Why did actress CECILE DE FRANCE have to spend so much time in Steve
Coogan’s trailer on the set of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS? Jay
Richardson finds out.
sually. I compare my character to an animal and I think Monique is a fox. She's ready to do anything for her curiosity.‘
Cecile De France is describing her character in the new adaptation of Jules Verne‘s Around lllt’ World In 80 Days. ‘She's driven. she wants to learn everything and she just does what she wants.’
Alongside Steve Coogan as Phileas I‘ogg and Jackie Chan as Passepartout. the 28-year-old plays a part quite unlike the Indian princess who was the novel‘s original romantic interest.
‘Monique is a French avant garde painter who is not taken seriously by the Paris critics. She decides tojoin Phileas and Passepartout because she believes the wonders of the world will push her painting to new levels. She is not too girly. she loves life and wants to grow as an artist.’
As her first English language production and family film with exotic locations. Around the World is markedly different from those in which De France made her name. She impressed in the excellent French psycho-killer thriller Switchblade Romance (released here on 24 September) and won a Cesar for Most Promising Actress for her role as a Belgian lesbian in the Iiuro-comedy L'Auberge Ifspugno/v. a sequel to which she is currently shooting.
‘I felt a big responsibility on my shoulders becaUse this was not my native language. I was lucky to work with an excellent dialogue coach who helped me to understand the rhythms of Iinglish. which are so different. But Monique is French. so we kept her as French as possible. And it’s an action film so we run a lot.‘
But working with a physical perfectionist like Chan can be frustrating. ‘In the beginning I wanted
28 THE LIST 8 '22 Jul 200.:
‘I WAS ALL THE TIME IN HIS TRAILER AND I ASKED HIM, PLEASE SHOW ME YOUR TV SHOW'
to do some stunts. but .lackie said. oh no. .\'o. no. But I kept asking if I could kick the (‘hinese warlord. So I did.
‘Jackie‘s choreography brings something so different to the novel. the way he is with his team. the way he‘s so quick. the way all his ideas are working. All of his secrets. their technique. It‘s a fantastic performance}
De France. who moved to Paris when she was 17. was equally impressed by (‘oogan‘s stagecraft. 'I was all the time in his trailer and I asked him. please show me your TV show. And I like it. very much. Iiven on set. I learned a lot from his comic timing.
"I'he love story is very interesting because they are so opposite. Phileas is a scientist but he‘s very innocent. And Monique is an artist who seems to be very naive but inside she’s strong. Phileas. I think. hates Monique at the beginning. but afterwards they discover they both have a dream: he wants to push science further. she wants to push art further.‘
With British actors Jim Broadbent and Iiwen Brcmncr in supporting roles. the film has almost as many cameos as the l‘)5(i David Niven-starring version. Kathy Bates plays Queen Victoria. Owen and Luke Wilson are the Wright Brothers. John (‘leese is a London hobby and Richard Branson tends a balloon. Bless. Meanwhile. Arnold Schwar/encgger stretches credibility as womanising governor I’rincc Ilapi. After sharing a hot tub in his 'I'urkish harem. De France is generous: ‘I think he‘s a good sport to wear that stupid wig. thc baggy suit. I think he must have a lot of humour.‘
Around the World in 80 Days is on general release from Fri 9 Jul. See review, page 31.
Lights, camera, action . . .
AS THE GREAT COMIC BOOK writer Daniel Clowes leaves all competition behind him with the release of the 23rd instalment of his excellent Eightball comic, filmmaker Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) will begin working on his second feature film collaboration with Clowes - Art School Confidential. Set to start filming in LA on 12 July, the film also marks the continuing partnership between Mr Mudd (the production company owned by Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russ Smith which released Ghost World) and United Artists. Zwigoff has just had a huge stateside hit with Bad Santa starring Billy Bob Thornton. Art School Confidential will be based on a comic story in Dan Clowes’ Eightball #7, tracking an art student (Max Minghella) through some painful rites of passage. One to look forward to.
ROUGH CUTS COULD NOT GO withoot taking the Opportunity to say farewell to the King. The tragic. almost too gifted. theSpian Elvis. Marlon Brando -- he changed everything that came after him. YOu probably know about his really famous films but let us now heap some praise on some of his great. Overlooked performances in some of his mOre weird (but no less inspired) Cinematic ventures — his mumbling. morose and vengeful frontiersmen in The Appaloosa and One Eye Jacks. His Arian action hero in The Night of the Following Day. His weird. uptight Peter Ouint in Michael Winner's adaptation of Henry James' The Turning of (1 Screw — The Nightcomers. His Sheriff Calder in The Chase and. best of all, Brando's brilliant impersonation of Bush .Junior's truest ancestor. the war-mongering British agent of the Caribbean, Sir William Wallace in Gilio Pontecowo's remarkable Que/mada.
Farwell Marlon Brando (1924-2004)