Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain Interview
Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain Interview
The French drama Rust and Bone is receiving praise and attention thanks to its intense subject matter, its depiction of love and relationships and a fantastic performance by its star Marion Cotillard. View met with the film’s director Jacques Audiard and the film��s writer Thomas Bidegain to talk about the creation of Rust and Bone, the state of the French film industry, and Marion Cotillard’s legs.
How would you characterise Rust and Bone?

Jacques Audiard

It's a melodrama. We call it melotrash.

Thomas Bidegain

It's a love story, yes.
It was based on a short story by Craig Davidson, but the main characters are not in the short story, so what informed the characters?

Thomas Bidegain

It was based on several short stories, mixed together. There was no love story in the short story, and in the short story there was a man who worked in Sea World and lost a leg.

Jacques Audiard

The woman loses two!

Thomas Bidegain

The minute we thought it was a woman we made a decision to have her lose both her legs, because then it will become something of an erotic proposition. So the character Stephanie doesn't really exist in the short stories, and the character of the man was in the short story about the boxing guy. And we wanted boxing to be an objective for him, and not the beginning. At the beginning he doesn't know he can fight. The love story doesn't exist, but the universe as it is described in the short stories is definitely what is still there, and is what attracted us to the story, the universe of crisis and economic catastrophe.
What was it about the short story that compelled you?

Jacques Audiard

Craig Davidson's short stories were a complete universe - the kids, the fights, the atmosphere of devastation and crisis. We were just coming out of A Prophet, a movie of jail and men, no light, no space, no women, no love. Here I wanted to go into the opposite direction with a strong female character. We really imposed a love story on Craig's stories.
Was there anything you changed to make it more unpredictable? Were there other versions, perhaps?

Thomas Bidegain

No, the ending was always like this. We wanted the film to be unpredictable, and it is, because it's character-driven. Each character took us on a journey, and so we saw it as an adventure film, as a ride. You just get on and go with the characters; actually, as we were writing, the characters were taking us through the story. It was difficult to write scene 54 without having written scene 53, because we were never quite sure what the characters would do in the scene - would they make love, would they talk? It was a game between those characters and us writers.

Jacques Audiard

Sometimes we thought we would tell the story of the characters from the same level. But the characters are not equal, and the main character is him. He's the one that brings us into the story. Because of Stephanie and the accident, you tend to think it's her character that would lead the story, but that was wrong.

Thomas Bidegain

I would like to stress the importance of the kid, as we thought of him as an invisible narrator. At the beginning his eyes are closed, and he wakes up at the end. We know the film would produce very strong images: woman with no legs, fights, images from fairy tales. Images a kid would see, monsters in reality seen through the eyes of a lost kid.
What was it about Matthias that stood out for the part of Ali?

Jacques Audiard

The part we wrote was tougher than it is on screen now. It was a closed character, more like an animal. Very rapidly we thought the character was not seductive enough, and the question was how a girl would fall in love with someone like him. So the job with Matthias was to make the character more juvenile, somehow. He had a lot of charm this way, but it also changed the position he had with his son. In the original scenario he was a violent father, and then with the juvenile thing he became a big brother, clumsy but loving. It really changed a lot of things in the film - in the end he discovers he really is a father, and he had ignored that.

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Content updated: 22/02/2019 14:37

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