Louise Bourgoin Interview
Louise Bourgoin Interview
A French actress and television presenter, Louise Bourgoin has appeared in a few films over the past couple of years, and now she is hitting the big time with her role as the eponymous heroine in Adele Blanc-Sec, directed by the renowned Luc Besson. Capturing the essence of early 20th century Paris, the film is based on a famous French comic book series by artist Jacques Tardi, where Adele is a feisty journalist intent on solving mysteries and seeking adventure.

Recently in London, she spoke to View London’s Matthew Turner about the difficulties of working with special effects monsters and why she was banned from seeing Indiana Jones.

I really enjoyed the film – I thought it was wonderful. Were you familiar with the Adele Blanc-Sec comic strips before you auditioned?

Louise Bourgoin

Yes, I was. I knew them, I read them when I was 18. And I was really, absolutely not astonished by Luc Besson's choice of his new female character, when you know his work and his choices of not making a female character what one expects it to be, by which I mean not a cliché. For example, if I think of Anne Parillaud in Nikita, there's this scene where she's learning how to apply make-up and it's very interesting – there are similar things in Joan of Arc. And in the case of Adele, she plays with these feminine things, like the boa, she dresses herself up, but for a role, for a purpose, which is to go and meet the President.
Did you watch, for example, Indiana Jones in preparation?

Louise Bourgoin

I've never seen it and Luc Besson forbid me to watch it.
Really? Did he say why?

Louise Bourgoin

He said he didn't want me to copy Indiana Jones.
Jacques Tardi created her because there was no character who was clever and daring with whom women could identify...
How was Luc as a director?

Louise Bourgoin

He was very demanding. He's a total workaholic and he sleeps barely four hours a night. And he's constantly multi-tasking, doing loads of things at the same time. He had very precise ideas of how I had to play my character, but very, very specific. From my walk, the way I move, to the details of how I would take off a glove. So if there is such fluidity in the final product, it's because everything is so carefully worked out and choreographed. Everything was so precise, as in I should look down this much but not lower my chin any more than this, the specific way, as I said, that I had to take off my glove – everything was really, really precisely engineered and worked out.
So if everything was so tightly choreographed, does that mean he doesn't really allow for improvisation?

Louise Bourgoin

Never.
Did you say you were a fan of the comic books before?

Louise Bourgoin

I wasn't a huge fan, but I knew them and I'd appreciated them. And I had been really impressed at the time, when I read them, that her character had qualities that you normally associate with a male hero. And actually, after having read those comic books, I realised that there weren't really many characters that you can compare to her in the whole of bande dessinée [French and Belgian comic books] generally. And Jacques Tardi created her in the 1970s, when at the time there was only Becassine, who was the slightly dumb – or very dumb – girl, or Barbarella the sex bomb. He created her because there was no other character who was clever and daring with whom women could identify.

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Content updated: 27/09/2017 01:44

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