MICKEY O’BRIEN & JIM STURGESS—Both the music and film industries can be very competitive environments to work in. Do you consider yourself to be an ambitious person? What is something that you would most like to achieve in your lifetime?
CLÉMENCE POÉSY—The competition part is the thing I have more trouble with; I was never very good at it. I remember taking ice skating lessons as a kid, and stopping right when it started to be about winning over someone else. It’s not what drives me, which is annoying because that would probably be a good shield in this world. Ambition is a little different, and yes I think I am ambitious; I think if you’re not you don’t start working in the fields we’re working in. I think every wonderful experience or every deception along the way tends to make you more ambitious, more focused, on what you want to achieve. I’d just like to be proud of the choices I made in my life in general and work-wise too, and feel that I’ve learned and improved along the way both as a person and an actress.
MO & JS—We know that you are a keen photographer and amazing illustrator, do you think it is important to have another creative outlet outside of acting? Have you ever thought about putting on an exhibition of your work?
CP—I think it’s essential; it makes the time between projects something to look forward to. I’m really bad at waiting around, and sometimes you have to if you’re waiting for the right film. Drawing was always a part of my life, but now writing is taking more and more space, too. I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to show things. I’d like it to be in a book or a tiny box – a gallery is way too big and scary. I’ve started a night in Paris, which already exists in London, called 5×15. Five very different personalities come and share a passion, a story, [their] knowledge for 15 minutes each, and we end with a musical act. The idea was to stop sharing only when one has something to sell, but to share for the sake of it, and to find a way for very different people to meet and start things together.
JS—When I was younger, acting for me was a way of releasing a lot of energy and gave me an outlet and a focus that I lacked in a normal classroom situation. What kind of kid were you at school? Was acting and drama an important part of your development as a person and do you still use it and need it in a similar way in your adult life?
CP—I always thought of acting as a way to go back to the world I made up with my sister as a child. We were so serious when we played together and now I feel like I have to do the opposite – find a path to a character that’s never serious; go back to how simple it was to pretend we were another person, at another time, and dive into that without asking myself too many questions. I’ve always liked learning, and it’s one of the greatest things in this job, how you keep learning all the time. Acting has kept my love for stories intact, made my need for stories stronger, and has made me look at all the other art forms as part of one big thing, which is to just tell [stories to] the world, in any possible way.
MO & JS—Have you ever found yourself in a “Hollywood” scenario and are there still people who you get excited about meeting?
CP—I have that with musicians a lot. It took someone to literally push me towards this singer once and tell her how amazing I thought she was. It was just 10 of us in a room but I felt so shy. I was at the Met Ball, which I think might be the craziest event I’ve ever been to. It felt like everyone was there. I was a little overwhelmed and then I saw Cate Blanchett walking past, and just that, just her presence and what she brings to a room, turned the whole chaos into calmness. I’m not very good at those things, though.
MO & JS—You recorded a track, Happenstance, with Miles Kane. How was the experience for you? Do you think you might get involved in anymore music in the future?
CP—It was so much fun. We just spent an afternoon in a South London recording studio and it was done. It was very much like doing a little scene with him, with mics instead of cameras. I do little stuff on my own [musically] that I think are just other ways for me to tell stories. Right now I’m quite happy just telling them to myself, but it’s fun to share a song with someone, [it’s] closer to acting in a way.
MO & JS—One of the things that you don’t account for when you are getting into acting and music is the amount of travelling that you have to do. What is your favorite city or place that you have gone to?
CP—Oh, there are so many. I’m in New York right now, and every time I land here I feel a joy that is very specifically linked to this city. But I was just filming in Hydra [Greece] and the minute I set foot there I knew I wanted to come back as soon as I could. I think I might go shoot a little something there this summer. I’ve loved most of the places I’ve gone to: Russia, Italy, Portugal, America, even Saskatchewan [Canada] in minus 50 degrees. I’ve had this weird thing the last few years – feeling itchy when I spend more than three weeks somewhere. I never thought that would happen to me. I used to hate travelling; [this] job helped me get rid of what was only fear and discover how much you learn when you’re lucky enough to travel like that.
MO & JS—You spend a lot of time between Paris and London. What do you think London has that Paris doesn’t and vice versa?
CP—I think London, or at least East London, has an energy that Paris lacks. I always feel like I can do anything in London. Paris is quieter, calmer; it has a light and a peacefulness that I miss in London. I love how witty and funny Londoners are; how a conversation or an email always has humor in it. I love how serious people get about art and politics in Paris, the endless cafés and conversations.
MO & JS—Do you use music to tap into different emotions as an actress?
CP—I always make a little list of songs for each film, of things that will help instantly bring me back to where I have to be. I remember filming a movie about Joan of Arc and spending weeks in a dungeon where we had to climb a ridiculous amount of steps every morning to get to set. I used to put music on and go up to its rhythm – it felt like the perfect way to get into character.
MO & JS—We love going to see films at the cinema. The only film we remember walking out on was Transformers. What would you consider to be the worst film you have ever seen?
CP—I once had to be a jury in a “fantastic” film festival that turned out to be a horror film festival, and every screening was a very stressful event for me. We had to watch Vietnamese films where women made dumplings out of babies in the morning, then people torturing each other endlessly in the afternoon. I spent a week looking at my feet and I wished I could have left the room so many times.
MO & JS—Technology is evolving fast in our world and affecting our industries. Are you concerned about the way in which this is going or are these exciting times?
CP—I think these are both very exciting times and scary times. I feel like it’s in the hands of a generation who understands it better than I do and is bending technology into a tool they use and not something that uses them. For these people it’s wonderful. I feel a little concerned about the amount of lies, unchecked facts, or complete nonsense you come across in this world, and there’s a whole identity issue that just doesn’t seem right. On the other [hand] it helped last year’s “revolutions” in a way that is absolutely magical and it’s giving a voice back to people who weren’t allowed one. As for technological improvements, I’m in awe of the freedom some of the new cameras allow on a set. I think we’re still experimenting with it all but it’s been keeping this industry on its toes. I can’t wait for what’s next!