Juliette Binoche, clad in jeans, a white top, a goldish jacket, and in a pair of pointy heels, is at the Cigar Bar in Singapore’s Raffles Hotel’s Cigar Bar. The actress suddenly chimes, “They are so noisy. It’s annoying, huh?”, pointing to the Bar and Billiard Room next door which flanks the bar we are in.
It is the middle of a sunny afternoon with the last remnants of the lunchtime crowd in the hotel, and Binoche is in Singapore to promote Clouds of Sils Maria, the opening film of the 4th Rendezvous with French Cinema Film Festival, a segment of the Singapore International Film Festival which will run from December 4th to 14th 2014.
The Oscar winner (for The English Patient in 1997) is friendly and sports a smile throughout, as she remembered the different acting approaches of fellow cast members Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz compared to her own style of needing to rehearse. Apparently Stewart isn’t keen on rehearsing as she’s able to deliver her lines by just learning it shortly before shooting, and Moretz travels with lots of her family who help her, and is a hard worker.
Looking at Binoche’s resume of films, it’s noticeable that for every Hollywood movie that Binoche is in, such as this year’s hit movie Godzilla, she does six or seven mainly European films. “Was that a conscious decision you made, in order to avoid Hollywood?” I ask.
Binoche offers, “The mystery of life is that [projects] come to you, and you don’t know why. And it seems so obvious in many ways. So when I say yes, it seems so obvious, but yet I don’t know where it comes from. There’s always a mixture of mystery as well as choice.”
Binoche goes on to explain that Hollywood is not her reality, being that she lives in France, so she never made a choice to be in Hollywood as it doesn’t mean anything to her. And she often has films come to her, instead of seeking them out. Although she is quick to add that she does initiate some of her roles and sees herself as somewhat of a producer even if she’s not formally recognised as one. She goes on to explain that she’s more interested in relationships she develops with directors, and finds that the most inspiring.
The 50-year-old actress has two children and says that “They’ve been my teachers, my masters. You think you’ve got to educate them, but they teach me and that’s what I learn from them.”
And what’s her secret to aging? With a laugh, she says, “I don’t feel time when I work – and that’s probably why I work all the time!” Binoche turns a bit serious as she adds, “Our body, in order to be alive, has to be worked every day.”