It’s your very first time here at Sundance. What are your first thoughts of Park City?
It’s absurd. It’s such a small town in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains, in the snow. It’s really kind of romantic. It’s not Hollywood-boring or superficial, it’s very natural here.
Do you ski or snowboard?
I’ve never been skiing in my life. I am very clumsy so I’m afraid I might break something.
What do you think makes “Jacqueline (Argentine)” so special and sets it apart from the other films this year?
It’s all [the director and screenwriter] Bernardo [Britto]. I think it’s a special movie, because it’s a whole monologue. The whole voiceover is just Bernardo talking to the audience about how he copes with being a young film director and how he copes with trying to make the most of it when there are so many movies that have already been made. It’s a very intimate monologue. It’s very special because this character I’m playing is just a crazy absurd French girl, and it was really fun to shoot.
What do you think makes a good director?
Doubts. Simplicity. I think a good director is someone who doubts a lot, who’s very simple, not too self-confident or pretentious and very open. He’s laid-back and he’s confident with his actor and doesn’t take things too seriously.
What was the camaraderie of the crew during filming?
It was incredible, because they’re all friends. They all went to NYU, and they’re all a good bunch of friends. I was very shy to just be the Parisian girl in this really cool New York underground with these people not taking themselves seriously. It was very touching, too, because this was the first time that they actually filmed a whole feature-length movie together and got money for it. It was very exciting.
Is it bittersweet when shooting is over? It must be fun to re-connect with the cast and crew for the festival.
Oh yeah, it’s really sad. You spend a month and a half with people you didn’t know, and then you become close. I went to New York last summer just for fun. It’s not just professional [relationships]. Bernardo is a very good friend of mine; he’s coming to Paris in a month to see me for holiday.
What did you find most challenging when filming this movie?
All of the interview stuff. I wanted to look as natural as possible and I like doing comedy, so I wanted to mix funny things and other times I needed to be more straight-forward – kind of like an Edward Snowden type of girl. I watched a lot of Edward Snowden interviews to try and look as natural and self-confident as he is. That was very challenging. And I thought I was very boring, because it was basically a lot of shots where I’m just speaking and sitting on a chair just like we’re doing now. It’s very difficult. In the movie there’s not as much, it just took a few days to do all the time.
Is that how you always prepare for roles?
It depends. I don’t have a method. I don’t like having a method. I think I’m much more instinctive, and then I have my secrets. For different scenes I’ll think of something very intimate to try to be as natural as possible to make the most of it, and I talk a lot with the director, of course.
What’s the best and worst acting advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take yourself too seriously, and the worst advice would be to try and be more feminine, try and look beautiful. I don’t like thinking of how I look when I’m acting. I try to forget about everything.
Are you the type of person who is hard on yourself when it comes to your work?
Yeah, but I’m also hard on others. I like my work, so I’m very proud of what I like and dislike, but I’m very hard with myself as well. It’s hard to like my work. It’s very hard to actually like yourself in a movie or in a play and go, “Oh, I’m amazing. I’m such a good actress!” That’s impossible. Even Gena Rowlands… I’m sure she didn’t like watching the close-ups of what her husband did.
Do you get nervous when you’re sitting with people in a theatre for a premiere?
Of course. I’m always nervous, but I need that emotion. If I’m not nervous then there’s something wrong.
Can you feel the energy in the audience?
Yes. Of course you want people to laugh. It’s all very instinctive; you feel everything. If the audience is bored, you feel it.
When is the last time you took a risk?
I directed a short film, and it was a dream. I want to direct movies as well.
How did that go?
It was great. I just finished the editing and everything. I had my premiere a week ago in Paris. That was a risk I took because it’s hard to like my film when I can see all of the problems. That was very difficult to present in front of an audience with a lot of people that work in the film industry. Obviously I’m an actress and, like most actors that direct movies, I think we all think about the actors, the characters, the aesthetics and how it will look. I was very nervous of how people would receive it.
And did you enjoy that whole process?
Yeah. It was incredible. I had a lot of fun.
Besides acting, what are some other things you are passionate about?
Where do you like to sit and write?
On my own, on the couch, in my flat. I can’t write in a bar or a café. I’ll just look at people. If I’m on my own on the couch, it’s better.
Are you a homebody?
I like bars in the evening.
What would you say is a common trait that all storytellers have?
Do you read the reviews of your movies?
I do. Bad or good, it’s part of the job.
Is it easy for you to brush off criticism?
Yeah, I don’t care. I don’t like myself in movies, and it’s hard to like myself, so sometimes I agree with them. If they don’t like “Jacqueline (Argentine)” I’ll be sad though, because I really like this movie. I really like it. I really want to talk about it. I’m very proud of Bernardo. I think he made a great movie. He’s very talented. The whole crew, they’re all incredible.
What’s your drink of choice, if you’re not drinking coffee or tea?
I like red wine, of course. It’s very elegant.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Ooh la la. So many of them. Rowan Atkinson. Mr. Bean. I think he’s a great actor. John Cleese, as well. He’s an English actor. Steve Buscemi. Quentin Tarantino.
KIRSTEN MICCOLI PHOTOGRAPHY / A DRINK WITH in the Acura Studio
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