From ‘Call My Agent!’ to Hollywood Career
At some point in the pandemic, perhaps between the debut of “Ted Lasso” last August and “Bridgerton” in December, you may have stumbled upon Netflix’s French import “Call My Agent!” (“Dix Pour Cent” in French), a sweet but absurd sendoff from the global entertainment complex seen through the lens of a Parisian talent agency where the agents are mostly kind-hearted cinema lovers at the mercy of their very demanding. clients.
If so, you are one of the millions of people who have discovered Camille Cottin, the French actress who played Andrea Martel, the fierce green-eyed killer who tries to keep her agency afloat as her personal life collapses.
The show was one of the few joys of the pandemic, one that drew viewers to sample additional international content like “Lupine” and “Money Heist”, overcoming “the one-inch subtitle barrier of top ”that the director of“ Parasite ”, Bong Joon Ho, mentioned during his speech at the Golden Globes 2020. The success of“ Call My Agent! Has generated spinoffs in Great Britain, Quebec and Turkey. And now there is talk of an independent film that will see Andrea Martel travel to New York.
But Cottin, 42, whose background includes theater and sketch comedy, completely missed the “Call My Agent!” Phenomenon. became in the United States while in confinement in Paris with her husband and two young children. Turns out she was just as miserable as we are.
“I was pretty worried about the pandemic and was a bit paralyzed,” Cottin said in English on a recent video call. “I wanted to be creative, but I wasn’t at all. I also felt like I would never work again. I was afraid.”
“Now you tell me that during the pandemic everyone watched ‘Call My Agent! “I was miles away, imagining I was buried alive,” she added with a grim laugh.
Cottin was conducting this interview in a car on his way home from a costume fitting for the Cannes Film Festival. (No “Call My Agent!” Fans, the fitting didn’t involve a picky feathered dress like the one Juliette Binoche awkwardly donned at the end of season 2.) Cottin’s new movie “Stillwater”, in which she plays Virginie, a working actress and single mother who guides Matt Damon’s remorseful father through an ill-conceived trip to Marseille, has just made her debut with mostly positive reviews. Manohla Dargis called it “electric” in the New York Times. Vanity Fair called her performance “brilliant and seductive”.
But that moment in the car was a lot less glamorous. Her 6-year-old daughter was sleeping soundly with her head in her mother’s lap. And when the car pulled up, I could see Cottin multitasking at work, picking up his groggy child, a pink taffeta beanbag in one arm, his video call still on in the other, a bright Parisian sky behind – plan. She paused for a moment to put her daughter to bed before continuing the conversation on her bathroom floor, a compromise she made with her child, who asked her not to stray too far. Then her husband, Benjamin, came home. “The father is here! she exclaimed. “Virginie should have handled this situation on her own.”
After a small role in “Allied” in 2016 with Brad Pitt, “Stillwater” represents Cottin’s biggest introduction to American audiences to date. Perhaps this is the role that officially allows her to go from obscure French actress to global sensation. Later this year, she will star alongside Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci”, as Paola Franchi, the girlfriend of Maurizio Gucci (Driver). And she’s about to reprise her role as Helen, a high-ranking member of the organization Murdering the Twelve, in the BBC’s “Killing Eve”.
The international community awoke to Cottin’s charms long before all of us in the United States were stranded at home. When “Call my agent!” Appeared on British television, Cottin discovered that the show had found an audience across the Channel. It was 2019 and she was attending a casting director festival in Kilkenny, Ireland with her own French agent. Suddenly she was the center of attention.
“They were like, ‘Oh, can I take a selfie with you? And I was like, “What? You are the casting director of James Bond, ”she laughed.
This trip and another to London led him to his casting in “Gucci” and his meeting with the producer of “Killing Eve”.
Still, “Call my agent! Had no bearing on “Stillwater” director Tom McCarthy’s decision to cast Cottin. He hadn’t seen the show yet when he met her. Rather, he hired her on the basis of an audition that he said surprised him and his co-writers, Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré.
“You can’t take your eyes off her when she’s on screen,” he said in a recent interview in France. “It’s a bit scattered all over the place. She’s funny, she’s self-deprecating, she’s empathetic. She is hard. It is straightforward. And I have the impression that after watching her for a year and a half in the editing room, every moment with her is very lived.
For Cottin, Virginia, who is open and caring and always looking for something to fix (like Damon’s thug in the Oklahoman), is almost a facsimile of herself.
“Virginie is the closest character I have had to play with me,” she said even though it was one of the few roles she played in English. “We have the same energy. And so far I have mostly relied on women with a lot more tension. A little more control.
There is a disarming ease to Cottin that is evident in the initial introduction and belies the icy polish of his “Call My Agent!” character. She doesn’t take herself too seriously – McCarthy calls her “clumsy” – and you quickly realize how great her potential for comedy is. It’s a skill she demonstrated in her best-known French role, starring in the TV show “Connasse”, which means “bitch” in her native language. His exploits included climbing Kensington Palace in search of an introduction to Prince Harry.
A “Call my agent!” Producer Dominique Besnehard described Cottin as “the pretty, biting, daring” who in the role of Andrea “is very good at going from hardness to fragility”.
For Cottin, she is a character that she admires and understands at the same time, but that she still finds far from her own personality.
“I have a lot less confidence than Andrea. She’s more self-confident, strategic and good at making decisions, ”she said. “If I have to make a choice, it will take too long, always too long. And I’ll ask everyone their opinion on this.
Cottin is decidedly not uncertain about her career, but as an actress in her 40s, she is more aware that the highs she is experiencing today may not predict the highs she will see in her. to come up.
“Maybe if I was 20 I would think, ‘Oh my God, maybe I’m going to have an Oscar,’” she laughed with a mocking American accent. “It’s never vertical. You can take a step, you can consider that you have gone up and then suddenly you can come back down. Nothing is a straight line. I see these projects as trips, great trips. I can’t say, “Oh, now that I’ve done this, I can tell you what’s next,” because I don’t know. And that doesn’t mean it will happen again.
Besnehard suggested that she could have a career like Binoche, taking roles in both France and the United States. “I hope the American people don’t monopolize it,” he said.
McCarthy sees a much clearer trajectory.
“I’m predicting big things for Cami and not just because of our movie, in which I think she’s sensational, but it’s just her time,” he said. “You can feel it when someone has won a moment in their career and got down to business, and they’re ready to take control of it. “
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