Berenice Bejo, Silent Star of 'The Artist,' Talks About the Two Leading Men in Her Life (Video)
The Oscar nominee says writer-director Michel Hazanavicius, now her husband, was "really weird" when they first met, but co-star Jean Dujardin was "lovable."
Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to sit down for an extensive interview with one of the breakthrough stars of 2011, Berenice Bejo, whose silent performance as a movie fan-turned-movie star in The Artist garnered her best supporting actress nominations at the Critics' Choice Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and has now earned her a ticket to the Academy Awards in that same category.
I met the lovely Argentinian-born/French-raised 35-year-old -- whose sunny demeanor, gamine beauty, and magnetic screen presence remind me a lot of Audrey Hepburn -- at the beautiful oceanside Four Seasons Resort in Montecito, California. It was just a short drive from where the Santa Barbara International Film Festival had celebrated her and her Artist co-star Jean Dujardin, a best actor Oscar nominee, the night before with its Cinema Vanguard Awards (which were presented to them by the film's Oscar-nominated writer/director/film editor Michel Hazanavicius, who also happens to be Bejo's husband).
(Hazanavicius and Bejo, who met when she auditioned for his 2006 film OSS: 117 -- Cairo, Nest of Spies, have two children together -- one just four months old -- and also live with Hazanavicius' two children from his previous marriage.)
In order to "sell" a film that many believed unsellable -- namely, a black-and-white silent movie in the 21st century -- Bejo and her Artist colleagues have been on the festival/awards circuit pretty much non-stop since their film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in May. My interview was the last that she will conduct prior to the Academy Awards on February 26 -- and, if I may say so, I think it's her best yet. Even after spending hours watching and reading up on her work to prepare, I know that I learned a lot of new things about her during our time together, and have never seen her more comfortable in her own skin.
Bejo is going to be around for a long time to come -- she was recently signed by CAA super-agent Hylda Queally, who also counts Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Williams, and Kate Winslet among her clients, and I've heard that many top filmmakers are already clamoring to work with her -- so, if I were you, I'd take the time to get to know her sooner rather than later.