Léa Seydoux On Fake News, Complex Female Characters And The Importance Of Speaking Out

"People said to me, ‘You should shut up. You shouldn’t tell what really happened on set."

In an opulent hotel suite in Paris’ exclusive eighth district, Léa Seydoux sets the record straight.

As she sits patiently in an oversized Louis Vuitton cream jumper and tailored checked trousers, an Italian writer fires her first question at the star. “That’s fake news. I haven’t worked with that director,” Seydoux quips.

Managing a roomful of eager international journalists comes quite naturally to the star, who has captivated audiences with a slew of rich independent films including Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Crimes of the Future (alongside Kristen Stewart), as well reclaiming the female foil in James Bond’s No Time to Die and Spectre.

Lea Seydeux
Lashana Lynch, Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux at the world premiere of No Time to Die. (Credit: Getty Images.)

Truth telling and reclaiming the narrative is something that’s important to Seydoux, who spoke out against French director Abdellatif Kechiche during the filming of Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle), an erotic epic that was the talk of Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

“I was one of the first who spoke during the filming of La Vie d’Adèle. People said to me, ‘You should shut up. You shouldn’t tell what really happened on set because it’s not other people’s business,’” Seydoux recalls.

“Even in my own family, people would say, ‘Léa, why did you talk?’

It really hurt me. [Kechiche] was very manipulative; he shifted the problem so that if I spoke, people would say that it’s because I’m a bourgeois [middle class]. But that was not the point. The point was that we had been psychologically harassed on set.”

Lea Seydoux
Seydoux and co-star Kristen Stewart at the Cannes premiere of Crimes of the Future. (Credit: Getty Images.)

Today Seydoux gravitates towards roles that showcase authentic depictions of women. Her latest film, One Fine Morning by celebrated director Mia Hansen-Løve, follows a single mother as she navigates the two emotionally unavailable men in her life: one her deteriorating father and the other her married lover.

“I like that the character is very vulnerable and open. It’s a female’s point of view and directed by a woman. We don’t often see men as an object of desire in cinema – it’s always the woman. Now it’s changing. It used to be James Bond and then the women who were the object of desire, not the other way.”

One fine morning
Léa Seydoux in One Fine Morning. (Credit: Supplied.)

The lead character in One Fine Morning was written especially for Seydoux, who was excited by the director’s transparent style and raw aesthetic.

“I wanted to get my hair cut for the role. I prefer me with short hair. I find it beautiful to have no makeup and be natural,” says Seydoux, running her hands over her sleek platinum pixie cut. When asked if she resonated with the character, the actor admits she shared a universal understanding of internalised female rage.

“I connected with the fact the character has a very rich inner life. She’s restrained and guarded but inside it’s like a volcano. The fact that she’s trying to keep a certain facade or dignity. She has this dignity within the character, but inside there is something that is boiling.”

One Fine Morning will be screening at the Alliance Française French Film Festival from March. For details, click here.

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