Cotillard stars as killer whale trainer in Audiard’s Rust and Bone
by Fabien Lemercier
07/10/2011 - Shooting started last Tuesday in Antibes on Jacques Audiard’s highly-anticipated sixth feature: Rust and Bone. After The Beat That My Heart Skipped [trailer] (in competition at Berlin in 2005 and winner of eight César awards in 2006) and A Prophet [trailer, film focus] (winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2009, nine César awards and a nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2010), the director has this time hired France’s biggest star of the moment Marion Cotillard (straight back from shooting Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises). The cast also includes Belgian actors Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead [trailer, film focus]) and Bouli Lanners (Eldorado [trailer]), alongside Céline Sallette (House of Tolerance [trailer]) and Corinne Masiero (Louise Wimmer [trailer]).
Co-scripted by the director and Thomas Bidegain, the film is adapted from Canadian author Craig Davidson’s short story collection of the same name, centred on characters on the margins of society, plagued by their inner demons and their obsessions.
The film will follow Ali, whose real name is Alain (Schoenaerts), a 25-year-old dropout, who lives in northern France. Penniless and landed with a five-year-old son to look after, he goes to stay with his sister in Antibes and starts looking for casual work.
At a nightclub, Le Fever, he meets Stéphanie (Cotillard), a killer whale trainer at the Marineland Water Park in Antibes, and falls in love with her. At first, she isn’t interested in him, until she suffers a terrible accident, during one evening’s performance. This tragedy is a huge blow to Stéphanie for she is left handicapped. An unusual, bodily and codified relationship then develops between Ali and her.
Rust and Bone is produced by Pascal Caucheteux for Why Not Productions for around €16.3m. The budget includes co-production support from France 2 Cinéma, Page 114 (the director’s company) and Belgian outfit Les Films du Fleuve (headed by the Dardenne brothers). Shooting will last eight weeks including five on the Côte d’Azur (including in Cannes where the film could have its premiere next May) and stints in Belgium, the Paris region and northern France with lensing by DoP Stéphane Fontaine.
French theatrical distribution will be managed by UGC, while Celluloïd Dreams, which is handling international sales, has already pre-sold the film to Italy (Bim Distribuzione), Benelux (Lumière) and the UK (StudioCanal).
(Translated from French)