Berenice Bejo Video Interview On ‘The Artist,’ Michel Hazanavicius
She doesn’t say a word in The Artist, the silent French film directed by her husband, Michel Hazanavicius. But now Bérénice Bejo is speaking up about her Oscar-nominated performance that has everyone saying “ooh la la.”
In our exclusive video interview, Bejo reveals one of her secrets to her performance: namely, music. “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 I needed to get to the studios,” Bejo said. She added, “as an actor, it’s such a great help to have music to put you in some special feeling.”
Besides The Artist, Bejo is best known for 2001’s A Knight’s Tale, in which she starred opposite the late Heath Ledger. The French-Argentine actress is now truly coming into the spotlight. When asked how she is responding to her newfound recognition, Bejo was light-hearted, pointing to the wisdom she gained from her on-screen role. “Playing Peppy, what I really like about her is the way she never takes herself seriously and just enjoys every moment, and I think I’m going to keep that in mind, and everything is great and a lot of fun and I’m going to try not to take everything too seriously.”
Hear more of what Bérénice Bejo has to say in our interview featuring questions exclusively from users of Uinterview.com.
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Not really, because, as you said, the challenge is more for the audience because there is no dialogue, 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. But 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 I needed to get to the studios and I'm going to the audition, and I get out of the bus, and I'm so happy, so he would put 'Vive le Vioncet' and that would really help us. As an actor, it's such a great help to have music and to put you in some special feeling.
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 so we had something to share in the evening, so we had something to talk about, something that I knew. But I read a lot of things and I really enjoyed this last year when I was reading and watching a lot of movies, and watching the books with pictures of the movie stars back in the times and it just felt like, at one point, I felt like I knew everybody, and you know, I knew Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Janet Gaynor, Charles Ferrell, and I was very excited to be a part of, you know, those kind of movies and I felt kind of [like] one of those actors.
You just put more pressure on yourself the first few days, and then Michel came to me and he said, 'Okay, 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 and I had so much pleasure, and it's really easy to work with Michel and Jean, because Michel works so hard before the movie, so then on set, it's just about pleasure and just acting. We don't have to care about anything else.
Playing Peppy, what I really like about her is the way she never takes herself seriously and just enjoys every moment, and I think I'm going to keep that in mind, and everything is great and a lot of fun and I'm going to try not to take everything too seriously.
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