Marion Cotillard Tells Story Of Feeling “Manipulated” By A Filmmaker: “I Felt Like An Object, And I Really Hated It”

Marion Cotillard is one of the most respected actors in the world. For decades, she’s not only been a force in French cinema, but she has crossed over into Hollywood productions in films such as “Inception,” “Contagion,” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” But all that success doesn’t mean Cotillard has been immune from shitty experiences during production.

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In a new interview with Variety, Marion Cotillard talked about her new Cannes film, “Little Girl Blue,” which is a docudrama from filmmaker Mona Achache. In discussing the creation of the film and how it blurs the line between documentary and drama and how a filmmaker interacts with an actress, Cotillard recalled a time on set with an unnamed male director who attempted to use his position to manipulate the actress.

“It happened to me only once where I felt that I was being manipulated by a director, and I really didn’t like that,” she explained. 

The acclaimed actress would not name the male director who treated her this way, but she did say that he excused his manipulation as “a process of working together with a collaborative connection.” Soon after, it was clear to Cottilard that the filmmaker was truly trying to manipulate her.

“I thought: ‘Is he manipulating me because he thinks that I’m going to be unable to give him what he needs, what he wants, if he doesn’t act this way? And I felt like an object, and I really hated it,” Cotillard said. “And the thing is, I saw right away all the manipulation, and I had the judgment that it was kind of dumb that you can’t ask me to do things without trying to use ways of manipulation that really don’t work with me, with my personality as a woman, I mean, as a human being, and as an actress. I need to work hand in hand [with the director].”

Obviously, nowadays the idea of a director using underhanded methods to manipulate his performers is frowned upon in a major way. We’ve seen, over the past several years, endless stories from actors recalling times when directors did something terrible on set. So, it’s not surprising that Cotillard has experienced that. But it does go to show that even someone as respected as she can still experience something terrible on set. 

“Little Girl Blue” recently debuted at Cannes. An international release has yet to be announced.