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CG Watkins

Léa Seydoux selects Adèle Exarchopoulos

The sex-fuelled French flick by Abdellatif Kechiche featuring explosive female lead Adèle

TextCarmen GrayPhotographyCG Watkins

Taken from the December issue of Dazed & Confused:

French actress Léa Seydoux: “When I first met Adèle I was like, ‘Wow, this girl has a strong character!’ She has something very free about her. I’m not used to it. Some actresses are too self-aware, they strike a pose. Adèle is a force of nature.”

The Cannes premiere of French drama Blue is the Warmest Colour received a storm of attention. The sex scenes between its two female leads, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, were explosively raw, and their searingly honest performances won them the prestigious Palme d’Or – the first time it has been awarded to a film’s actresses as well as its director.

Scruffily stylish in black dress and boots, 19-year-old Exarchopoulos is none too phased by the scandal over reportedly rough treatment from director Abdellatif Kechiche, dismissing it as media shit-stirring. “With Abdel’s passion and complexity, genius and bad moments, we were all suffering sometimes and laughing sometimes. He goes for the moment when you’re exhausted to see what’s inside when your mask comes off, so we did many, many, many takes. It’s not a conventional way of shooting. There are no hair, make-up or clothes stylists – just you, your character and the mix. He wants to see your soul like no one wants to, not even me.”

Blue follows Exarchopoulos’s teenage character (also called Adèle) through a gut-wrenching few years of confusing emotions, from her high-school struggle with her sexual identity and electrically charged first encounter with blue-haired painter Emma (Seydoux) into full-fledged romance and adult complexities. For Exarchopoulos, accessing her character’s inner life was an instinctual process. The explicit scenes – which took ten days to shoot – didn’t make her nervous. “You treat those scenes no different from the others. It’s organic between these two girls and we have to show that: it’s a movie about skin.” 

Although the love story goes beyond gender and politics, the film’s Cannes win was fortuitously timed during the French gay-marriage debate. “It was a beautiful coincidence that we won the Palme the day of the gay-marriage protest in France, just before its legalisation. It’s like, there is a god somewhere. It was amazing.”

Blue is the Warmest Colour is out on November 22