Charlotte Gainsbourg: “I didn’t know what to give my father because he had everything”


“Daughter of” become a cesarized actress and internationally recognized artist, Charlotte Gainsbourg was in Paris to talk about My stupid dog, the new film from her partner Yvan Attal, in which she plays alongside her eldest son, Ben. Mother of three, she has been expatriated in New York for six years, where she has written and recorded an album, taken photos and drawings, but also regained the freedom of anonymity. In the filming of the next film by Benoît Jacquot, Suzanna Andler, the adaptation of the eponymous play by Marguerite Duras, it is also expected in season 4 of the series Ten percent. 100% French projects that herald the return of the star to Paris.

Madame Figaro. – One of our recent surveys focuses on couple therapy and gives some keys to surviving in a conjugal environment. What do you think is the secret of the longevity of the Gainsbourg / Attal couple?
Charlotte Gainsbourg. – There is no secret. There is no way to do it and we are not immune to separation, a crisis … We have no lessons to teach and we are very lucky to have held out. There are so many couples who separate.

Tripadvisor is currently singled out by restaurateurs tired of being badly rated by non-specialists. And you, do you read the reviews of your films? What relationship do you have with comments on the networks?
I am completely protected from all this. I started an Instagram account not too long ago, because I was told that I was stupid not to use it. Other than that, I don’t do anything, I don’t listen to anything and I don’t watch anything. It’s not that I underestimate the critics, but it will affect me if I hear bad things about me, it’s hurtful, so what’s the point? I will not be better in a future film.

In our survey of casting directors, we set out to follow the daily lives of these shadow professionals. Which casting has marked you most in your career?
Without hesitation, my first casting with Margot Capelier. My mother had lunch with her and knew that Élie Chouraqui, the director of Lyrics and Music, was looking for two children – one of whom was my age. I rushed to these tests, and that was the start for me. To win, to convince, it was very important. I remember the wait for weeks after the tests. I think I remember that at the end we were only two in the running and I got the role; it was a great victory.

In video, “My stupid dog”, the trailer

The seamstress of Elizabeth II revealed in a book how the queen broke the protocol for playing with James Bond. What about you, what was the craziest thing you did to get a role?
It’s not something that I did the craziest, but it seemed incredible to me to be chosen for AntiChrist. My meeting with Lars Van Trier did not look very promising. He hadn’t given me a scene. I had the feeling that he was not very interested and that I was not suffering enough for him, given the role. To my surprise, he called me two days later to tell me that I was chosen. I went to Denmark, to Copenhagen, to meet him. The time I tested in Los Angeles, pregnant to the teeth, that may have been the craziest thing I did.

“Watching a horror film is a way of feeling alive,” commented Dominique Sipière, a specialist in classic Hollywood cinema. Do you like horror movies and which spectator are you?
I was raised to horror movies. My first memory of cinema dates back to 1975, I was 4 years old and my mother took us, my sister and me, to see Jaws without obviously realizing that it was one. My sister was 8 years old and I don’t think it traumatized her as much as I did. I never really got over it. I have the soundtrack in mind, it was sealed in my gut.

In one of our recent surveys on differentiated education, we set out to identify the interests of this kind of system, in particular by questioning adolescents about their feelings. What have your college years been like for girls and boys?
I currently live in the United States, and it is done a lot there, but I can’t see the bright side. I feel like it’s a step backwards. What struck me as a teenager was the discovery of boys. If the history of the school is only performance. So, yes, let’s make toy soldiers not interested in sex. But if school is also the school of life, we are in need of many things! I know that my early sexual awakening, as a teenager, was one of the most important things.

Chubby thighs, protruding ears, more generous shapes, more atypical physique… In the fashion world, the codes of beauty are evolving. What is your definition of beauty and how do you feel beautiful?
I find all women beautiful. And the more we broaden the spectrum of beauty canons, the more we will all get richer. There is nothing worse than these stereotypes. My little girls are in the United States and the thing I dread the most is the American canons of beauty: big breasts, excessive makeup, the side contouring. I find it super depressing and it is especially a nightmare for young girls who are not in these canons of beauty. I know that I am flat as a breadboard, but I had the model of my mother, who was not much more trained. As she is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, it did not give me a complex. But I had plenty. Precisely, in comparison with my mother, I was so much less beautiful. I was an ugly duckling and I felt very complex for a long time.

The top Cindy Bruna recently gave us her good New York addresses. What attracts you to this city and makes you stay there?
The fact that it’s not at home. But I’m going to come back, I feel that there it is, I did the time it took. In the end, it will have been six years away from home, that’s good. I needed it, I love New York. I will miss it very much, I love being anonymous. Once I find myself there, being able to go completely unnoticed in the streets, having nothing to do with the way I am dressed, it gives room for something else. It allowed me to watch people, talk to them and it made me so much more open and curious. I hope that when I return to Paris, I will have acquired something. I’m not going to come back and curl up like I always have.

Our subject Eco-citizens by nature recently zoomed in on modern heroines who cultivate the desire to improve their environment. What are your ecological gestures ?
I would like to be much more. But I don’t have the weapons, I don’t have enough education. Maybe I am not listening enough. In New York, there is sorting done on plastic, paper, so we do it, of course, it is mandatory, but we do not do it in full awareness. We don’t really know how the materials are reused, what the chain is, how we can help … Me, in Paris, there is no sorting. We are completely backward. I think we should all be aware of what we put in our toilets… We now see in hotels that it has become very commonplace, to make us aware of the washing of sheets and not to give our towels all every day, because you realize the mass of detergents they have to use.

“I didn’t think you would get out of it,” was what Michael Douglas said to his son Cameron on a TV set, after the latter almost foundered in drugs. Do you remember a memorable phrase your father said to you? And do you often repeat the same sentence to your children?
I wanted to redo my nose when I was a teenager, I was very complex. My father said to me, “It would be the biggest mistake you would make.” Your whole identity and especially your whole personality resides in the nose, and the women who have their noses redone lose their personality. ” He told me so very convincingly, and I repeat this to my children today, who are sometimes not satisfied with what they look like.

The founder of the luxury resale site Collector Square made her best sale with a Hermès crocodile bag sold for 50,000 euros. What is the greatest gift you have ever given yourself in your life? And if not, who do you give gifts to?
I give gifts to my children because I know what they want. What always embarrassed me was that I didn’t know what to give my father because he had everything. There were, of course, the drawings, the plasticine and the works that were brought back from school. But once I was a little more adult, I wanted to please her, I had money and I was completely destitute. As for me, when I was very young – I must have been 16 years old, the money I earned on films was put in the Caisse des Dépôts and consigned because I was not allowed to touch it. I had a small percentage with which I could have fun. It was much more than pocket money, it was quite royal, and I bought myself a Chloé coat. I think it was worth 10,000 francs at the time. It was insane. I think I must have been ashamed to talk about it and I think I kept it to myself.

Our travel section listed the new addresses in vogue in the mountains. What does a successful vacation look like at home?
It is always a family and active vacation. I hate doing nothing, I am deeply bored on a beach. Today, I really want to travel. I’m tired of going to the same places, I want to discover the world.

What will be the next destination?
I have been there before, but I dream of taking my children and Yvan to Russia, but also to Ukraine, because my father’s parents came from there. I would love to discover a little closer to where I come from.

Alex Beaupain told us that he was not on top of his optimism. And you, what makes you optimistic?
Carelessness. I think it’s a form of optimism. Unsuspecting. And I am deeply: I do not get out so badly like that. I ignore the grievances. Suddenly, things are erased quite easily.

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