The French made the leap from the Ten percent series to Hollywood

At some point in the pandemic, perhaps between the premiere of Ted Lasso in August 2020 and Bridgerton in December, you may have come across the French Netflix import, Call my agent! (Ten Percent o Ten percent in various countries), a sweet, if absurd, parody of the global entertainment complex seen through the lens of a Parisian talent agency.

A company in which the agents are, for the most part, kind-hearted movie lovers, at the orders of your demanding customers.

If so, you were one of the millions of people who discovered Camille Cottin, the French actress who played Andrea Martel, the tough woman with piercing green eyes who tries to keep her agency afloat, while her personal life falls apart.

In “Ten percent”, Camille plays an agent who puts everything into her job. And he takes his eye off his life.

The series was one of the few joys of the pandemic, a joy that prompted viewers to try other international content, such as Lupin and Money Heist, surpassing “the barrier of an inch of height in the subtitles”, to which the director of Parasite, Bong Joon Ho, during his speech at the 2020 Golden Globes.

The success of Ten percent has led to the creation of spin-offs in Great Britain, Quebec and Turkey. And now there is talk of an independent film in which Andrea Martel will move to New York.

But Cottin, 42, whose training includes theater and sketch comedy, the phenomenon that this series became in the United States was completely lost, while she was locked up in Paris with her husband and two young children. Turns out, he felt just as sad as the rest of us.

“I was quite concerned about the pandemic and a little paralyzed.”Cottin said in English, during a recent video call. “I wanted to be creative, but it wasn’t at all. Plus, I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to work again. I was scared“.

“Now you tell me that during the pandemic everyone saw Ten percent. I was miles away, imagining being buried alive“He added with a ghoulish laugh.

Naidra Ayadi, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Camille Cottin, Rachel Lang and Louis Garrel, last month, the Cannes.  AFP.

Naidra Ayadi, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Camille Cottin, Rachel Lang and Louis Garrel, last month, the Cannes. AFP.

Cottin conducted this interview in a car, on his way home from a costume fitting for the Cannes Film Festival. (The test did not involve a bulky feather dress like the one Juliette Binoche wore at the end of the second season.).

His work with Matt Damon

Cottin’s new movie, Stillwater, in which she plays Virginie, a hardworking actress and single mother who guides the repentant father of Matt Damon Through an ill-conceived trip in Marseille, just released to mostly positive reviews. Manohla Dargis called it “electric” in The New York Times. Vanity Fair He noted her performance as “brilliant and charming”.

But this moment in the car was a lot less glamorous. Her 6-year-old daughter was fast asleep, her head on her mother’s lap. And when the car stopped I could see Cottin multitasking at work, picking up his sleeping daughter, a pink taffeta pouf on one arm, his video call still on the other, and a bright Parisian sky in the background.

"Ten percent" it already has four seasons.  The fifth and a cinematic spin-off is coming.

“Ten percent” already has four seasons. The fifth and a cinematic spin-off is coming.

He stopped for a moment to put his daughter to bed before continue the conversation on your bathroom floor, a commitment he made to his daughter, who asked him not to stray too far. Then her husband Benjamin came home. “The father is here!” She exclaimed: “Virginie would have had to handle that situation alone.”

After a small role in Allied, 2016, starring Brad Pitt, Stillwater represents Cottin’s largest presentation to the American public yet. It may be the role that allows her to officially go from obscure French actress to global sensation.

Later this year he will perform alongside Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in House of Gucci, by Ridley Scott, in the role of Paola Franchi, Maurizio Gucci’s girlfriend. And she will reprise her role as Hélène, a high-ranking member of the murderers’ organization. The Twelve, on Killing Eve, de la BBC.

The jump to international fame

The international community woke up to Cottin’s charms long before all of us in the United States stayed home. When Ten percent appeared on British television, Cottin discovered that the series had found an audience on the other side of the English Channel..

It was 2019, and she was attending a casting directors festival in Kilkenny, Ireland, with her own French agent. Suddenly he was the center of attention.

“They told me: ‘Could I take a selfie with you?’, and I said: ‘That? You’re the casting director for James Bond ‘“, counts between laughs.

That trip and another to London took her to the casting of Gucci already meet the producer of Killing Eve.

However, the series about the agency of actors’ representatives did not influence the decision of the director of Stillwater, Tom McCarthy, to hire Cottin. He still hadn’t seen the series when he met her. Rather, he hired her based on an audition that he said astonished him and his co-writers, Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré.

“You can’t stop looking at her when she’s on the screen”he said in a recent interview from France. “She’s a little scattered, a little all over the place. She’s funny, self-deprecating, empathetic. She’s tough. She’s direct. And I feel like, after watching her for a year and a half in the editing room, every moment with her is very vivid“.

For Cottin, Virginie, who is open and loving and always looking for something to fix, she is almost a copy of herself.

“Virginie is the character that most resembles me“He says, although it is one of the few roles he has played in English.” We have the same energy. And, until now, I have almost always been considered for women with much more tension. A little more control. “

There are an ease in Cottin that disarms, that is evident in the initial presentation and that belies the cold veneer of his character from Ten percent. She doesn’t take herself too seriously – McCarthy calls her “dumb” – and one quickly realizes its great potential for comedy.

It’s a skill she exhibited in her best-known French role, playing the leading lady in the prank TV show. Bitch, which means “bitch” in her mother tongue. His exploits include scaling Kensington Palace in search of a Prince Harry performance.

The producer of Ten percent, Dominique Besnehard, described Cottin as “pretty, scathing and sassy”, who in the role of Andrea “she goes very well from toughness to fragility”.

For Cottin, he is a character he admires and understands, but who finds himself away from his own personality.

“Me I have much less security than Andrea. She is more self-confident, more strategic and knows how to make decisions, “he says:” If I have to make a decision, it will take a long time, always too long. And I will ask everyone their opinion on that. “

Fabrice Luchini y Camille Cottin, in "The library of forgotten books", movie of 2018.

Fabrice Luchini and Camille Cottin, in “The Library of Forgotten Books”, a 2018 film.

Cottin has no doubts about her career, but as an actress forty-something you are more aware that the peak moments you live today may not predict those you will see in your future.

“Maybe, if I were 20 years old, I would think: ‘My God, maybe I’ll have an Oscar’“he says, laughing, with a mocking American accent.” It’s never upright. You can take a step, you can consider that you have gone up and, suddenly, you can go down. Nothing is a straight line, “he graphs.

And he acknowledges that “I see these projects as trips, great trips. I can’t say: ‘Well now that I did this I can tell what comes next. ‘, because I do not know. And that does not mean that it will be repeated. “

Besnehard suggested he might have a career like Binoche’s, accepting papers both in France and in the United States. “I hope the Americans don’t hog her,” he said.

McCarthy sees a much clearer trajectory.

“I foresee great things for Cami and not just because of our movie, which I think she’s great in, but it’s her moment,” McCarthy said. And he confessed: “It can be felt when someone has earned a moment in their career, and he’s gotten into work, and he’s ready to take over. “

Source: The New York Times

Translation Patricia Sar


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The French made the leap from the Ten percent series to Hollywood