Laetitia Casta, the role of her life

By Pascale Nivelle

Posted today at 7:00 p.m.

This November evening, in Marseille, the public attends the running-in performance of Clara Haskil, prelude and fugue. The premiere will take place at the Théâtre du Rond-Point, on January 5, in Paris. Alone on stage, Laetitia Casta, 43, makes you forget the pin-up of the Pirelli calendars of the 1990s. Mat on the shoulder, barely made up, the body blurred by the wise black dress offered by her friend Anthony Vaccarello, the director artistic Saint Laurent, it tells the true story of a genius pianist born in Romania, half hunchbacked and who ran all her life behind fame and cachet. When the lights go out, the spectators, standing, kiss and applaud. Coming for Casta, they cried for Clara, taken by history and romantic melodies played by pianist Işil Bengi.

Banned from rehearsals for nearly a year, Line and Dominique Casta, Laetitia’s parents, who came from their Corsican village, melted into the public, as did the actor Louis Garrel, husband of the actress. “She is in such empathy with her character that there could be no one in the room, she would still play”, slip this one, visibly amazed. Behind the scenes, Safy Nebbou, the director, reassures Laetitia Casta, pale as a specter. “She is terribly afraid of being a model and not an actress, it is a very strong driving force for her”, he explains.

Laetitia Casta, in Paris, November 8, 2021.

Safy Nebbou saw her desire to break the mirror of glamor in 2017. It was during an audition for a first play, a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s film Scenes of married life. “She wanted this role with all her might, he remembers, so I accompanied her where she wanted to go, which is to become an actress. “ The play was an esteemed success and everyone went their own way. Him in his films (The one you believe in 2019, The Eye of the Wolf, in 2020), she in her long-standing profession, fashion and advertising shoots, and supporting roles in the cinema.

In 2020, she returned to see Safy Nebbou with the biography of Clara Haskil by Serge Kribus (L’Avant-scène théâtre, 2019). She convinced him, found the funding that was lacking to put on the show. “We have to do it”, she kept repeating, obsessed with the idea of ​​being alone on stage. All last spring, in Lattes, in the Hérault, she repeated her role until exhaustion, eight and a half months pregnant during the last work session.

“I worked like crazy, blackened entire notebooks. I really put myself in danger, I had to get there! »Laetitia Casta

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Laetitia Casta, the role of her life