New Poster For 'Blue Is The Warmest Color'; Actresses Say They'll Never Work With The Director Again

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by Kevin Jagernauth
September 3, 2013 6:12 PM
45 Comments
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Every step of the way for the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner "Blue Is The Warmest Color" has seen controversy following not far behind. From the already talked about ten minute sex scene (leading to an NC-17 rating), to allegations from the crew over reportedly tough working conditions, to graphic novel author Julie Maroh's opinions on the adaptation of her work, the conversation around Abdellatif Kechiche's romance has been equally about these issues as it has been about how great the movie is. (And we haven't even gotten into the fact that it can't quality for Best Foreign Film.) And now, actress and Palme winners Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos have shared their own stories of woe from the set.

"The thing is, in France, it’s not like in the States. The director has all the power. When you’re an actor on a film in France and you sign the contract, you have to give yourself, and in a way you’re trapped," Seydoux told The Daily Beast, and together with her co-star, they detailed the hardships they faced on the shoot.

To recap, the film tracks the burgeoning, blossoming romance between two young women across three hours, in a movie that leaves no rock unturned or corner unexplored in the chronicle of this same sex relationship. And nearly every aspect of the five-and-a-half month long shoot was fraught with issues, including the epic sex sequence, which took 10 days on its own.

"He warned us that we had to trust him—blind trust—and give a lot of ourselves. He was making a movie about passion, so he wanted to have sex scenes, but without choreography—more like special sex scenes. He told us he didn’t want to hide the character’s sexuality because it’s an important part of every relationship," Seydoux explained. "But once we were on the shoot, I realized that he really wanted us to give him everything. Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act."

But even less complex and intensely personal scenes seemed to have their own set of issues. "Any emotional scenes. [Kechiche] was always searching, because he didn’t really know what he wanted. We spent weeks shooting scenes. Even crossing the street was difficult. In the first scene where we cross paths and it’s love at first sight, it’s only about thirty seconds long, but we spent the whole day shooting it—over 100 takes," Seydoux shared. "By the end of it, I remember I was dizzy and couldn’t even sit. And by the end of it, [Kechiche] burst into a rage because after 100 takes I walked by Adele and laughed a little bit, because we had been walking by each other doing this stare-down scene all day. It was so, so funny. And [Kechiche] became so crazy that he picked up the little monitor he was viewing it through and threw it into the street, screaming, 'I can’t work under these conditions!'"

Simply put, "It was horrible" Seydoux said, adding she would "never" work with Kechiche again. As for Exarchopoulous, she when asked if she'd reteam with the director, her simple "I don’t think so" says it all. (Even she thinks the sex scene is "a little too long.")

But the end result of the moviemaking process is a hugely acclaimed film (one that we called "masterful"), that just hit Telluride and will land at TIFF this week. After that it will come to an arthouse near you next month on October 25th. Until then, here's the newest international poster for the movie (via AlloCine) and Seydoux and Exarchopoulous on the cover of France's Premiere magazine.


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More: Blue is the Warmest Color , Léa Seydoux

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45 Comments

  • Osmar | October 19, 2013 11:50 AMReply

    It's easy to say things like that and declare that will never work with him again after winning a Cannes price over the costs of his work.

  • Tom | October 10, 2013 11:24 AMReply

    These two actresses suck. If they didn't like doing what they were doing they could have quit right then and there. And give me a break about "the French director has so much power" nonsense. What are you talking about? Would they have executed you if you quit, flayed your skin, been able to reposses your house? No, they couldn't. You stayed because you wanted to be part of the film, once it got released and people saw how graphic it was then you decide to cry foul because you are embarrassed you spread your legs for the whole world to see and will always be known for doing this on film moreso than anything else.

  • Jose | November 11, 2013 10:06 AM

    You are forgetting something here... that these actors in questions are (in my opinion) practically babies. I'm sure that they were under a lot of pressure, told a lot of things. I don't know what the consequences are for actors that break contract in France. But I do know that what is being missed here is that these are still very young girls (over 18 or not), and impressionable enough that they may not have truly known what they were signing themselves up for... and then in the thick of it really didn't believe they could leave, regardless of how much they questioned it.

