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about them.' Though that wasn't
her earliest ambition; as a child she
played the oboe and piano - 'I have
a good ear for music so that was
not dicult' - and even dreamt of
studying primates for a living.
The eldest of four, with one
brother and two sisters, Tautou
only became interested in acting
after her parents oered her a
two-week summer course at the
prestigious Cours Florent theatre
school as a reward for getting
good grades in her baccalaureate.
When she arrived in Paris, she
was dumbstruck by the legions of
beautiful women on the streets
near her apartment - only to later
discover that she was actually
living just around the corner
from the Elite model agency.
Oered a full-time place at the
school, which she combined
with a literature degree from
the Sorbonne, her parents were
a little uncertain when she
announced she wanted to forge
a career in theatre and §lm. 'They
were not really happy about that. But they were reassured
because I was a good student. They knew if it didn't work and
I failed as an actress, I would resume my studies if I needed to.'
But that never happened, with Tautou winning a Canal Plussponsored
competition for young actors in 1998.
Her §rst major §lm role was in 1999's Vénus Beauté, playing a
young beautician who falls in love with a pilot scarred by burns.
It proved to be signi§cant in more ways than one: winning her a
Most Promising Actress award at
the Césars (the French Oscars) as
well as her pivotal role in Amélie,
after the §lm's director Jean-Pierre
Jeunet spotted her on the poster
for Vénus Beauté. The impact of
Amélie was to prove life-changing,
but she refused to be overcome.
'When you make yourself more
discreet, and don't expose
yourself much in the media,
you can lead your life quietly.'
Tautou still lives in Paris,
modestly; her only extravagance
seems to be a sailing boat she
bought three years ago (you can
imagine the appeal, with the
isolation such a hobby aords).
As for partners, she's managed
to keep her love life so locked
down you'd think she'd lived the
life of a nun. 'I'm very private,'
she says. 'Especially with feelings
and intimacy. I am very guarded
about that. I keep it to myself.'
Cannes duties aside, the most
high-pro§le thing she's done
recently was to christen the hull
of a trimaran on behalf of her
friend, celebrated French sailor
Michel Desjoyeaux. Having already been on a life-changing sixweek
trek through Indonesia, maybe one day she'll make good
with that dream of hers - to sail around the world on her boat.
It might be just what she needs. 'I'm a very simple person,' she
smiles. 'I'm not trying to pretend I'm something that I'm not.'
Mood Indigo opens in cinemas on 31 July and will be released
on DVD on 8 September.
RISING STAR: Audrey's top �ve roles
Originally written for Emily Watson, but when the
English actress was unavailable, Tautou scored the
part of her lifetime, playing the sweet-hearted
matchmaker from Montmartre. A star was born.
Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
In her §rst English-language role, still her best to date,
she played Senay, a Turkish Muslim working o the
books as a cleaner in a London hotel in Stephen Frears'
thoughtful immigrant drama.
A Very Long Engagement (2004)
Reuniting with her Amélie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet,
this World War I tale about a woman desperately
searching for her §ancé - possibly lost in the Battle
of the Somme - was achingly romantic.
Coco Before Chanel (2009)
Her most iconic role since Amélie, again winning her
a BAFTA nomination, she came of age as France's
grand dame of haute couture. 'Tautou's performance
is one of her §nest to date,' said Variety.
Beautiful Lies (2010)
Another reunion, this time with the director of her
2006 §lm Priceless, this quicksilver rom-com sees
Tautou's prim hairdresser play cupid with her mother,
in an amusing update on Jane Austen's Emma.
This image: with Romain
Duris in Mood Indigo.
Right: queen of couture
in Coco Before Chanel
PHOTOS: REX FEATURES, KOBAL COLLECTION