Marion Cotillard: Who is the French actress everyone is talking about?

The actress has been mentioned in tabloid reports about the breakdown of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's marriage but reports have firmly denied she had any involvement with Pitt

Cotillard was named 'The most bankable French actress of the 21st century'
Cotillard was named 'The most bankable French actress of the 21st century'

Who is she?

Marion Cotillard is a French actress who has fast been catapulted into the world of Hollywood. Unlike the tendency for French actors to price themselves out of the film industry in their homeland and cease to get their hands on big roles in the US, Cotillard has gone from strength to strength. It was her performance as Edith Piaf which gained her international acclaim and an Oscar. Cotillard was named "The most bankable French actress of the 21st century" in 2014, with her films amassing more than 37 million ticket sales in France between 2001 and 2014.

Why are we talking about her?

Cotillard has been mentioned in tabloid reports about the breakdown of Pitt and Jolie's marriage. But reports by Page Six citing sources close to the actress have firmly denied that the actress had any involvement with Pitt or is in anyway involved with the breakup.

A trailer for Allied, a new film which features Pitt and Cotillard, was released on Tuesday night. The pair star as intelligence officers who fall in love and begin a family but then find themselves in marital trouble after the war breaks out in London.

Cotillard has also responded to the rumours in an Instagram post written in English and French. She confirmed she is pregnant and confirmed her relationship with her long-term partner and fellow actor Guillaume Canet, saying he is "the only one that I need".

“I am not used to commenting on things like this nor taking them seriously but as this situation is spiraling and affecting people I love, I have to speak up," she said. “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need. Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn't distressing."

How did Cotillard’s childhood shape her?

Cotillard grew up in a suburb of Paris in what is widely referred to in France as a “bobo” family - the term being short for “bourgeois bohemian”. Her father, Jean-Claude Cotillard, was an actor, playwright and theatre director who made a name for himself as a Breton mime artist and her mother, Niseema Theillaud, was a theatre actress and drama teacher. As such, she came of age in a Parisian apartment where she and her twin brothers were permitted to draw on the walls whenever they wished. One of her younger brothers, Guillaume is a screenwriter and director, while Quentin is a sculptor.

As a child and a young adult, Cotillard experienced what could be described as an existential crisis. “I didn’t know where was my place anywhere - in school, with friends, with the other children,” she told The Telegraph in an interview. “I was shy. I was more than shy. I think I started thinking about why I was here, and I couldn’t find any answers, so it was very disturbing for me.” The feelings lingered into her twenties and she experienced long drawn out periods of melancholy which she has since recovered from.

How did she embark on an acting career?

Cotillard landed her acting debut as a young child with a role in one of her father’s plays and then went on to study drama at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique in Orléans. Moving away from a career in theatre, she found herself in the world of film in the mid-1990s, her first prominent film role being in Taxi and then two sequels, Taxi 2, and Taxi 3.

Following this, she went on to receive international acclaim and a host of nominations and awards for her performances in A Very Long Engagement, La Vie en Rose, Nine, Inception, Midnight in Paris, Rust and Bone, The Immigrant, Two Days, One Night, Macbeth and more. She has been described as massively hard-working and someone who puts her artistry first and formost.

“She’s a great and real person who doesn’t fall into the movie stardom cliché,” Michael Mann the director of Public Enemies told The Telegraph after working with her. “She is an artist first and foremost, and I’ve never seen anyone work so hard in my life.’”

What does she do outside of acting?

Cotillard is a woman of many talents. To name a few, she sings, plays guitar, keenly collects guitars, and plays bass guitar, keyboard and even the tambourine. On occasion, she incorporates her musical forays into her films and co-wrote and performed the song “La Fille De Joie” for her film Pretty Things.

Cotillard is also an avid environmentalist and is a spokesperson for Greenpeace, having participated in a number of campaigns for them. She is also said to be a locavore (for the unenlightened: someone who eats locally produced food wherever possible) and has been keenly recycling since the 80s.

Why does she choose not call herself a feminist?

Cotillard does not identify as a feminist and has said there is no place for feminism in Hollywood because the actual term creates “separation” between men and women.

“Film-making is not about gender,” she told Porter magazine in September 2015. “You cannot ask a president in a festival like Cannes to have, like, five movies directed by women and five by men.

“For me it doesn’t create equality, it creates separation. I mean, I don’t qualify myself as a feminist.”

“We need to fight for women’s rights but I don’t want to separate women from men,” she continued”. We’re separated already because we’re not made the same and it’s the difference that creates this energy in creation and love. Sometimes in the word feminism there’s too much separation.”

Who is her partner?

Cotillard has been in a relationship with fellow actor Guillaume Canet since 2007. They appeared in Love Me If You Dare together in 2003 but Canet was then married to Diane Kruger. In 2014, The Guardian described the couple as France’s “equivalent to Brangelina” despite the fact photos of them together are a rarity. Despite common misconception, Canet and Cotillard are not married. They have one child together, Marcel who is five years old.

Cotillard's full statement:

“This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into.

"I am not used to commenting on things like this nor taking them seriously but as this situation is spiraling and affecting people I love, I have to speak up.

“Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need.

“Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn't distressing.

“And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery.

“Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment.”

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