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  M.   September 17, 2014

Anne Fontaine - Gemma Bovery

By Brigitte Baronnet – September 13, 2014

AlloCiné: Gemma Bovery is a film adaptation of Posy Simmonds. Did you take a lot of liberties with the original work?

Anne Fontaine, director: I reinterpreted it for the screen. I would say that the character of Martin, played by Fabrice Luchini, is the one who has evolved the most. I made him more of a lover. In the book, he’s more of a writer, more of a diagnostician so to speak. Gemma’s character is humanly more sensitive, more fragile, more friendly.

There are scenes that are completely made up. The whole ending is made up. The scenes where, for example, he teaches her to knead bread — which are nearly erotic scenes, in an oblique way — are scenes that we created with Pascal Bonitzer, the film’s screenwriter. It’s a mixture. But I think that it’s very faithful to the tone, to the humour, to the English kind of humour actually. It’s a pretty caustic humour.

I read that you had been reluctant to turn to Gemma Arterton for the role…

It’s not that I didn’t want her. I saw her in Tamara Drewe a few years ago. I thought that she was great. But it was the same author: Posy Simmonds. At first, I kind of dismissed her. I told myself: I won’t repeat an actress who has played the same author. And then, I started an audition in England, I’ve seen girls. One day I had lunch with Isabelle Huppert in Paris. I told her about my project and she asked me if I saw Gemma Arterton. I said: it’s funny you’d say that because I’ve been resisting the idea of seeing her. She told me that she saw her in Marrakesh and that she’s an incredible bombshell. When an actress with Isabelle’s talent speaks of another actress… Listening to her, I thought: you’re stupid, you have to see her. And then, it took only one second. She arrived in the office in the UK. She told me: Bonjour Anne. She had a little speech in French. I wanted to see if the French remained sexy and melodic. And then, I couldn’t resist, not even for a second. In fact, I’ve postponed the meeting.

How was the first meeting between Gemma Arterton and Fabrice Luchini?

The first time was at Fabrice’s. I introduced him to Gemma. Soon, after ten minutes, they spoke in a somewhat unstable French-English, since Fabrice doesn’t speak English very well, and that Gemma had just begun to learn French. And Fabrice has a dog, much like in the film, Martin Joubert has a dog. Soon, they almost laid down to to the ground, they caressed the dog, they looked at each other, something very organic, and which prefigures the sensuality that exists in their relationship later in the film, even if it’s of course a platonic relationship.

Interviewed at the Angouleme French-Speaking Film Festival.

Source in French