The Artist's Bérénice Bejo On Jean Dujardin, Her Husband Michel Hazanavicius
Bérénice Bejo doesn't say a word in The Artist, the silent French film directed by her husband, Michel Hazanavicius. But now Bejo is speaking up about her Golden Globe-nominated performance that has everyone saying "ooh la la."
Bejo was born in Argentina and moved to Paris when she was three. She has been in various French films and television shows since she was 17, but her first American debut was her role alongside Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale (2001). Ten years later, she stars in her second American film, as the vivacious and beloved dancing silent film actress, Peppy Miller, who gradually upstages her more experienced co-star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). Bejo met Hazanavicius while acting in his film, OSS: 117 Cairo, Nest Of Spies, and together they have two children.
In many ways, Bejo identified with her character in The Artist. “What I really like about Peppy,” she tells Uinterview exclusively, “is the way she never takes herself seriously and just enjoys every moment.”
- Q: How did you react to the news that you and 'The Artist' were nominated for Golden Globes? - Uinterview User
- A: I was very happy. I was very happy and proud for Michel and Jean and very surprised. I was not expecting it for me so I was really, you know, I felt part of the group.
- Q: Was it difficult acting in a silent film? - Uinterview User
- A: Not really because the challenge is more for the audience because there is no dialogue and they can’t hear anything. But for me, I had dialogue. I learned lines so on set I was acting the same way as usual. What was cool is that we put music on set and so Michel would put dramatic music when there was a dramatic scene or beautiful, joyful music when [my character Peppy] gets into the new studios and is going for the audition. I get out of the bus and I’m so happy, so we put Vivaldi on set. As an actor, it’s such a great help to have music to put you in a special mood.
- Q: How did you prepare for the role? - Uinterview User
- A: I didn’t really study. I just followed Michel. He was watching so many movies at home and reading books and so I just followed him because so we had something to share in the evenings. I read a lot of things and I really enjoyed that part, just last year when I was reading and watching a lot of movies and reading books with pictures of the movie stars back in that time. At one point, I felt like I knew everybody — Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell — and I was very excited to be part of that kind of movie, and I felt kind of like one of those actors.
- Q: Were there any difficulties on set, working with your husband? - Uinterview
- A: You just put more pressure on yourself the first few days, and then Michel came to me and he said, 'OK you know you deserve this part, you’re good enough to be here, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody, just relax and just trust me and trust yourself.' So after three or four days, I actually let it go and just focused on the work.
- Q: You play an actress in the film. In what ways are you like Peppy Miller? - Uinterview
- A: What I really like about Peppy is the way she never takes herself seriously and just enjoys every moment. I think I’m going to keep that in mind. It’s everything — you know? I’m going to try not to take everything too seriously.
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