'Fat Girl' Director Catherine Breillat Teams With Isabelle Huppert For Autobiographical 'Abus De Faiblesse'

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by Oliver Lyttelton
January 12, 2012 12:40 PM
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There can be few actresses as uncompromising as Isabelle Huppert. The French star has, across a forty year career, consistently sought out tough roles from international auteurs, while even her rare American appearances have, aside from a WTF appearance on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," tended to be in difficult, flawed pictures like "Heaven's Gate" and "I Heart Huckabees."

The next year looks to take that even further, with films coming up from acclaimed international directors like Brilliante Mendoza, the late Raoul Ruiz, Hong Sang-Soo and frequent collaborator Michael Haneke, but she's just added one more tick to her 'controversial directors I've worked with' checklist, as Screen Daily report that she's teaming up, for the first time, with French director Catherine Breillat.

Breillat came to fame thanks to her sexually explicit, abrasive pictures like "Romance" and "Fat Girl," although her work has shifted of late into feminist retellings of fairy tales like "Bluebeard" and 2010's "Sleeping Beauty." But her latest work seems to be her most personal for a while; "Abus de faiblesse" (translating as "Abuse of Weakness") is based on a book detailing her relationship with conman Christophe Rocancourt, who claimed to have embezzled as much as $40 million from the rich and famous over the years.

Breillat befriended Rocancourt with the hopes of casting him alongside Naomi Campbell in the film "Bad Love," but after she was diagnosed with cerebral vascular disease, and suffered a stroke, accused Rocancourt of scamming her of 850,000 Euros, calling the day she met him the worst of her life.

The film, backed by the director's long-time producer Jean-Francois Le Petit, is a loosely fictionalized version of the tale, with Huppert playing Maud, a self-destructive filmmaker, paralyzed on one side of her body, who befriends a flamboyant conman named Viko (to be played by French rapper Kool Shen). While it's a little tricky to be sympathetic to Breillat, given that she seems to have done the equivalent of putting a shark in your bathtub, and then being surprised when it tries to bite your arm off, it should make powerful source material. Filming will get underway in the second half of the year.

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