catching up with clémence poésy
As her new film comes out today, we catch up with our favorite Frenchie to talk about her proudest moments, her future plans, and how well she really knows her neighbors.
Clémence Poésy is like the friend you've always wanted: beautiful, kind and funny (or at least that's what you decided when she won our hearts as Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and The Goblet Fire, and again, when she played Jim Sturgess's love interest in Heartless, and of course when Paolo Roversi shot her for the cover of i-D's The Tissue Issue in 2007). Even the way she describes herself -- "My name is Clémence, I think I'm about 1m 68 which I never know how to convert in feet. I've got blonde hair most of the time and I want it short when it is long and long when it's short" -- warms our hearts. Growing up just outside of Paris, Clémence always knew she wanted to be an actress, although she felt a bit silly admitting it. Luckily she got over this, and became the beautiful actress we know and love today. Currently starring as Kate in David Farr's thriller The Ones Below about a young happily pregnant couple and their totally unhinged neighbors (think Polanksi vibes) we got together with our favorite Frenchie.
Did you always want to be an actress?
Growing up I wanted to do costume design -- or something drawing related. Deep down I probably already wanted to be an actress but I felt a bit silly admitting it to people I guess. It felt like everyone wanted to become an actress and I thought I probably had a better shot at doing something else.
What is it about acting that interests you most?
The ability of exploring the world with someone else's eyes and feelings -- each part feels like a gift in a bit more understanding of the human mystery.
How did you get involved with The Ones Below?
Very simply -- I was sent the script, then I met David Farr for a little chat about Kate, and read a few scenes with him in front of his producer Nikki.
What drew you to your character?
I loved the idea of taking such a quiet, measured character on such an extreme journey, to let what happens to her in the film change her, but without "doing" too much -- without performing. She is very much an observer, never trying to be the center of attention. I love silent characters.
Depictions of female hysteria have a long history within cinema. Did you look to any examples or was it more instinctual?
David mentioned Persona by Bergman and Rosemary's Baby by Polanski. I watched them both before we started filming.
How well do you know your neighbors?
I know some of them really well (at least I like to think so). One of them in particular -- he saves my life on regular occasions. I'm almost debating moving houses because I would miss him too much. Some I don't know at all -- at all.
What's been your proudest career moment to date?
Standing on a theatre stage on Broadway when I turned 30, and one year later holding my dad's hand on a stage in Paris at the end of a one-woman show he had directed me in.
Moving forwards, what kind of films would you like to work on in the future?
I'd like each one to be as different as possible from the one before. I've been very lucky lately: there was Kate in The Ones Below, then Laura a radical activist and sociologist in Le Grand Jeu. There was the joy of spending a few months with Elise again in the second season of The Tunnel; there was Kristen in a comedy with Omar Sy called Demain Tout Commence, and Hira a factory worker in 7 Minuti the Italian film I've just finished. I've loved traveling from one world to another -- one language to another. So if it can keep being like that I'll be happy.
What are you most excited about for 2016?
Seeing the plays my sister will direct, traveling, new encounters and old friendships, the films I should be making, and a few tiny projects that are my own and which I hope I'll finally finish!
The Ones Below hits cinemas on Friday, March 11.
Photography Clémence Poésy