh no. Amelie. sorry Audrey. has just finished a romantic comedy shot in New York (‘ity called Now/tyre In (in but (72 for Israeli director Amos Kollek. And funnin enough. in the filth she plays a French woman who comes to America to become a movie star and has a hard time realising her dream. Now. there's irony for you.

Dirty Pretty Things is on selected release from Fri 13 Dec. See review, page 32.

‘..> Dec .‘ .M" THE LIST 13