If there are two things Marion Cotillard can handle like a champ (besides of course, acting), it’s dealing with the press and tackling on-screen sex scenes. The actor, who’s pregnant with her second child, was asked about her very intimate scene with Brad Pitt in the WWII drama Allied point-blank at a press conference before the film’s premiere. Regardless of the rumors that have been plaguing the internet about a romance between the actor and Pitt amidst his public divorce, Cotillard handles the question with class, ease, and humor. Because that’s what professionals do. And although the sex scene is beautifully shot and well-acted, Cotillard swears the process was as awkward as it was hilarious — even for pros like her and Pitt.
As almost any actor will tell you, Cotillard says that a lot of rehearsing goes into such a passionate scene. “We have very determined choreography,” she says. But with logistics eventually comes creativity. “Then it allows you freedom. When you know exactly what your body will do, then you can act, you can be free to give the emotion, the feelings,” she says. “Because [my character] won’t think, ‘Oh, what am I gonna do next? Am I gonna be on top of him, or?’” But as creatively liberating as a scene like this can be, in this case, it can also be sort of uncomfortable.
“It’s an awkward situation,” the 41-year-old says. Cotillard sets the scene, saying she, Pitt, and director Robert Zemeckis were all squished into a fake car as she and Pitt had to get to business for the cameras. “The three of us would bond just by [sitting] in this car… We laughed, because you need to get it out. Because this is so weird,” she says. Instantaneously, the entire group of reporters laughs with her.
Luckily, Cotillard says she and Pitt were on the same page. “You get this time of looking at each other saying, ‘OK, this is so weird.” She reenacts the thought process as such: “OK, we’re gonna do this, then we’re gonna do [this] on top of you, then we’re gonna kiss, mwah, mwah, mwah.’” She recites it almost like a checklist.
But fans would never know how awkward things got in the backseat of that little car on set just from watching the film, because the end result is anything but uncomfortable. “Throughout the day you’re in character, and everything happens because it’s the authenticity of the character,” she says.
Zemeckis compares the sex choreography to a dance number saying, “it’s all movement.” And the pair performed it beautifully.
Cotillard explains how she had Pitt’s back beyond the sex scene. When it comes to helping the actor with his French, Cotillard doesn’t beat around the bush. “I helped him by being very tough,” she says. “I was very honest with him. But at the same time, I really wanted to support him and the process that I went through, I know how hard it is.”
This right here is a dream team for the ages.
Allied premieres November 23rd.
Image: Paramount