The event to the Venice film Festival was not a film, but ” The Young Pope “, by Paolo Sorrentino, a series of ten episodes which will be aired from 24 October on Canal +. Baroque, crazy, beautiful, creepy, anti-conformist, dark, panting… There is a lack of adjectives to define this incredible project. The hero, Lenny Belardo, young pope, american newly-elected under the name of Pius XIII, is embodied by Jude Law. A pope is not quite like any other man, but Paolo Sorrentino makes his body. Pius XIII is a shower, brushes his teeth, takes his breakfast (it’s all very simple : a glass of Cherry Coke and basta). He smokes too, but he only has the right to do. We will he believe in God ? It is hard to know, th e press not having been able to watch the first three episodes. To learn more about the background of this series will take your breath away, we appealed to the good surprise of the “Young Pope” : Cécile de France, who plays Sofia Dubois, the seductive and ultra brushée director of communications at the Vatican. It is more nature than ever before, in T-shirt and sneakers. She also smokes, as the pope.
IT. How did you get in this incredible series in the international cast ?
Cécile France. just passing the tests, to Rome. I was so keen to pick up the role of director of marketing of the Vatican. I had the chance to read through the entire scenario, one of the most beautiful that I have ever read. I had a lot prepared for my scenes. When I arrived, Sorrentino was there. It is very classy on his part, because the directors do not move only in exceptional cases to attend the testing. I was very well received, I was complimented on the film of the Dardenne brothers, did everything to make me feel comfortable… It gave me a banana, while my heart was beating a hundred to the hour, to the point that I feared that it would never happen way. An actor gave me the reply, Sorrentino was sitting at 30 centimeters from my face. He is completely fascinated by the faces of his actors, he sculpts our expressions with the light, with the camera movements… Ten minutes later, my phone rang, and an assistant said to me : “Pa olo wants you. “I wanted to jump for joy, all alone in the streets of Rome.
IT. You loved the film of Sorrentino ?
Cécile France. Oh, yes, ” La Grande Belleza “, what enjoyment ! He is a great creator who dares to the baroque, and the effects of style… Her aesthetic is very glossy and his music a very modern, make a lot of good. It is a genius ! It has completely rewritten the script very dense of the series in three months. It has a profound writing. An incredible vision on potent themes like love, freedom, the abstinence, the sex… Everything that we see on the screen was already in the script. What we could not guess on the paper and that is very pleasing, it is the musical color of the series. I think he has a real consciousness of pleasure of the viewer.
IT. Sofia, your character, is it not a little in love with this Lenny Belardo ?
Cécile France. No, but she is fascinated by him, this pope is not like the others who refuses to appear before his followers. He goes out of his routine, which was to sell key rings or plates with the effigy of the Holy Father. Sofia loves her job, she is sure of herself, but she also has the reputation of being unpredictable. A bit like him. Over the episodes, they are going to build a friendly relationship. He will confide in her and even listen to his advice.
IT. How did you invent Sofia ?
Cécile France. This is a woman who knows a few things. The only scene where she evoked her husband has been cut off… I shaped it with the hairdresser and the costume designers, I loved it. During our testing of hair and makeup, Paolo told us : “It is necessary that the pope and tell him yes. “So I had to be very beautiful, not too sexy either. We have complied with the code very specific to the Holy see, the length of skirts, the prohibition of crossing legs…
IT. How Sofia looks like you ?
Cécile France. Nothing ! I shaped this a business woman from all parts. It is the opposite of education anti-capitalist that I received. Sofia has faith in marketing ! I’m back from Rome, where many churches have been covered with advertising giant for jackets, watches, phones, to pay for the restorations. It is horrible, it makes me dizzy.
IT. Sorrentino has said that his series was ” for everyone, believers and non-believers, because atheists do not exist. You believe in God or not but everyone believes in something “. Faith was a question on the board ?
Cécile France. Not at all. Sorrentino has put all that he had to say in his dialogues that are deep and rich. I think that “The Young Pope” is first of all a fable. We enter into the intricacies of psychological of a man, we penetrate its cracks. Without revealing the plot, I can say that the key to the mystery lies in the fact that the pope is an orphan. He does not know why his parents have abandoned him. And it is kneaded-reliance of being abandoned by his god. It makes it cynical and scary. He wants to pay the world of the evil which he has suffered little. This is a man who does not love himself and does not know how to love his neighbor.
IT. Are you a believer ?
Cécile France. I am agnostic. I don’t know if there is a god. But I’m willing to wonder and so to the beauty of the world. This essential thread that binds us to the beauty of the nature is fundamental for me that I made the choice to make my children grow up in the countryside, far from the frenzy of the market, to the rhythm of the seasons.
IT. Jude Law is a convincing partner in cassock ?
Cécile France. I have never been disappointed by him, or destabilized, or frustrated. It is a beautiful actor, very generous. During the seven months of filming, it was all days on the set, in total control of his character. We, the other players, we’d sometimes just to make up the numbers and a week later we keep coming back to shoot a big scene. It was exciting, but unsettling and very stressful. Jude Law was perfectly aware. He who embodied a lonely man, he has never played alone, he invited me into his world. At first, I was paralyzed by stress. To the second, I said to myself : let yourself embark, plays with him, takes advantage, and it was magical stuff ! One of the difficulties was that there were four cameras on set, which compelled me sometimes to look not to Jude, but in a different axis. For example, in the last scene, Lenny made a speech poignant : I had to look not at him, but a piece of Scotch ! I’m concentrated, I have open ed the valves and, in every shot, I started to cry, for real moved by the beauty of his speech… Yes, crying, looking at a piece of Scotch !
IT. You had already shot in English, with Clint Eastwood…
Cécile France. Yes. I am not gifted for languages, I had a lot of work upstream with the same coach for ” beyond “, of Eastwood, Tanya Blumstein. On the shooting and during the postprod, I was assisted by two other coaches. I had to be impeccable.
IT. You are ready for a season 2 ?
Cécile France. With Ludivine Sagnier, who plays the faithful, we prayed for that there is one. And Jude Law has revealed to Venice that Sorrentino was already in the process of writing it. I’d make them available regardless of what happens for season 2. It is one of the greatest directors alive. And it’s a series as enjoyable to play as it is to watch. A series is like a big book, it should be gone until the end to understand the scope. A word of advice to readers : if you watch “The Young Pope” on a tablet or computer, put on headphones, the sound is insane !
IT. You have requested that your photos are not retouched…
Cécile France. Yes, I want to show myself as I am : a 40 year old woman. I want to look like me, I’m a human being, not a humanoid. Keep my fine lines, I assume !
” The Young Pope “, Paolo Sorrentino, Monday, 21 hours, Canal+.
This article was published in the magazine IT’s Friday, October 21, 2016.
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