Is this your first “starring role”?
Yes, we can say that, even if I had already had important scores. But here, I am so well supported by my partners, in particular Léa Drucker and Ahmed Sylla, that I only realized that I was in on all plans when I saw the film edited. Above all, I experienced this shoot as a collective adventure. It started during the second confinement and we were lucky enough to go all the way, when it was not obvious. We were all happy to find the trays. We took each day of work as a gift. In such a context, unconsciously, we give everything and even a little more than usual.
Angèle, your character, does she look like you?
She is quite far from me and I envy certain traits of her personality. I would like to have his chat, his sense of repartee. So when I was given the opportunity to have it, I didn’t go halfway, but greedily, delighting in every scene! In addition, there is a great range of acting with this romance between Angèle and Edouard, embodied by Ahmed Sylla, this rebellious side that she has to defend the women of the square, the sacrifices she makes to be able to be there. It’s huge for one and the same role. It’s rare that we are offered such colorful characters. I don’t know if, at the end of filming, I left with a bit of Angèle in me, but I hope so.
I’m sure that the roles leave us traces, consequences, good or bad sometimes. I’m tattooed with all the characters I’ve played.
Angèle says that these women who babysit other people’s children are queens. For you too ?
Yes, they are queens, heroines of our daily lives. And yet, in general, no one dwells on them.
But our society needs it a lot. As a mother, I wonder what we would do without them… Julien Rambaldi offered me this role when I had just spent time with my son – who was 1 year old at the time – in a small children’s club in Paris. We did yoga, music, a whole bunch of things for Parisian ailments, I’m well aware of that. There I met those nannies the film is about. They touched me a lot. I listened to them talk, they made me laugh. Often, they talked about the situations they were experiencing with their employers. I have seen how protective they are of the little ones they take care of, they love them as their own. For them, the child is the future, a being that we raise, a future that we try to improve. I said to myself that they deserved that we really talk about them.
Six months later, I received the script!
In “In therapy”, you played a lawyer. Here, you are one, but without a diploma. Does this sense of justice belong to you?
Surely. I have a lot of respect for people who are committed to others. As a child, I wanted to become a lawyer, a judge for children, so maybe this aspect resonates with some directors! I was hired very young, I liked to speak for my classmates, I always presented myself to be a class representative.
Growing up, I lost my naivety and my illusions. Today, I am involved, among other things, with the Women’s Foundation, but, even if I can sometimes appear publicly, my commitment is on the ground and most often silent, I do not express it loud and clear.
It is also related to my education. My parents often told me: “When you give, you shouldn’t talk about it. I also believe in children, in education, in the future. I work in Mali, I have a very strong link with this country.
Is making cinema also a commitment?
I’ve always dreamed of scenarios that highlight everyday people that we tend not to look at, the invisible ones. I have a weakness for giving them a voice.
I find people beautiful, I think we all are, I like when we remember it and when we sublimate the human.
When did you confess you wanted to be an actress?
When I realized that I was quite unhappy when I wasn’t playing. I must have been 22. The theater was instilled in me by a CP teacher, who transmitted his passion to me. He put us on stage very quickly and I took a liking to it.
Since then, it has never left me. I said to myself: “I am an actress, I am going to do films and theatre, but I need a job. “I come from a family of six children, parents born in Mali, my mother did accounting, she is very rooted in the soil. My father is a dreamer, a movie buff who loves westerns. He is very peaceful, often says that all people are beautiful, that humans are not bad. He let us pursue our passions. Talking to my father rejuvenates me, makes me feel good. Perhaps I got this desire for commitment and justice from him, because I would like the world to be as it said it was.
“I’m tattooed with all the characters I’ve played”
You said: “Acting makes me beautiful. “Is it related too?
Beautiful in the best sense. The more you embody different characters, the more you gain in tolerance. I try to transmit these values to my 5 year old son, with loyalty, sharing, family. He also teaches me a lot.
Your career started in the theatre, but was it “the sense of celebration” that started it all?
Everything, I don’t know, but it is certain that there was a before and an after. This film gave a boost to my career. It made more than three million admissions, so people saw me, people took an interest in me, and I was able to have access to more projects.
And besides, you don’t stop anymore, don’t you?
In January, I will be in Brillantes, by Sylvie Gautier, where I play one of the housekeepers who see their box being bought out and rebel against their new boss. Then there will be the Chamber of Wonders, by Lisa Azuelos, where I play a surgeon facing a boy in a coma. I also played an educator in Paradise, Zeno Graton’s first film. And finally, there is Hawaii, an choral film by Mélissa Drigeard. Right now, I’m shooting Fury, a Kill Bill-like Netflix series, I have the role of a relentless psychopath. It’s true, I’ve had a lot of fun over the past few years. The roles are different, I don’t like settling into just one style. My conception of this job is to live several lives in one.
“You have to know how to take risks in life,” says Angèle. What do you think ?
I try to do it less since I became a mother, but I take it in my artistic choices. I hope that I will not be pigeonholed, even if my filmography now shows that I can go on several terrains. We like to put labels on people, so when I choose characters with a strong character, I wonder if I’ll be asked to play a very shy person, when I’m interested. But these risks, I assume them.
The women of the square, by Julien Rambaldi. Released November 16.