Deauville 2011: Nathalie Baye on Francis Ford Coppola and the State of American Cinema


The actress speaks to THR from the film festival, where she is a jury member.

French actress Nathalie Baye is a legendary figure in French cinema, but the star took time off for some jury duty at the Deauville American Film Festival. The American Nights actress is spending 12 days in Deauville helping jury president Olivier Assayas pick this year’s best competition title. Baye talked to The Hollywood Reporter’s France correspondent Rebecca Leffler about her first Deauville festival, playing a political femme fatale and seeing her old friend Francis Ford Coppola again.

On remaining modest despite her star status:
Vanity doesn’t serve any purpose. I have a lot of respect for Olivier Assayas. My love for the cinema surpasses my pride.

On why she showed up for jury duty:
I happened to be free to come. Then when I heard the choice of the jury members, I really wanted to come.

On American cinema:
There are so many American movies that are cult films for me like Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, Vincente Minelli, plus Scorsese, Coppola, Cassavetes and Woody Allen. It’s not just because it’s from Hollywood that it’s better. I like all cinemas – the label isn’t what makes me go.”

On her favorite movies:
I don’t have a genre. I like movies that cause emotions. Movies are machines of emotion. If there’s no emotion, I get bored. Emotion can be crying or laughing, intelligent or extraordinary.

On what leads her to accept a role:
I say yes when a script or a director that interests me. It’s all about chance meetings with a director or a story that really jumps out at me.

On this year’s Deauville festival:
I was happy to see Francis Ford Coppola here. We were on the jury together in Cannes years ago. He was just delicious.

On how cinema has changed over the years:
I think cinema is more in touch with current events than before. Films don’t just help people to escape reality anymore, they talk about what’s happening in the world today.

On what’s next:
I’m going to Canada to shoot a small role in Xavier Dolan’s next film Laurence Anyways. I star in a three-episode TV mini-series for France 2 called The Men in the Shadows where I play a female politician. Then, I’ll take a little break. I’m filmed a lot these past few years. I don’t want to say yes to projects that don’t please me.