Profile: Anne Consigny of Wild Grass

Profile: Anne Consigny of Wild Grass

25 May 1963 in Alençon, Orne, France

One of five children, Consigny grew up in the French capital, where her father was a high-ranking civil servant. She attended Paris’ National Conservatory for Drama aged 16 and two years later joined the Comédie-Française, before going on to work with the famous British theatre director Peter Brook. Her breakthrough film role came in 2005, when she won a French César for her performance as a woman wavering on the brink of marriage in the melancholic romantic drama Not Here to be Loved. Since then the blonde actress has impressed in a number of films including Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, and Jean-François Richet’s Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1.

What’s she up to now?
This week sees the Scottish release of veteran French director Alain Resnais’ Wild Grass, a playful and visually flamboyant tale of romantic chance and coincidence. Consigny plays Suzanne, the understanding wife of the middle-aged obsessive Georges (André Dussollier).

On preparing for Wild Grass
‘Resnais asked us to read the Christian Gailly book The Incident, which Wild Grass is based on. He actually asked us to read all 13 novels that Gailly has written, so that the we would understand the tone of the film. The writing is very musical, it’s like a piece of jazz.’
On being directed by Resnais: ‘He hardly says anything during shooting. After we’d done a take I’d take a look at him, because he tends to be behind the camera. I could tell from his eyes whether he was happy or not – they were either sparkling or lifeless. In terms of instructions, he’d just say, “Move a bit to the left, or to the right”.’

On The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
‘Julian Schnabel is totally different to other directors I’ve seen. He gives the impression of not doing any work at all. We always finished two hours early every day, and when we did my scenes, I got the impression we were just practising. I was amazed when I saw the finished film, and everything was there.’

Interesting fact
Consigny’s son Vladimir, who plays her character’s on-screen son in Wild Grass, has also appeared in an episode of the British sit-com The Inbetweeners.

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