  • carlito | September 6, 2013 5:42 AMReply

    hi ganda

  • Marco | September 5, 2013 2:49 AMReply

    Non choreographed, unsimulated, "give me everything" ten minute long sex scene from your two YOUNG actresses. How the hell is that not abuse? This director might be talented but a creep and a pervert, maybe not as bad as Polanski but nonetheless. The actresses may have thought the acclaims and awards could have made all the abuse, etc. worth it but apparently is not enough. If you're a young vulnerable actress going do "Great" films you still want to do them with dignity and respect. This are French actors supposedly up for almost everything, I can only imagine how bad the experience was.

  • AAJG | September 4, 2013 11:53 PMReply

    I hope the grammar problem ruins the point

  • aajg | September 4, 2013 11:50 PMReply

    Let's all shut up and let the movie speak for itself. It's so TODAY to talk about what went into making something and it becomes so political and self important that the film is overlooked while it's being watched by it's dumb audience. Let's all just take a breather, walk outside, make out own points, and think for ourselves, you fuckwads.

  • LB | September 4, 2013 9:41 AMReply

    Wow seriously inappropriate Premiere cover, and suddenly, for me at least, a problematic movie. Exploring a lesbian love affair or a straight director creating wet dreams for the hetero male dime?

  • Piotr | September 4, 2013 1:16 PM

    oh no lets get all up in arms about it

  • Gustavo | September 4, 2013 10:50 AM

    The magazine cover has nothing to do with the movie. They're just striking a pose for the photographer in order to sell magazines.

  • Yorozuya | September 4, 2013 9:33 AMReply

    I'm still waiting for this movie.

    ps. WTH with THE POSTER LOL

  • molly.erika11 | September 4, 2013 6:42 AMReply

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  • Logan | September 4, 2013 5:47 AMReply

    I am so intrigued with this director. I understand where the actors come from, even though I can't comprehend it. I couldn't have done what they did. But the fact that the director MEANS what he says and does it is so admirable. So fucking fascinating.

  • skywater | September 4, 2013 3:23 AMReply

    And the "i cant work under these conditions" and storming off made me laugh. I can imagine in my mind this crazy, brilliant, abrasive, tactless director doing that. So they actualz do say that stuff.

  • Skywater | September 4, 2013 3:13 AMReply

    How interesting, that the film turned out excellent despite their experience on set, and won the top prize at Cannes. Working with a genius cant be easy, i guess.

  • j | September 4, 2013 12:55 AMReply

    I'm sure they signed a contract that said they had to keep personal comments too themselves as well as opinions.Once the movie is shown and actor can say what they want it doesnt matter .This is why actors need to start thinking for themselves and learn to step back from a situation .So they dont get taken advantage of .

  • caro | September 4, 2013 3:08 AM

    +1

  • celio | September 3, 2013 11:12 PMReply

    when they won at the cannes they hug and kiss the director many times like their so in love with him. (watch it on youtube)

    then now they hate him

  • d | September 4, 2013 1:21 AM

    they never said they hated him. actually, in the interview they called him a genius.

  • ho well | September 3, 2013 11:07 PMReply

    It sure doesn't seems like all fun but you are making art with a renowned director and you signed a contract. I mean, you didn't see "Venus Noire"?! You didn't read the script? You're 14 and parentless? You're sure ain't professional anyway. You will never want to work with him again that's just fair enough. Shelley Winters never would have worked with Kubrick ever again and that didn't take her very far.

  • Piotr | September 4, 2013 1:18 PM

    Shelley Winters?

  • Mr Anonymous | September 3, 2013 9:39 PMReply

    I find it hard to believe that the director is the bad guy in all this?!

    Why the hell didn't they speak up when they were filming? Why didn't they speak with their management/agents and and air their concerns during filming? Now they want to talk? Yeah, right!

    Seems a bit disrespectful esp. since the film has had glowing reviews, criticial praise and won awards. They certainly enjoyed all the attention at the Cannes Film Festival! ;-)

  • Leticia | September 4, 2013 8:56 AM

    Take a second to put yourself in their shoes and maybe you will get it.
    The awards don't change the fact that filming this movie clearly was a pain in the ass. It's like getting an award for enduring your sadistic boss torturing you at work everyday without being able to quit. Unfortunately film history has shown us that it seems like the best performances come from the worst experiences. So no, I don't think it's disrespectful at all.

