Q: Did you approach this role as you would any other character?
Gainsbourg: That was impossible. Usually, I like to project myself into a character, which requires that the role be distinctly different from myself. Imagining someone's silhouette, for example, sometimes helps me. But that was difficult here. For this role, Yvan wanted me as I really am. It started to come together as we worked on the scenes and situations, as we read the script.
Q: How did your work sessions go?
Gainsbourg: Yvan concentrated on erasing all my inhibitions, so that I could appear as I do in life. The actual sessions turned out to be fairly original. He had me say anything that came into my head, sing, dance on tables, even scream. He tried to push me as hard as he could, until I felt free. This was important to him. He didn't want me to be passive and just wait for him to tell me what to do. He expected me to make suggestions about hair, costume, knowing full well that you couldn't go for something too far-fetched. From time to time, I got nervous about the audience confusing me with her. I didn't like the idea that people would think I was revealing myself all at once on the screen. Now that the film exists, those fears are gone.
Q: Who did you see on the screen, the first time you saw the film?
Gainsbourg: It's complicated. I saw myself, scene after scene, in situations I had never found myself in, although certain incidents draw on real life. The comic aspect is what came to the fore and protected me. There's a certain rhythm, free, joyous, alive and lighthearted.
Q: Do you believe, as the character of Yvan fears, that actors pretend to pretend?
Gainsbourg: I'm always aware that I'm acting, of course. But at the same time there's a certain pleasure in just losing it, in convincing yourself that you're not acting any more.
Q: Did you feel taken care of during the shoot?
Gainsbourg: Yvan didn't spare me. He was very demanding and pulled no punches expressing himself. But I trusted his judgment. This was also the first time that a director paid so much attention to lighting me. I felt like he wanted to make me more beautiful. That was more than a pleasure!
Q: In what way was working with Yvan Attal, with whom you live, on his first
film, a unique experience?
Gainsbourg: I lived vicariously through the work of a director. I felt all of Yvan's emotions and fears. This might seem naive but, before this, I was never aware of what the work of a director really is -- an ever-present obsession lasting two years. This film is by far the scariest, most exciting and happiest experience I've ever had in the film business. There's a certain magic to first times, and I still sort of miss CHARLOTTE AND LULU and THE LITTLE THIEF. Yvan's film has completely swept aside that nostalgia, by giving me a new chance to shoot my first film.