Melanie Thierry Interview
Melanie Thierry Interview
Melanie Thierry is a French actress who has been a part of the cinema and television scene in France for several years. Starring alongside the likes of Vin Diesel, Gerard Depardieu and Mark Strong in Babylon A.D. in 2008, she has also featured in various shows and films, including the British made TV drama, Charles II: The Power and the Passion. In London recently to talk about her eponymous role in The Princess of Montpensier, she spoke to View’s Matthew Turner about working with the famous director Betrand Tavernier, doing the uncomfortable nude scenes and just why she got along so well with her horse.

What is the film about and who do you play?

Melanie Thierry

So, the film is about a young woman who is forced into marriage, who wants to have access to the culture and the education. It's a girl, or rather a young woman, who is completely torn between conflicting emotions and conflicting feelings. She loves her lover and she doesn't understand why she has to marry someone else, who she doesn't love.
What attracted you to the project?

Melanie Thierry

Oh, it was many things. First of all it was to work with Bertrand, so it started with an audition and after a few auditions, he made a choice and I was very, very pleased and thrilled to be hired, because he is like a mythic director in France. I love his work and I really love the person. He's such a humanist, like the Chabannes character [played by Lambert Wilson] – it's not very far away. And to have this kind of leading role in a period movie, to learn how to ride a horse, to go through this period of time, it's really enriching.
You didn't mention the dresses. Was that part of the appeal too?

Melanie Thierry

The woman who did the costumes received the Cesar [the French equivalent of the Oscar] at the last ceremony, for the dress. Well, it's beautiful. It's not comfortable but it helped to give you all the strength to your character, also because the corset, it's very tight, so it means that you have to keep all your emotions burning in your belly. There is no way to let it out because it's trapped in the belly. But it was a beautiful dress, for sure.
Do you have a favourite of the dresses?

Melanie Thierry

A favourite? My favourite was the last one, it's the marine blue, the darkest one at the end. Very severe.
Were you tempted to steal any of them?

Melanie Thierry

No, you just can't. No, I just stole the ring. I kept it. I stole it.
How does Bertrand compare to other directors you've worked with, on set?

Melanie Thierry

Well, a director will give the atmosphere on the set, so sometimes it happens to have a director very anxious, very silent and very nervous. Bertrand is somebody who – he's always happy, even if he's impatient sometimes, but he allows his cast and his crew to be happy on set, to have fun, to laugh. Laughter is allowed on set. Sometimes it's not. And he loves when he's surprised by a mistake or by an unexpected thing, so the atmosphere is very familial.
Did you do much rehearsal beforehand?

Melanie Thierry

For my preparation, I hired a coach, because I'm used to working with a coach just to not be alone. Because I don't like to be alone to prepare, I prefer to have someone who guides me, who helps me, who asks me questions, who pushes me to go further and just to be like a psychologist and just to be here with me, to help me.

Then I had sessions with Bertrand – I mean we had sessions just to be sure we are going on the same path. Because I remember at the beginning, I thought when I read the script the first time that my character was much more manipulated, and in fact, she is not. She's very pure and it's not in her blood to be manipulated. So that's why the few sessions were necessary, just to be sure we were both on the same path and then, on set, everything happened.
Do you have a favourite scene in the film?

Melanie Thierry

A favourite scene? I really loved all my scenes, for sure and it was really completely different - on one hand I had all the scenes with the young actors of my generation – something very easy with my friends, if you know what I mean. Not teenagers, but something like young puppies, very excited to be here and very serious, but at the same time – yeah, like puppies. And on the other hand, I had all the scenes with Lambert and it was much more gentle, much more focused, much more about poetry, philosophy, about the stars and everything, so it was much more quiet and ... soothing. How you say it? Very ... you know, like a smooth breath. Like a smooth breath.

And then the moment I really remember and it's a very good memory, a good souvenir, it's of the moments where I'm riding my horse, because it's such a great feeling. At the same time you're feeling completely free with yourself and with the character and you trust your horse, you know that you can go wherever you want, galloping and go further with your horse. I mean, my horse was another partner, as important as Lambert and as all the other actors. No, but for sure, my horse was an important thing in the story also.
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Content updated: 14/11/2019 16:31

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