  • bohmer | September 3, 2013 11:19 PM

    I see it as spoiled young actresses that want's it big in the US like Cotillard.

  • vincent | September 3, 2013 11:09 PM

    because the filming will delay and the producers might sued them

    correct my english if im wrong

  • Deej | September 3, 2013 9:57 PM

    Because, as the actors have said, it's France and presumably cretinism still rules there. As far as "critical praise" and "glowing reviews..." let's not go down the road of easily impressionable, elitist back-slapping.

  • Jerk | September 3, 2013 9:05 PMReply

    Marion Cotillard did a better performance than them

  • Piotr | September 4, 2013 1:18 PM

    yeh seriously what's up with this jerk?

  • a.p | September 3, 2013 11:35 PM

    lmao, what the fuck does this have to do with anything?

  • Frank | September 3, 2013 7:29 PMReply

    They sure as shit weren't complaining when they got historically unprecedented Palme d'Or co-awards at Cannes.

    There's probably an organized smear campaign going on, the crew, the author of the source comic and the cast wouldn't all just throw it under the bus like this.

  • Deneice | September 3, 2013 9:01 PM

    No one complains when awards are handed out usually, but that doesn't mean that all is well underneath the surface. Maybe they thought it wasn't that bad during filming and then realized how bad it sucked later. Plus, that guy sounds like a wackadoo. The fact that they are even speaking up takes some guts though and some daring because most actors be they American or otherwise usually will not come out against a director during promotion for a film. I am thinking they felt woefully disrespected by his actions even though the film has been highly lauded and respected. As far as the author going off about the film, it seemed to me that she wishes she had filmed the sex scenes instead of him so that it could have a more "authentic" lesbian feel vs the supposedly male centric shooting that was done. Just because a project brings great success doesn't mean it was easy to deal with or that one would work with the same people again.

  • re frank | September 3, 2013 9:00 PM

    Yeah because they were going to stand there, at the podium, accepting the Palme d'Or and start talking shit about the director. There's a time and a place and both ladies knew that the Cannes Film Festival was certainly NOT it. It's called having tact.

  • d | September 3, 2013 8:08 PM

    A smear campaign organized by whom?

  • ogsjn | September 3, 2013 7:10 PMReply

    Sounds like an average French director. They're all insane, all the good ones at least.

  • caro | September 4, 2013 3:07 AM

    do you know David Fincher or Terrence Mallick? Fincher likes to film more 80 takes of the same scene

  • ogsjn | September 3, 2013 10:07 PM

    I'm from the ol' states. I'm just taking a standpoint from pairing Kechiche up to Maurice Pialat, Catherine Breillat, Henri Georges Clouzot, and a few other artists from that region that at one time or another were called out on their abuse of actors, crew, or just being "crazy". They all make great movies, though.

  • Liz | September 3, 2013 9:22 PM

    " I'd way all Americans are dumb."

    You couldn't have made that statement any more unintentionally hilarious if you'd tried.

  • ned | September 3, 2013 8:20 PM

    Thinking the way you do, I'd way all Americans are dumb. Where are you from ..?

  • uie | September 3, 2013 7:08 PMReply

    "Léa: [Kechiche] shot with three cameras, so the fight scene was a one-hour continuous take. And during the shooting, I had to push her out of a glass door and scream, “Now go away!” and [Adèle] slapped the door and cut herself and was bleeding everywhere and crying with her nose running, and then after, [Kechiche] said, “No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.”" What the actual fuck.

  • re | September 3, 2013 7:03 PMReply

    Kechiche sounds like a pig.

  • Lkon | September 4, 2013 7:19 PM

    *or at the very least the reader's comments

  • Lkon | September 4, 2013 3:30 PM

    @Letiticia: One word: misogyny. These comments would have been taken more seriously if they were made by two men, or at the very least the comments wouldn't be as vicious and heated.

  • Leticia | September 4, 2013 5:48 AM

    He does. I don't even know why people are blaming the actresses.

  • poster | September 3, 2013 7:01 PMReply

    That poster is awful, I much prefer the first one. Oh well ....

  • F | September 4, 2013 6:51 AM

    I agree. What an awful poster. The original was so intriguing. This one captures none of the passion and none of the mystery and none of the coolness that Lea Seydoux brings out. Terrible.

    And did they actually spell Alma Jodorowsky's name incorrectly?

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