Isabelle Huppert: "I can be very shy"

Actress, is this a life we ​​wish for her daughter?

I. H: An actress's life is both exhilarating and agonizing. As a mother, I am therefore both happy, because it is still one of the most beautiful professions in the world. And, at the same time, a little concerned, because I know it's also about expectations, disappointments, failures ... It takes a lot of tenacity to face and overcome that, every time. And to survive there. From the outside, we tend to see only glitter, but from the inside, all the actresses of the world know that it is more complicated.

This is a job you would choose again if it was to be redone?

I. H.: Oh yes! That said, I do not feel that I have chosen it. But maybe being an actress never really chooses you. It happens and is binding on you. Because it is less a profession than a state: it is to fire any wood, to engage all his person. Very quickly, I felt that it was there that I could gather at the same time my aptitudes and my incapacities. All I am. To be an actress is to transform into excellence what was not: fragility in strength, shyness in insurance, and coping simultaneously with all that. Do not favor anything or leave anything out.

Like any good psychotherapy!

I. H.: Yes, absolutely.

What prompted your mother to register at the Versailles Conservatory?

I. H.: I do not know. It should have been asked of him. I think she just wanted me to do one more activity. But no doubt there was a part of intuition behind that, as mothers can have ... However, she did not see me necessarily become an actress!

Was it to counteract shyness?

I. H.: Oh no, I was neither shy nor introverted! When you have a rather protected childhood, you do not have to face circumstances that would stir us up to shyness. On the other hand, later, yes, I became one. And, even today, there are plenty of times when I can be very shy. But child, no, really not. I was a child ... normal.

What do you keep from childhood?

I. H.: Everything, I guess! And nothing specific in particular.

I ask you this question because you give the impression that time is slipping on you. Your way through the fashions, for example, but also your physique that seems to be changing hardly ...

I. H.: [Laughs.] Yes, it is true that in thinking about it I feel that childhood is at the heart of what I am still now. I do not feel like a child for a while and then become an adult.I do not see any boundaries between these states, it's fluid.

Is the game keeping that up?

I. H.: Yes, probably a little. The actors speak frequently of the irresponsibility, the lightness of this work. But even if it's not entirely false, being an actress also means making choices, making decisions, taking them on, overcoming failures ... This requires being very pragmatic. But, indeed, emotionally and emotionally, it's living in a world of childhood. It takes a certain amount of candor, naivety to believe what you do. [Silence.] Yes, I still feel often ... childish, very childish. Without being able to explain it.

How do you go about making these choices?

I. H.: It's never a strategy at home. This is more of instinct, envy, necessity. And then, when it comes to choosing a movie, for example, I take the others into account. I intuitively see what working with such and such could be, and I do not decide only according to me, my desire to do this role. I consider the project as a whole. Moreover, it is also a question of need.

It's to say?

I. H.: I have the impression of advancing less by desire than by need. Not a material need, but emotional, psychic. I am very aware that wanting to work hard, being obsessed with the idea of ​​"doing" more and more ... is not trivial. This answers a need.

To a lack?

I. H.: Yes, of course. But it does not matter, after all: choosing to do something by need and therefore more like an answer to a lack does not mean that it will hurt. So many motivations come into play in this desire to play ... There are good and bad reasons.

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