“You don’t really see the audience when you’re on stage. Well, maybe a little.”

as seen in the issue, “PICTURES OF YOU”

 

photography Nicolas Wagnerfeaturing Jazzboystyling Storny + Misericordiahair Javier Palaciomakeup Océane Sitboninterview Maxime de Abreu / dress ROKH, high boots SYSTEM

Hot off the heels of a (quite busy) year, during which she starred in the series Vernon Subutex and the film Mais vous êtes fous, Céline Sallette is prepping for another challenge: pivoting from drama to comedy.

This represents a new stage for the actress, whose humor and spiritedness continue to cohabit with a resolutely serious side.

– Maxime de Abreu 

 

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Well, it depends – it can change from one minute to the other. Sometimes I’ll see the flaws first, and then the rest. I find that a mirror is not all that objectivein the end. We all have a subjective image of ourselves. We’re all spectators of each other, and of ourselves. We see different things. Nothing is set in stone. It’s always someone looking at something.

 

Are you happy with that image in the mirror?

No. What comes out through a mirror, before you really see anything, is first and foremost your relationship with yourself. And there’s no truth to it. As

far as I am concerned, I do not have a harmonious relationship with myself. But like I said, it can change from one minute to the other. Our body is a bit

like our garden. You have to try to care for it with tenderness.

 

The media portrays you as a very funny woman, while your roles paint a picture of a more somber, dramatic woman. How do these two sides get along?

They get along famously! We’re allowed to have a lot of different sides, to contain multitudes. But with regards to me, that’s becoming less and less

true. I’m working on bringing more light into my life. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t funny when I started making movies, but back then I was probably

inhabited and surrounded by darker, more subconscious things than I am today. I’ve been working to make things enter my consciousness more and

more, in order to surface into the light. I haven’t fundamentally changed, but things are becoming more enlightened… and, well, it’s for the best!

 

 

Do you feel like there are some aspects of comedy that you haven’t explored yet, and that would fit you just as well?

Absolutely. That’s the path I’m on: step by step. I’ve been making more and more comedies. There’s this one that’s coming out in January, Mohamed

Hamidi’s La Belle Époque, with Kad Merad and Alban Ivanov. I also took part in a comedy project led by Jonathan Cohen, with a great French cast – a

bunch of crazy ladies, pure comical relief. And then there are other movies on the horizon.

 

 

You were discovered through the films of Philippe Garrel, Bertrand Bonello, Jacques Audiard, Costa-Gavras, Valeria Bruni-Tesdeschi, André

Téchiné. Until now, you were a part of a certain idea – and a certain image, again – of French cinema.

There is a kind of coherence that came to be. Working with those directors gives you a sort of aura. Then again, the best thing in life is to keep exploring. I’m just so happy to be able to try my hand at comedies, to break out of my comfort zone, to put myself in danger, to step into the unknown. To surrender, in a way. That’s the funniest thing. Being an actress is a constant reinvention.

 

 

What does your latest film, Audrey Diwan’s Mais vous êtes fous, represent in your career?

It’s, precisely, a pivotal moment, in the direction of comedy. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be making any more dramas in the future, but it was kind

of a last round. And I really wanted to work with Audrey.

 

 

You were also recently in the series adapted from Virginie Despentes’  Vernon Subutex. Is playing in a series much different than playing in a movie?

Shooting a movie isn’t much different than a series. What’s different about a series like Vernon Subutex is the mythology surrounding the character,

La Hyène. In Despentes’ nebula, she’s something of an icon. She’s a woman who won’t be denied anything. She cherishes violence – well, not really:

she welcomes it because she likes it, for no particular reason. And that’s a real transgression. La Hyène is amoral. Playing that kind of character is

exhilarating.

 

 

Were you a fan of Despentes before?

Of course, starting with King Kong Théorie, which is an absolutely exciting and very necessary book, one that has left a profound mark on me. It

was like a literary shock. Through her art, Despentes delivers a testimony of strength and power. The way she looks at her own journey as a woman

and as an artist is very inspiring. She’s never positioned herself as a victim. She is the alchemist of her own destiny; she walks us through her many

metamorphoses. It’s very powerful.

 

 

What about the theatre? Is it necessary, as an actress, to return to it on a regular basis?

You’re right to present it as a need. The theatre is like going back to one’s roots. It was Garrel who once said, “Cinema doesn’t fill a life.” If only in

terms of shooting days, you can appear in a lot of movies and it may only have taken you six months out of the year. You can’t really do much more

than that, or it takes up all of your time, and it gets tedious for others. And besides, that’s when you’re offered roles. What’s great about movies is that

you have time to live your life – that is, spending time with family and friends. With theatre, you have to put your nose to the grindstone and continue

to train, to progress all the time. You can’t rest on your laurels. That’s also quite powerful.

 

 

Does that power you speak of also come from being in front of an audience? Their faces, expressions, reactions…

You don’t really see the audience when you’re on stage. Well, maybe a little. What happens in a theatre is not really of the order of image. The room

has a life of its own, and an image is almost the opposite of life – it’s frozen in some sort of eternal fantasy, whereas life is just movement. In a

theatre, people breathe and think together.

 

 

Will you be taking part in any plays in the foreseeable future?

No, not at the moment.

 

 

What kind of audience are you?

That’s a good question! Hm… I’m not necessarily going to venture into territories that are very far apart from each other. I often remain confined to

my preconceptions… I’m not a very curious spectator. I also think that there is only so much time and that there are too many cultural offerings vying

for our attention. But sometimes I contradict myself – and surprise myself. In the end, even if we don’t always find it, we’re looking for the same

thing: to feel an emotion.

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