If you first discovered Ludivine Sagnier, as many movie lovers did in the early 00s through the films of François Ozon, the sensation was something like wide-eyed whiplash. One moment she was the exuberant tomboyish daughter of Catherine Deneuve in the musical 8 Women and the next she was anything but as a lusty bikini-clad (or unclad) vixen causing trouble for Charlotte Rampling in the thriller Swimming Pool. Both films were international hits and her turn as "Tinker Bell" in the UK/USA/Australia production of Peter Pan further upped her profile. Sagnier has been a movie star in France ever since.
Currently both The Devil's Double in which she plays leading lady to a Dominic Cooper double-act and the thriller Love Crime in which she plays headgames with Kristin Scott Thomas are now in theaters and Beloved with Catherine Deneuve will undoubtedly follow; consider her international profile revived.
I sat down to talk with one of my favorite French actresses earlier this year during New York City's annual Rendezvous with French Cinema event. After introductions and a bit of small talk about French cinema and The Film Experience's actressy nature, we got down to business.
NATHANIEL: You started so young Cyrano de Bergerac (1990). You were all of 9 or 10!
LUDIVINE: People always ask me how I got started. My story is so common that it's a bit tiring. I went to an audition with my sister who wanted to be an actress and they asked me if I wanted to do an audition and they picked me and didn't take her. It happens so many times in the industry. I've talked to a lot of actresses...
NATHANIEL: So when you were first coming up as an actor in France were you conscious of this great legacy. Like you're next in line after Huppert and Deneuve and well, so many actresses... France makes great ones.
LUDIVINE: NO! I Didn't see myself that concretely... I didn't like myself that much in the beginning. But it's funny because I just shot a movie where I was playing Catherine Deneuve in the 1960s and she is playing me older. It's Beloved from Christophe Honoré who I did Love Songs with. Maybe this time I had the feeling that we are part of the same family, that we have a common story. First she was my mom in 8 Women. Then I was Chiara's sister in Love Songs and Chiara is her daughter. And now Chiara is my daughter in Beloved. Everything is so mixed up!!!
And now I dare think we share the same history. When I started... NO.