Marion Cotillard spent her childhood in Orleans, France, where her acting and artistically-inclined1 parents continually inspired her to become a performer. Though Cotillard’s actor mom, Niseema Theillaud, and actor-director dad, Jean-Claude Cotillard, were often filming in exotic countries or traveling with their performance group, they would come back from destinations like Asia and South America with inspirational mementos2 for their daughter. Eager3 to get a taste of the acting lifestyle herself, Cotillard began studying acting at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in her hometown, and got her first chance to do so as an actress in a play directed by her father.
At the age of 16, Marion Cotillard left Orleans for Paris with the idea of chasing the acting dream in the City of Lights. Following a number of small roles in TV series like Highlander (1993) and films such as My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996), Cotillard earned a fine reception for her portrayal4 of a racer’s girlfriend in the Luc Besson-penned 1998 effort, Taxi. The box office smash5 led to greater exposure for the actress in Taxi’s two subsequent sequels, and in 1999, she would enjoy an early career highlight6 by costarring with French screen legend Jeanne Moreau in War in the Highlands. Two years later, in a challenging role in Pretty Things that required her to sing and act as twins, Cotillard earned stellar7 reviews and her first acting nomination at the French Oscar equivalents, The Cesar Awards.
Marion Cotillard’s increased star power in Europe caught the attention of America’s most popular eccentric8 filmmaker, Tim Burton, who promptly cast9 her as the wife of Billy Crudup in his 2003 effort, Big Fish. The film’s positive reception led to more substantial10 roles for Cotillard both Stateside and back home, as she alternated11 between films like A Very Long Engagement — which won her a Cesar Award opposite French darling Audrey Tautou — and A Good Year, a romance from Ridley Scott that paired her up with Russell Crowe.
In 2007, Marion Cotillard was the surprise casting choice to play the late, beloved French songstress12 Edith Piaf. Olivier Dahan, the film’s director, had made the choice without auditioning13 the actress and had based it strongly on the actress’s resemblance to the singer. The producers of the film felt that disaster was imminent14 and slashed15 the budget, but the ensuing16 film, La Vie en Rose, proved all the naysayers17 wrong, and then some. For her part, Cotillard won over even the strictest French film critics before taking home a Cesar Award, a BAFTA Award and, finally, an Academy Award for her breathtaking18 performance. By winning the Hollywood statuette, she was the first woman to win an Oscar and a Cesar for one role as well as the only actress to win top Oscar honors for a French-language film. Following her win, Cotillard waited until 2009 for her next film, which would be Public Enemies, where she played the moll to Johnny Depp’s high-powered gangster, John Dillinger.
Marion Cotillard’s next film role brought her into the realm of musicals, which was particularly enjoyable for the actress, since she had dreamed of a singing career in her earlier years. As Luisa Contini, she joined an all-star cast that included Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, and film legend Sophia Loren. Although the film’s critical and commercial reception were both disappointing19, Cotillard emerged unscathed20 as her performance earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress - Musical or Comedy and recognition from Time as being among 2009’s top 5 female performances. Another honor would come in her native France, where the government recognized her cultural efforts by knighting her.
Faced with more opportunities to work with some of Hollywood’s best and brightest, Marion Cotillard tapped into the genius of Christopher Nolan, the director of The Dark Knight, for her next film. She joined the cast of the dream-themed 2010 thriller, Inception, front-lined21 by Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon Levitt. From there, Cotillard will likely continue her hot streak with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams in Woody Allen’s 2011 effort, Midnight in Paris, and with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion, a thriller from Oscar-winning director, Steven Soderbergh.
1 Artistically-inclined – с артистическим уклоном
2 Mementos – воспоминания, впечатления
3 Eager – активно, страстно чего-то желать
4 Portrayal – изображение, представление чего-либо
5 Smash – огромный успех, триумф
6 Highlight - расцвет
7 Stellar - выдающийся
8 Eccentric – эксцентричный, оригинальный
9 Cast – подбор актеров
10 Substantial – существенный, значительный
11 Alternate - чередоваться
12 Songstress - певица
13 Auditioning – пробы на роль
14 Imminent - неизбежный
15 Slash - сокращать
16 Ensuing - последующий
17 Naysayer – противники, голосующие против
18 Breathtaking – захватывающий
19 Disappointing - разочарование
20 Emerge unscathed – выходить сухим из воды
21 Front-lined – главная роль, передовая
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