As one might expect from Michel Gondry, his new film, Mood Indigo, features surreal scenes, set pieces and sight gags that one wouldn’t expect to see in reality.
But almost all the inventive creations seen in the film really existed on set, star Audrey Tautou tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“I never shot in front of a greenscreen or a bluescreen,” the actress says, explaining that she and co-star Romain Duris really took a magical ride over Paris in a floating vehicle designed to resemble a cloud and danced with giant jazz legs, as shown in the movie. A device called a pianocktail, which creates drinks based on the notes played on a piano, really existed as well.
The dramatic changes that Duris’ character’s apartment goes through, designed to mimic the development of his relationship with Tautou’s Chloe, were replicated on the set, too, with Tautou explaining that all the apartment scenes were shot in the order they occur in the movie.
“Everything was real, so they had to succeed because they didn’t have a second chance,” the actress says.
Mood Indigo, also known as L’Ecume des jours, was adapted from Boris Vian‘s experimental post-World War II novel, which itself features numerous absurd elements. But Tautou, who said she was a fan of the novel when she was younger, says she now can’t remember which surreal components were in the book and which were created by Gondry.
“I think he was the right director to adapt this novel, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he finally did it because all of his inventions just fit perfectly in the movie,” she says.
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Although Tautou says she mostly signed on to the film, which opened in France last year and got a stateside release on Friday, to work with Gondry, the experience was different than any film she’d made.
“Working with him was like being in the middle of a storm of ideas, and it was like a big mess because he had so many ideas, and there were all these lively accessories and all these amazing decorations on the set,” she says. “I couldn’t much relate it to my previous experiences. He was filming [all the] time, so we didn’t even know when we were filming.”
In light of Gondry’s technique, Tautou explains that she had to let go of some of her efforts to control how she played her character and just go with the flow.
“Usually in the movies, when I’m acting, I like to be precise, and I like to create a character and compose it. And sometimes I like to do little tiny things that maybe nobody can see but I know that I put it in. … But in this movie, it was impossible to do that. I accepted to be surprised,” she reveals. “It was not a controlled type of acting … [it was more like] forget the camera and feel free.”
Mood Indigo opened in New York and L.A. on Friday. In partnership with distributor Drafthouse Films, BitTorrent also released a package of additional content for download online, including exclusive videos, storyboards, music and a curated photo collection.