Marion Cotillard on Assassin's Creed: 'I love themes of violence and free will'
French actress Marion Cotillard, who stars in new movie Assassin's Creed, says she won't take on a film unless she likes the plot
At 41, Marion Cotillard finds herself, for the first time, in a video-game adaptation.
The French actress stars alongside Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed, an adaptation of the popular action-thriller games, set for release on Dec 22.
She plays Sophia Rikkin, the leading scientist on a project to end violence, using criminal Callum Lynch (Fassbender) to access and relive the memories of his ancestor during the Spanish Inquisition.
It was not a role she took on lightly, she told the press at the Park Hyatt Sydney recently.
While she was keen to work with Fassbender and director Justin Kurzel again after their success with last year's Macbeth, she would not have taken on the project if not for the story.
"I didn't know anything about the game, but I thought the script was so good. I loved the themes of violence and free will," she said.
"As much as I love the director, if I don't like the story and if I don't fit in, I won't accept the project."
Sporting a baby bump - Cotillard is pregnant with her second child - she spoke to The New Paper about playing complex characters and leaving them behind at the end of the day to be a mum.
Did you play the Assassin's Creed video games before starting work on the movie?
No, I didn't. I think I would (have become) addicted. I have some friends who talked to me about the main themes of the game and this process of going into a world that had existed, these ancient societies.
One of them has watched it (the movie), and I was very happy because he went absolutely crazy.
He said what was great was that it was an era not explored in the games, yet all the main themes and the fascinating things about the game were there.
Sophia is another in a long line of strong, smart women that you have played. What attracts you to such roles?
I am attracted to very complex characters (in) whom I can explore a lot of aspects of human beings, a lot of layers and emotions.
Sophia is a scientist with a lot of questions inside of her, a lot of mysteries she carries.
I am attracted to powerful characters. If they're not powerful, they find their power during the journey of the story we're telling.
How was it teaming up with the Macbeth team again?
On Macbeth, I had this challenge of the (Shakespearean) language that I did not have on this one. I barely had fun on Macbeth.
To be a French actress and be a part of a project in English, based on Shakespeare, I felt a lot of pressure. But (on Assassin's Creed), I was more relaxed.
I was happy to work with Justin and Michael again.
How do you unwind from the dark roles?
It is a little bit of work every day to breathe it out, but being a mum helps, I focus on being myself and being a mum without being weird people and bringing weird feelings home. All the drama stays on set.
When you spend days, sometimes nights, with a different person who is sometimes intensely dramatic, it affects you a bit.
It is just a matter of enjoying going back to yourself and your family and having a break from such dramatic lives.
How do you feel about your success as an actress who has crossed over from Europe to the US?
I was always fascinated by actors and directors from the US when I was a child. I watched a lot of American movies, and it was a part of my culture.
Then I had this amazing chance to share this French movie (2007's La Vie En Rose) with an American audience.
That they responded the way they did, and then to have this crazy, amazing adventure with the Oscars... that opened this wider playground for me. And then I worked with Michael Mann (on 2009's Public Enemies), and that opened even more opportunities for me.
I feel really lucky that I never really had to fight to work there.