What Tar Star Noemie Merlant Learned From Working With Cate Blanchett – The Hollywood Reporter

French actress Noémie Merlant may have had her big break in 2019 French historical drama Portrait of a woman on fire — recently made Sight and Sound’s list of the 100 greatest movies of all time — but she’s already making waves with her performance this year tar, in which she played the personal assistant of the famous conductor Cate Blanchett Lydia Tár. In reality, tar was the first American production and Merlant’s first English-language film.

Director Todd Field saw Merlant’s previous films and sent her the script, the actress recounts. CHEAP. Immediately, Merlant was attracted to Francesca because of her nuanced personality. “I needed to read it a few times because it was too complicated, even for [English-speaking] Everybody. There were so many details that I had to read it a few times to really understand it all,” the actress said. “And I love it. This is so powerful, so intense, because it [forces you to ask] Ask yourself a lot of questions about the things that we all struggle with. And it doesn’t give you moral answers, but it does get you through deep, deep emotions about the dynamics of power and the creative process.”

Merlant added: “I really love my character. To me, she doesn’t say much, doesn’t show much, she is always in the dark, and she represents a woman who wants to live her passion. But right now, she’s just serving coffee and she’s just watching and waiting – and maybe not waiting at all.”

Though she says she didn’t need much preparation for her character as Francesca actually never touched an instrument in the film, which makes Francesca someone who tries to stay in her lane. but also wants to build his career as a conductor. prepared with Blanchett herself, who Merlant describes as very willing and helpful in the process.

Merlant said: “She was amazing. “We rehearsed before shooting. She really [available to me]. She has a lot of work to do: There is a language [she had to learn], orchestra, musical instruments. I don’t know how she did it. But she just spent time with our scene rehearsing, talking about it, talking about our characters, finding ways to touch each other, because since then [our characters have] Having known each other for a long time in the movie, we needed to find a way to act like an accomplice, and at the same time there was a distance because she didn’t really want me anymore. And at the same time, there is respect.”

Noémie Merlant as Francesca, the protagonist's assistant in Focus Features' Tar

Noémie Merlant as Francesca, the protagonist’s assistant in Focus Features’ tar

Courtesy of focused features

Although the 34-year-old already has more than 40 credits to her name, she says her time works on tar taught her a lot about the industry — lessons she says inspired her to write a new screenplay she plans to shoot next year.

“I learned a lot watching the process of Cate and Todd, as the director, creating this environment on set. [that’s] it was really fun and I really loved it,” she said, noting that making a film about a creator inspired her to not only respect her own ambitions but also the process of collaborating. necessary to achieve them.

“You have to take a moment to be aware of other people or respect all of these things, and sometimes, I guess, you can lose yourself like Lydia did,” says Merlant. “So in my head I might be thinking, ‘We can do something great without tyranny.’ I remember when I first started, a lot of directors said, ‘You need to really push the actors to [get] the feeling you’re looking for.’ But in practice it means you don’t trust the actor. You don’t need that: You don’t have to be disrespectful to get something interesting for the camera.”

This story first appeared in the December independent issue of The Hollywood Reporter. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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