Rust and Bone is an interesting, fresh take on a love story. It’s also a tale about accepting what comes, even if you pay an ultimate price. Often times hard to watch, but brutally real, director Jacques Audiard has made a film worthy of your time. He also happens to get solid performances out of both Marion Cotillard, and relative newcomer Matthias Schoenartes. While Cotillard has been proven time again a worthy actress, Schoenartes really shines through.
Recently, we were fortunate enough to sit down with Audiard, Schoenartes, Cotillard, and co-writer Thomas Bidegan to discuss the film.
What was the challenge of playing a character who goes through a long period of depression, as well as the use of CGI?
Marion Cotillard: I never really see it as a challenge. It’s just an exploration of a story. What was different from what I’ve done before, when I read the script, Stephanie was still a mystery by the end. That was a myster Jacques and I needed to solve. Usually when I work, I need to explore every bit of the character, I need to know who this person is. I realized that mystery was not to be solved entirely because it is part of who she is.
For Mr. Audiard, you’ve showed such diversity over the course of your films. What draws you to that?
What came first was the desire to tell a love story. We just finished working on A Prophet, that movie was set in jail, society of man where you have no light and no space. We wanted a strong female character, we wanted space, and we wanted light. I read the short stories of Craig Davidson, and we piled our desire to tell a love story on top of Craig Davidson. Craig Davidson provided us the universe with the violence, but we really wanted to tell a love story.
For Marion; You had some difficult scenes or demands, first working with the whales, and then adapt to the legs you had to wear. What was most difficult?
What was most difficult was going to Marineland, because you have to consider the animal as an actual animal and not as an animal that was turned into a clown or something. The first day I was kind of horrified when I would ask them to do something and they would do it. I thought the connection was easy to have, because I would give them some fish, and they would do what I’d ask. On the second day, I had this scene where the whales were behind the glass, and that was all improvised from what I had learned. That day I had real communication with the whale, and it changed everything for me.
For the physicality, it was never an issue. The CGI guys were really talented. They were very discrete on set, and they were with us every day. The fact that I actually have legs never got in our way and was never an issue. I wore green socks and they erased my legs. We had funny moments where I had to put my legs in funny positions, where I wouldn’t create a shadow.
When did you two get acquainted, and what was the hardest scene to act and direct?
Marion Cotillard: We didn’t know each other beforehand. I didn’t know Matthias work, because I hadn’t seen Bullhead. We met before we started shooting, at a reading with Jacques with the script.
Matthias Schoenartes: The hardest scene was actually one that didn’t look like the hardest scene. It was a phone call in the night. Somehow we didn’t get it right. We shot it at different places at different times of the day, but you see it on the page and it’d be easy.
Marion Cotillard: I really don’t find what would be the hardest scene. The hardest would be more technical was when I had to swim in the sea. First because it was mid-October and it was cold, and second because I was bit by a jellyfish. I knew if I went to the boat they would stay there longer, with the jellyfish bite. And I didn’t allow anyone to pee on myself, so yeah, that must have been the hardest scene.
Jacques Audiard: The hardest one was that moment when he’s beating his child. It’s very tough to do. It was complicated, because I went for it and the kid started really playing, and he built a relationship with Matthias. When he was acting with Marion, it was Marion directing him, and Matthias was acting with him, it was Matthias directing him. We told him in advance we’d be shaking and screaming at him even though it was terrible.
In each one of your films, you use a lot of pop music. Is that something you write into the script, or is that part of the post-production process?
Jacques Audiard: I’ve been listening to a lot of music during the writing process, but it’s in the editing where we put it. I also knew Alexandre Desplat’s score will come. And Katy Perry was something different. Katy Perry is the actual music of the show, and when you think about those animals who have to listen to Katy Perry four times a day, that’s cruelty right there.
Marion Cotillard: I kind of like Katy Perry actually.
Matthias, your work out regimen must have been grueling. What was it like to adjust to that?
Matthias Schoenaerts: Well, it’s something that never feels like a sacrifice. It just feels like something that has to be done. When you’re passionate about the project, it’s just something that you need to get done. You just do it. I don’t consider it as an effort, and I did a lot of boxing for this film. I had to grow a belly because Jacques wanted me to look strong but not fit. I had to hit the gym to gain a little mass. You have the goal in mind, and it’s really intense. It’s a lot of sports, there’s a lot of energy going into that. It’s all about the goal, it’s all about the character. It’s just part of what we do.
Rust and Bone is in theaters now.