'Jealousy' Star Louis Garrel on Gay and Straight Sex Scenes and Working With Dad

Courtesy of Capricci
'La Jalousie'

The star of the new French release talks to THR about his performance as a divorced stage actor juggling career, fatherhood and a stormy new mistress

This story first appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

With his heavy-lidded gaze, impeccably tousled hair and brooding turns in such films as The Dreamers, Regular Lovers and Love Songs, 31-year-old Louis Garrel is French cinema's ultimate hipster heartthrob. In his latest movie, Jealousy (opening Aug. 15 in New York and Aug. 22 in Los Angeles), Garrel gives his most mature performance to date as a divorced stage actor juggling career, fatherhood and a stormy new mistress.

You're a star in France but not as well-known in the U.S. Any interest in working in American film?

As a child, the first films I saw were American, so it was always a dream. But I'm not sure American cinema needs a young French actor right now. Most of the time, America makes movies about America and Americans because the country uses cinema to take a look at itself. That's my theory, anyway. But of course I would love to work with people like Wes Anderson, for example, or Paul Thomas Anderson. Harmony Korine would be interesting, too.

What do you think of French actors — like your Dreamers co-star Eva Green or Marion Cotillard — who have careers here?

I've been a fan of Marion Cotillard since before she went to Hollywood. She has this charisma and grace. And Eva is very talented. She can play everything, from femme fatale to ingenue. She's the kind of actress directors dream about.

Jealousy is your fifth collaboration with your father [director Philippe Garrel]. You obviously like working with him.

Even before working with him, I liked his work very much, and I was honored to shoot with him. He works like a painter. He's very into how the movie is going to look, the color, how to frame the shots.

You've done a lot of nude sex scenes, both gay and straight. Is that a challenge?

It's always different. When Bernardo Bertolucci was directing me [in The Dreamers], we treated it like a game. With [Christophe Honore's] My Mother, I asked [co-star] Isabelle Huppert for advice. She often does all these extreme scenes, but she approaches it from her imagination, not from a realistic perspective. In Love Songs, it's me with a younger guy, and it was very choreographed and very sensitive. Actually, it's been a while since I've been naked in a film. I miss it a little bit. But I'm getting older. At 20, your body is more beautiful to show than at 30 — even if I don't drink that much beer. (Laughs.)