Photo: Sony Pictures Classic
Q: How familiar were you with Chanel before the film?
Audrey Tautou: I realized very quickly I didn't know that much, and that my idea of her was kind of false, because I knew of course the icon she was, and the fact that she had created a new style, and how elegant and strong, and strong-minded, and authoritative she was. But I thought that she came from the high bourgeoisie and that everything had been easy for her. So I was very surprised to realize where she was coming from, and in fact, that her vocation was not something that she was born with, but it was more the elements and her unpredictable talent, and the meetings with Boy Capel, which put her on this road. Very surprising, when you think of the empire she created, and how influential she was—she truly influenced women's fashion.
Q: What do you admire about Chanel?
AF: I very much admire autodidacts, because even today it's difficult to be born with nothing and to be able to discover your vocation, your destiny, and to find the strength to break social barriers. I also like mixture of tragedy and success in Chanel's life, because it's a way to transcend tragedy—what she has done with her body, with the clothes, how she succeeded. She doesn't want to inspire compassion or pity. She's a survivor, but she doesn't want to be a victim.