After years of being offered ‘sweet' roles, Audrey Tautou tells Richard Mowe that she relished the opportunity to play a shameless gold digger in Priceless

he scurries into the opulent embrace of

the Grand Hotel in Paris. leaving behind

the hubbub of the city. and plonks herself down in a capacious settee. legs decorously crossed. for a morning of interviews. The arresting brown eyes still exude a slightly surprised look - as well they might.

Audrey Tautou has come a long way since Amélie catapulted the then virtually unknown 22-year-old gamine to prominence. prompting heady comparisons with screen legend Audrey Hepburn among others. However. it‘s no surprise that success has not gone to her head. She has always come across as seriously grounded. even back then. As for Amelie, she can no longer ‘bear to see it.’ She comes over all reflective. ‘I’m not

Gad Elmaleh and Audrey Tautou in Priceless

blase about it but I don’t believe in all that stuff about being an overnight star. This job requires a lot of work and a real desire to succeed.‘

This desire initially drove Tautou back into the fold of/tmelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. firstly to play a provincial farm girl seeking her fiance in the trenches of the First World War (A Very Long Engagement) and also a feisty police cryptologist alongside Tom Hanks in The Du Vmei Cur/e. She has had no shortage of offers but too many from those who wanted to play on her sweetness. with roles such as that of Romain l)uris‘s girlfriend in Pot Luck aka l.'aul)erge espunol. ‘To be honest. I‘ve had enough of all that.” she smiles determinedly.

Instead. she continues to break this mould thanks to director Pierre Salvadori. who conceived the role of an unabashed gold-digger in his latest film Priceless specifically for her. Her character infiltrates her way into the affections of rich. older men in luxury hotels along the Cote d’Azur before encountering inevitable complications with her scheme when a hotel waiter whom she mistakes for a potential millionaire played here by (iad lilmaleh. a stand—up comic of some repute falls for her.

Salvadori says he felt Tautou could 'save the character'. He explains: ‘She‘s so tough. mean and manipulative that if she is not played by someone with humour. fantasy and poetry. the audience would hate her.’


Tautou. 32. was drawn to the notion of ‘transforming myself’ and not for the first time. In another recent role she plays an obsessive stalker in He Loves Me -— He Loves Me No! for director Laetitia (‘olombani. which left a distinct chill on the palate.

She is aware of the pitfalls of fortune. ‘Iiame can be very fickle. Look back at any film magazines of just ten or 15 years ago and they are full of faces who have just disappeared. Nobody has heard from them again.’ she says.

In the unlikely event of such a fate befalling her she has plenty of resources upon which to call. ‘()riginally l was drawn to anthropology. and I also followed a musical bent with six years of piano lessons. At university I studied literature including Balzac and Oscar Wilde. There was no theatrical tradition in the family. We‘re from the Avergne in (‘entral France and my grandparents worked on the land. My father is a dentist and my mother worked for a charity which seeks to combat illiteracy. so my only exposure to theatre and performance was at school plays.‘

()ur allotted interview time is up. Her parting quote is telling. She fully intends to keep her ‘feet firmly on the ground. Oh yes. that comparison they keep making with Audrey Ilepburn is very flattering. but it is a bit excessive. non‘."

Priceless is out on Fri 13 Jun.

To celebrate the Edinburgh International Film Festival's move to a new slot in the calendar, from 18—29 June, we bring you the first of our two part bumper

" preview package in the next issue of The List, including interviews with the stars of opening film, Edge of Love, and a look at the work of the legendary Jeanne Moreau.

Hellboy II: The Savage Grace

Golden Army


Julianne Moore stars in this

Get Smart ' Big screen version of Mel

WALL-E It's 2700 and the earth is

The Dark Knight The second of the new Batman

Everyone's favourite satanic child returns to kick some serious demonic ass. Guillermo Del Toro's second adaptation of Mike Mignola's classic graphic novel series looks more promising than the first. General release from Fri 22 Aug.

28 THE LIST 22 May—5 Jun 2008

dramatisation of the 197?. Brooks Baekeland murder case in which a wealthy wife and her disturbed only child plot the murder of the husband and father who is heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Selectml release from Fri 1 I Jul.

Brooks' popular 10(30s spy

spoof sitcom which sees Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway step : ' into the shoes previously filled by

Don Adams and Barbara Feldon

E as Maxwell Smart and Agent 92) 3 respectively. General release 2 from Fri 1 7 Jul.

deserted apart from a rubbish tip dwelling robot. He's lonely until search robot I've arrives in Pixar and Disney's latest collaboration. WALL—E is a hot contender for the film of the summer. General release from [1/ 18 Jul.

3 films starring Christian Bale and Written/dirtxtted by Christopher Merrie/71o Nolan sees the winged avenger coming face to face with his nemesis The Joker (the late Heath Ledger) for the first time. General release from Fri :25 Jul.