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Roxane Mesquida Interview

French actress Roxane Mesquida, stars with Asia Argento in The Last Mistress, a costume drama about a disturbed love triangle. Here she speaks with View London’s Matthew Turner about crying on a cliffside, working with male models and playing a virgin for the third time.

Obviously you've worked with Catherine Breillat before (in A Ma Soeur and Sex Is Comedy). Were you always going to play the character that you play? Was it written for you?
Roxane Mesquida (RM): Well, no. Not really. I didn't know that I was going to play this character. We really want to work together all the time but this character is only 16 so she was scared that I was maybe too old for the role (I'm 26). She needed a big difference between (co-star) Asia Argento and the girl playing Hermangarde. So she had these doubts about me for the role and one day we went to a retrospective of her movies and there was a screening of A Ma Soeur and Sex is Comedy, so we saw them together and she looked at me and said, "Oh my God, you're exactly the same! You haven't changed!" And at this moment, she realised it was completely possible for me to play a 16-year-old girl. Well, I'm always 16, in all the movies I make! And it's really funny because it's the third time I play a virgin in her movies – I've started to specialise in losing my virginity on screen.

What was your favourite scene to film?
RM: My favourite scene was when I cried on the cliffside. It was really cool, because it was really hard. I had to run upstairs like maybe 20 times, it was really high and every time Catherine said, "No. You smiled a little. Go back." I didn't smile! I almost passed out, I was like, "Please Catherine, I promise, I didn't smile...". And so I cried for real.

You don't have many scenes with Asia Argento. Did you get to know her at all?
RM: I have only one scene with her and the really interesting thing is that Catherine asked me to never speak with her. And I never spoke to her on the set, so I don't know her at all. And when I saw the movie for the first time, I realised why Catherine asked me to do that. So, in this scene with Asia, where I'm looking at her, you can see in my eyes that I really don't know her and I'm asking myself questions about her.

What was it like working with (male lead) Fu'ad Ait Aattou?
RM: He's a model and it was his first role. It was really interesting. I really love acting with actors who've never acted before because there is something fresh and spontaneous about them. And Catherine is so good at directing actors – even if you're not an actor, you can only be good in her movies.

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Content updated: 21/11/2018 12:14

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