On quite a chilly day, Chanel transported us to an Italian villa. We even saw a dog passing by while I was sitting down for this interview with the fantastic actress Stacy Martin. I have always loved her, and her personality lived up my expectations.

 

You’ve mentioned wanting to do more big Hollywood action movies – how do those differ from the arthouse movies you’re commonly featured in?

The scale is quite different and the genre changes a lot, and what I want to do is not necessarily to do a big Hollywood movie but to do different genres, to push myself and do different things. I have worked a lot with first-time directors and arthouse directors, and I always try to do the opposite of what I have done, and one of those thing is to do a big Hollywood movie. I would love to have that experience because the crew is a lot bigger, the performance is, I think, a bit different. I mean, I’m not sure, that is the thing – I can only imagine what it would be like.

But you have filmed a lot of movies last year, and it seems like 2019 will be another busy year for you?

Yes, I do need to take a holiday! I need to learn how to take holidays because I get very excited about films and about filmmakers. It’s almost like falling in love, and so it’s really hard for me when I find something, to say no. I just end up working a lot, which is great, but you have to balance things out a little bit.

You grew up in Japan?

Yes, I was born in Paris and then lived for about seven years in Japan.

You travel a lot also for your work, what’s your favorite city?

I think Rome. I love it there.

You must be a romantic.

Yes, I think I am.

Are you in love?

Yes, I have been with my partner for a while now and we go [to Rome] often. I love Italians; I love their energy – they have a lots of passion, and also this is an amazing resurrection of the Italian cinema with all those up-and-coming directors, because there was a real dip after the ‘70s where Italian cinema sort of lost its voice. Now, there is a real comeback, and you really feel it in the films that they make. I get really excited.

Are you still modeling?

No, that was more my part-time job when I was at university, so that I didn’t really have to work at a bar or be a waitress. It was a very easy job, but it was never what I really wanted to do. I think I was terrible at it, but it helped me a lot – it gave me freedom to do what I wanted to do ultimately. I’m very thankful.

And what brings you to the CHANEL Couture show today?

I mean, I love CHANEL. You grow up hearing all these stories about CHANEL, what they represent for fashion and also for women. I think it holds a strong place in how a girl grows up, ultimately, because Coco Chanel was the first one to break the rules. That is something that the house has always encouraged. I think there is a side of me that also does that, to go against what people expect and to live freely. The show today was incredible because there is this sort of ‘joie de vivre’, and it’s so elegant and graceful but there is always a little rebellion in the clothing, in the music, and who [else] brings you summer in January?

I mean it’s incredible, so I’ve always really loved coming to the show, and I love being part of a house that isn’t just about clothes. It brings you society and culture, sort of present moment in what they do.

Do you have any acting rituals or ways to get into character?

No… Because it changes every time. It changes depending on the director, on the parts, because sometime there is tangible things that I have to learn. At the moment, I’m learning how to roll a cigarette for my next film I’m starting this February. I had to learn how to be a waitress, and, in some other films, I don’t have to learn anything. It changes a lot. There is one thing I always bring with me and it’s my aeropress coffee machine because I’m a bit of a coffee snob. It’s the first thing that I pack when I go for a film.

What do you do when you’re not acting?

Well, ask me in a year and I might not know! But really, I do normal stuff. I like to have my friends over. I cook a lot. I have a really big family on my French side, and we always did massive dinners, so I like bringing that to London. I go to museums, I do my shopping, go to the post office, I pay all the bills, you know, the normal stuff.

How has your movie Nymphomaniac with Lars von Trier impacted or still impact your career today?

I think it inscribed me in a sense, where most of the time I get offered parts of characters [who are] very daring or unafraid of taking risks or not the conventional stereotype of the female character, and I think I get a lot of arthouse directors coming on, and I love that ultimately. I like to work with artists, so I think that has definitely helped.

Anything else you might have taken from this experience, perhaps in your own personal life, that helped you be a better actress?

It gave me choice, and one of the things that Lars always told me was, “You don’t need to do what you don’t want to do,” and that was the biggest thing because as actors and especially actresses, you always thought that you have to be thankful of being approached or asked of doing something, and actually, if you do that, you become a puppet, and I disagree with that concept. We are actors, and we work with people and we are for hire, but we are also human beings, and we bring something different than another person because we are naturally so different, and I just hate this idea that we are just puppets, so it really taught me to say no.

Who would like to work with?

Oh, I’m always scared to answer that question, but I would love to work with Jane Campion, or Tarantino because his style is so specific.

Oh, you would be amazing in a Tarantino movie!

Oh, thank you, well you know, let him know (laughs). FYI, looking for anyone?

Where do you live?

London.

And do you go to LA?

I’m mostly in Europe. I keep thinking I should go to LA, but I’m just working, and I have agents over there, and they are incredible. The industry, I feel, is spreading, where it’s not as concentrated as it used to be in Los Angeles, and a lot of films are no longer filmed in Los Angeles. For me and the type of films that I make, it doesn’t make much sense.

 

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