Lou de Laâge has been in theater since she was ten years old because it was her dream since she was six. According to her, it was like an obsession. At eighteen, she went to Paris to do Drama School and during that period, she worked either in Cinema or in Television. She deems herself very lucky because when she arrived in Paris, she didn’t have money to pay for school. She met an advertising agent and asked him for something very discreet because she didn’t want to do advertising. The agent told her she would be introduced to an actor agency and that is how her film career started. Nominated twice for the French Academy’s Most Promising Actress Award for her roles in Christian Duguay’s “Jappeloup” and Mélanie Laurent’s “Breathe”, Lou de Laâge also starred opposite Juliette Binoche in Piero Messina’s debut “The Wait”, which premiered in Competition at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. She is also the lead in the French-Polish co-production “Agnus Dei” directed by Anne Fontaine that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Now a Shooting Star at this year’s Berlinale, Tara Karajica talks to her about her career, being a Shooting Star and the IT French actress at the moment, her theater company and her next projects.
Your big break was in Christian Duguay’s Jappeloup, right? Can you talk about that film?
L.d.L: Yeah! But, I did movies before, but Jappeloup was the most watched one. Actually, in the French film industry, people began to know me with this movie. So, that’s helped me too… Because, sometimes people don’t want to see you at castings because they don’t know you and with Jappeloup people became more curious about me.
And then you went on and did other bigger films like Breathe, The Tournament, The Wait and now Agnus Dei that premiered at Sundance… Do you like the direction your career is going in now?
L.d.L.: For me, it’s very good because it’s always a new challenge; all the films are very different and so are my characters. But, yes, I’m happy because I have the perception I’m growing in this job.
What do you expect of the Shooting Stars?
L.d.L.: I don’t know! I’m very happy to have met all these people; to be here today. I don’t know what will happen after this because, for each of us, it is very different and I prefer not to think too much about that.
You also perform onstage. What do you prefer, Cinema or the stage?
L.d.L.: My first passion is theater but, now, I like both and I am very happy to do both, because I think theater gives many things to Cinema and Cinema gives many things to theater.
I think people need to put you in a box. But, I don’t care!
You are the IT French actress of the moment…
L.d.L.: There are many IT French actresses, you know!
But… not all of them are often compared to Brigitte Bardot and Jean Seberg….
L.d.L.: That is funny! I think people need to put you in a box. But, I don’t care, you know! If people want to say that, OK… Because Brigitte Bardot is a beautiful woman and so is Jean Seberg! But, I think I’m not her. I have my own way of doing things…
Are they maybe your inspiration then?
L.d.L.: My inspiration, I don’t know… But, when I was a kid, I was fascinated by Tim Burton, Tarantino, Cocteau, Jacques Demy, Charlie Chaplin… But, you know, I don’t have an inspiration because I’m not a fan of anybody. I admire many people, but I need to know people to become inspired.
Would you go back to modeling?
L.d.L.: No! It was only for money… Maybe for money one day…
What are your next projects?
L.d.L.: Theater. I do theater because I have my own company and I do that with my friends. And afterwards, I have another big project – a big theatre project – but I can’t talk about it. Everybody told me “Shhhh! It’s a secret, so don’t say anything.”
Can you talk about your theater company?
L.d.L.: I did it with my friend from drama school because I think it’s important. I don’t want to wait all the time for someone who wants to work with me. So, I think it’s important to create and that is why I’m doing it with my friend.
This interview was conducted at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.