Marion Cotillard: 'Brad Pitt is a good man and very generous'
Actress Marion Cotillard says the director of Allied, which opens here tomorrow, helped her through a tough birth scene
A radiant Marion Cotillard walks into the interview room at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills.
The French actress is expecting baby No. 2 with her partner, French actor and director Guillaume Canet, but that has not stopped the publicity tour for her new film Allied with co-star Brad Pitt. Or the gossip.
Allied, which opens here tomorrow, is a spy thriller romance set in World War II, and talk has been rampant in the wake of the Pitt-Angelina Jolie break-up, suggesting Cotillard was the cause of the split.
Cotillard, 41, refuses to address the controversy, saying it does not concern her. But she does talk about Pitt as a co-star.
"An amazing partner who is such an amazing actor. I've seen almost all his movies, and he is so different each time," she said.
"He is such a good man besides being an amazing actor. He is such an open-minded person - kind, down to earth and very generous."
Set in 1942, Allied is about two operatives, Max, a Canadian airman (Pitt), and Marianne, a French resistance fighter (Cotillard), who get together in Casablanca, Morocco, on a mission, and then break the rules of spydom by falling in love and getting married.
The action moves to London in the middle of the Blitz and then to German-occupied France, as the two get tangled in a vast deception that jeopardises everything they hold dear.
The movie is filmed in the style of 1940s epics with visual spectacles and an emotional love story, reminiscent of the 1942 movie Casablanca with glamorous locations interspersed with gritty war scenes.
But Cotillard does not want to draw any parallels with the classic.
She said: "I didn't think about the movie because (Casablanca) is such a great movie that it is too intimidating to be inspired by such an iconic love story."
The script was sent to her four years ago.
Said Cotillard: "It is such a strong part but the movie itself is everything an actress dreams about. I love to explore and I've explored a lot of depressed and non-glamorous roles.
"It was nice to be able to explore this glamorous era and at the same time tell a deep and strong story."
She credits director Robert Zemeckis with helping her through the tough scenes, particularly the one that shows her giving birth on a London street in the middle of an air raid.
"It is never easy to do those kinds of scenes, but Bob is one of the most wonderful, respectful, smart and talented directors I worked with, and so we rehearsed," said Cotillard.
"We just create this choreography so you feel comfortable and then you can let it go and be free to act when it comes to shooting. We knew exactly what we had to do. It makes it easier to then find the authenticity of such complicated scenes."
Added the mother of a five-year-old boy, laughing: "I had had the experience, so that was helpful."
When asked about her life with Canet, 43, she said: "We are happy, and life is a wonderful ride. When you share with someone and you get to evolve with this person, you get to be better.
"This person inspires you to discover more of yourself and more of others.
"It is one of the most amazing, beautiful and wonderful experiences as a human being to stand by someone you love with honesty, respect and awareness."
She was dressed in a striped blue and white dress by Japanese designer Sakai. We talk about her style and if she is influenced by French design house Dior, of which she is the face.
"I feel lucky to have this special relationship with Dior.
"They taught me a lot about fashion with the freedom of exploring...
"Before working with them, I didn't see it as a form of art, but now I do. I am always more than happy to wear the beautiful creations of Dior, but it is also fun to wear different designers."
Red carpets are not a favourite for her because "it is a very, very weird place where you have to be yourself, but at the same time in a position of exposing your better side".
She said: "It can be very stressful, so all I do to prepare is just breathe in and connect to the present time and be myself."
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