Parisienne Léa Seydoux has only been acting for a few years but she's been racking up credits in big-name American films and art house gems alike. (She is also the gamine face of Prada Candy perfume and has appeared in ad campaigns for Prada Resort.)
Seydoux's resume includes "Inglourious Basterds," "Robin Hood," "Midnight in Paris" and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," as well as foreign films like "Farewell, My Queen" with Diane Kruger and "Mysteries of Lisbon" by the late Raoul Ruiz. Her latest film, "Sister," is a drama about a preteen boy who steals and sells ski equipment at a fancy Swiss resort to support himself and his older sister. Louise, played by Seydoux, can't or won't keep a job and occasionally disappears for days on end to leave wily Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) to fend for himself. "Sister," which was directed and co-written by Ursula Meier, is Switzerland's official Oscar submission, so between that and Seydoux's upcoming films, you'll be seeing a lot more of this gorgeous actress in the future.
You had a scene in the film with your little brother where you had quite a row. Were you afraid of hurting him?
Yeah! You mean during the shooting?
Yeah, did you choreograph it?
No, not at all. No. But it was more ... he doesn't punch me. It's more like [wrestling].
How do you split your time between acting and modeling and fashion, especially when you're promoting a movie? How do you decide?
But, you know, I'm not a model. I don't know why people say that, but I'm not … I like fashion and enjoy [being photographed], but I do like all the fashion photos that I've done are for movies and stuff, promotion. I'm not, I don't know why people say that!
I love the movie "Brotherhood of the Wolf," directed by Christophe Gans. You're starring in his next movie, "Beauty and the Beast." Is it going to be really sexy and violent?
Scary, maybe, more than violent, but yeah, it's gonna be a big thing.
And I'm sure you've met [co-star] Vincent Cassel already ...
No, not really. I met him for, maybe, six seconds one day. I just shook his hand, and that's it.
He seems like he'll be perfect as the Beast. Very sexy.
What was your very first acting gig?
It was on a TV series, a very bad one [laughs], and I had, like, one day of shooting ... I was not so young. I was maybe 18.
Was it like you fell into it? I mean, you have in your family a lot of people involved in film ...?
No, no, it was a personal choice. Like, I decided to become an actress at 18, and, no, because my family are mostly producers, so it's not really the same … It wasn't like something natural for me to do this choice. It's really something that I decided [at a later age]. I remember when I told my friends and my family that I wanted to be an actress, they were [surprised] … I don't have any actors in my family, and yeah, it's like, my grandfather is a producer [but] I didn't — it's my grandfather. He didn't raise me.
Did you splurge on anything really awesome when you got your "Mission Impossible" check?
But I wasn't paid that much on "Mission: Impossible"! [Laughing]
No, because it's like, they know that you can't refuse so they don't, no. But yes, I bought something when I started to work and earn my money, I bought a watch, a gold watch.
That seems like a good goal purchase.
When I'm working a lot, after, I like to spoil myself.
How do you do that?
Shopping. I'm like, okay, today I'm buying everything. Everything that I want, I'll buy it! [Laughs]
Do you prefer New York or L.A.?
I think New York is more my lifestyle, but I like L.A., too. I really love L.A. because I have friends there, and I like the easy life. Everything's easier.
It smells really good.
But here, too. I really like the smell of New York. It has a special smell that I really like. Even products — I love to buy products here, like toothpaste and shampoo [giggling] because they have this smell that I really like, and that is, for me, the smell of America.
When I was young, I was always going to summer camps for vacation, so I remember that I was eating candies, American candies, and they have also that special taste. And every time I come here, I like to buy candies, and just the smell of it reminds me of memories of my childhood.
Do you get recognized on the street?
No, nope. In New York, maybe, more than Paris! I remember last time I came here, some people were like, "Hey, I know you! You know that I know you from 'Midnight in Paris'!" And some people told me that, but in Paris, nope. Because I think I am a chameleon. It's true. I can change myself. Really. In my everyday life, I don't wear makeup, I don't dress ... I like to not be recognized. And I think in Paris, also, they are shy.
What kind of movies do you like to watch?
Maybe romantic. I love love stories!
What would your dream role be?
I don't know. I don't like to think about it, because I like to be surprised. So there's many roles that I would love to [do], but I don't know. And I also believe in the director's desire, so I think that when you're desired by a director, you are the character, you see what I mean? You are the character that you play. I'm never like, "Yes, I read this script, I have to meet this director because I feel that I'm just the right person for that." For me, it's also a love story between an actor and a director.
You've worked with some amazing directors already, and Ursula Meier — it's always wonderful to see a female director with a strong point of view.
I really like that because you are equal. And I love women, you know? I have a great admiration for women.