Melanie Laurent: Quentin Tarantino star is on the right track

She found fame fighting Nazis in Inglourious Basterds. Now Mélanie Laurent impresses again in the drama Night Train to Lisbon

“I love saying I love you, it's so much easier to say in English, so much easier than Je t'aime,” spouts Mélanie Laurent. It's Valentine's Day, the day after her latest film, Night Train to Lisbon, has unveiled at the Berlin Film Festival, and I find myself in a hotel room with the blonde 30-year-old actress and there is talk of love. “I forgot it was Valentine's Day today,” she admits. “I got a call from my husband saying happy Valentine's and I thought I should have sent some flowers.”

The surprise is that Laurent is talking about a husband. She got married rather quietly and mystery surrounds her nuptial as she refuses to name him. The Paris-born actress says that she also had a coup de foudre on the set of Requiem pour une Tueuse, “With my boyfriend/husband, I say that because I don't like the word husband, he was a crew member and I was an actress and we would looked at each other seductively for a few days before we talked.”

Laurent has an allure about her that makes her fun to talk to. She says things for dramatic effect that makes chatting to her sometimes seem like watching a one-woman show. Thankfully, the performance is as good as those she gives on screen.

When talking about Quentin Tarantino, who she credits with changing her career after he cast her as the feisty revenge-seeking Jew Shosanna in revisionist Second World War drama Inglourious Basterds, she says, “I'm not going to say we are great friends, I know that's what normally we are supposed to say, that we worked together and it was so amazing and now we're friends forever... but I went to the big premiere of Django Unchained in Paris and thought it was so good. I wrote him a long email telling him how much I liked it.”

She took the part of young Estefania in the adaptation of Pascal Mercier's book Night Train to Lisbon without reading the script because she wanted to work with director Bille August. It was a quick-fire decision that could easily have backfired but her one lament is that she didn't get to do any scenes with Jeremy Irons and adds, “It was the same with Brad Pitt on Inglourious Basterds.”

On set, she claims she has a laid-back attitude that she blames on Gérard Depardieu, who helped her get her first break in the movies when she starred in The Bridge, a drama co-directed and starring the mammoth-framed personality: “He would turn up on set and not know his lines, and just get on with it on the day. It was the less-is-more approach. I can get away with that sometimes in French, but in English I have to work harder.”

Night Train to Lisbon sees her acting in English again. How many English-language parts are on the CV has almost become a measure of a French actress's success. Of the young belles that have exploded on to the scene over the past two decades only Audrey Tautou hasn't made a regular habit of performing in English. Laurent is now a lot more confident speaking English than she was three years ago when she starred in Mike Mills's Beginners.

Her forthcoming films are all English language, including the thriller Now You See Me, in which she plays an Interpol detective alongside Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson, and Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of the book An Enemy, with Sarah Gadon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Isabella Rossellini.

If she has hit a career roadblock, it's when she's branched out from acting. Her 2011 album, En T'Attendant, was released to scathing reviews. So much so that the Parisian admits, “I'm taking a break from music... everyone was so mean about it and it was so hard that I wanted to die.”

She also co-wrote and directed the family drama Les Adoptés (The Adopted), which came out in 2011 to a very mixed reception. She is determined to direct again, as she says of her experience behind the camera: “For the first time in my life, I felt like I was in the right place.”

'Night Train to Lisbon' will be out later this year

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition