Audrey Tautou interview

The Da Vinci Code actress Audrey Tautou talks about stepping out of character in her new French language film Priceless, her new role as Coco Chanel and her habit of capturing interviewers on film

Is this is your first film since The Da Vinci Code?

"I shot Priceless at the end of 2006. I'd accepted it before The Da Vinci Code, so we had to change the schedule for me to be able to do The Da Vinci Code."

Reviews for The Da Vinci Code were mixed. How did you feel about the film?

"Itís hard for me to watch the movie as a spectator. But I liked the experience, and I enjoyed shooting the film. I would do it again if I had to."

In Priceless your character Irene is quite a departure for you; sheís a real seductressÖ

"She's far from the kind, shy, discreet types I tend to play. It was a change to play a woman who's a seductress, a manipulator and a liar! It was great to realise I could be that kind of 'real' woman!"

Do you think Irene is manipulative, or is she just taking advantage of the male characters' stupidity?

"I don't think the men she's with are stupid. They're lonely. And she's not a victim because she chooses seduce older men, in order to obtain the money, comfort and lifestyle she likes. She's genuinely fascinated by the places she goes in these relationships. To me it's scary, but she thinks she's living like a princess - even if her prince charming isnít as young and exciting as she may have liked!"

So sheís not a bad person?

"I think she would be doing something bad if she were cheating people. But the people she's seducing know exactly the sort of person they're with. She doesn't expect people to cripple themselves financially. She tells Jean right at the beginning that he can't afford to be in love with her! For her thereís no question of feelings initially; that comes with money. The romance comes at the end."

Is Irene lucky to find someone like Jean?

"I think so. Although she would have preferred him to be a bit richer! She's lucky to find someone who doesn't judge her."

Your co-star Gad Elmaleh, who plays Jean, is he a big name in France?

"He's France's most popular comedian and does great stand-up. On stage he has this amazing way of moving his body, and can express things without talking. I knew he was funny ó but I wasnít expecting him to be this good. Iím not at all like that, even though I try!"

The film feels like a throwback to the golden era of Hollywood, a sort of Breakfast At Tiffany's-type productionÖ

"Yes, I think you are right. With the location, the luxury, the story, it's an elegant romantic comedy. But I think Priceless is something different, too. It's a not a sweet romantic comedy. It's stronger, more cynical."

And you are going to play the legendary designer Coco Chanel in a new movie?

"Thatís true; I start shooting at the end of the summer. It's not a bio-pic, though, itís about her early life, her personality, the experiences that lead us to see and understand who she will become."

Have you ever considered why French actresses have never prospered in Hollywood?

"I think it's difficult for French people to work in Hollywood because it's a huge industry and finding your niche is hard. Iím not sure French people are prepared for that, and of course the language doesn't help! You mainly work as a foreign character and can't play everything like an American can."

You're a big literature fan. Have you ever been tempted to write?

"I've never thought of writing anything except to-do lists! I would like to be more creative, but Iím not very serious as a person. I'm more about thinking than action!"

You have a reputation for always taking a photo of your interviewer. What do you with the images?

"Right now I have no plans for them, but you never do anything for nothing. The first time I did it, it was because I was meeting so many people and everyone was blurring together. I needed to make them less anonymous. Later I realised it was interesting and amusing to see all those faces. It makes the process more human."

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