What got you more into That’s wonderful ! ?
Alice Pol- I was touched by the fable side, which showed through in particular through the character of Pierre, played by Clovis Cornillac. This man without age or social background grew up in a remote space and feels overwhelmed when he arrives in the world. I liked that this almost unreal story could lead us to reflect on our society and its codes, and that through the positive gaze of this benevolent boy we could question habits with questionable aspects.
How was Anne an attractive character?
Alice Pol- It’s one of those roles you can’t refuse. Anna is a woman on the margins, damaged by life, who, by helping a lost man, will reveal herself as much as him. To embody it, I remembered my first years in Paris: I was then neither a student, nor active, nor unemployed. Like her, I was in a gray area, knowing that to belong to society I would have to go through administrative procedures. Then I built this character around his goal – to regain custody of his daughter – because everything he does is tied to that goal. Little by little, tenderness will replace his anger. In my interpretation, I liked to be “in reaction”: if Clovis represents the white clown, I am a bit of the august, and returning the ball is really jubilant.
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Which director is Clovis Cornillac?
Alice Pol- An extra man! I had the chance to have him several times as a partner, in Adventure of the Daisies or, recently, in If we sang. He is an excellent comrade, generous, and since he is also a great actor who plays as he breathes, he has the power to make others better. As a director, he has ambition, and that’s nice because, on his set, we all felt that the project would be pushed to its maximum. In life, he is altruistic and humble, and if he has become so popular, it is because people are not mistaken.
How do you explain that your filmography is full of films devoid of cynicism?
Alice Pol- No one is free from bad feelings, but since my early school years I have had a deep contempt for meanness or hasty judgement. I am well aware that these choices of films can convey a naive, even silly image of me, but it amuses me rather ultimately, because, in truth, I am quite the opposite. Very lucid, sometimes dark, I dream precisely of this candor that I never had. In a way, I tell myself that as an actress I succeeded! [Rires.] In addition, benevolence is so lacking in our lives that if I can distil a little of it through my films and fill the spectators, especially children, with dreams and desires, I am delighted.
Where does your ease in comedy come from?
Alice Pol- Hard to say. One thing is certain, I like to laugh! As a child, I was able to see certain films forty times because they amused me, and I understood very early on that humor was a very powerful weapon. Moreover, I think that comedy actors all have a very strong link to childhood, because they perceive, with the same acuity as children, the ridiculousness of certain situations. But it must also be said that comedy attracts fewer young actors and that it was certainly easier for me to find a place there. The genre is not serious, not very chic, it does not allow you to win prestigious prizes and be considered by the cinema world. On the other hand, comedy actors are valued by the public, and when you hear a room laughing or a spectator confides in you that you have brightened up their evening, you say to yourself that it is not in vain.
What romantic comedies rocked your youth?
Alice Pol- I dreamed a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, because the English know how to show extreme humor in humor, especially with female characters who are not afraid of ridicule. In my eyes, it’s essential, because, by falling in love, you let go and you necessarily trip over the carpet a bit. As an actress, this genre is a fabulous playground, because it allows you to reach a higher emotional step, to access the soul through the royal voice, and it is quite irresistible.
“I think comedy actors all have a very strong connection to childhood”
Apart from love, what gives you color?
Alice Pol- Nature. Whether it’s the sea or the mountains, I like to feel small in the middle of large expanses, because it allows me to put a lot of things into perspective. That’s why I live in the scrubland, near Marseille, when I’m not working, and I take the opportunity to see my friends and my family, who also know how to give me color. But I must admit that I love being on a set, in contact with passionate artists and technicians who are struggling for a common project, and I love feeling the adrenaline that such a job can provide. The experience allowing me, moreover, to have less stage fright, I can now allow myself to observe my partners more, and that pleases me enormously.
Do you indulge in other hobbies in your free time?
Alice Pol- I took up singing again, through lessons or for shows, and finding myself on stage with musicians gives me great pleasure. I’m not at the stage of thinking about an album, but I’m making sure that music takes a place in my life, because the more you use your voice and your body – thanks to dance, for example -, the better you can exercise the art of acting. And my other passion is writing. It keeps me busy since, after writing a few plays, I am currently finishing my first novel.
What are your film projects?
Alice Pol- I don’t have a shoot in sight, but next August 17 will be released Old Furnaces 2: good for asylumwhich allowed me to rediscover the whimsical and piquant writing of Wilfrid Lupano, the inspired staging of Christophe Duthuron and my shock partners: Pierre Richard, Bernard Le Coq and Eddy Mitchell… with whom I will then share the ‘poster of’A small miracle, the comedy by Sophie Boudre. In this film, I play a teacher who, after the fire at her school, is going to set up her class in the premises of a retirement home run by Jonathan Zaccaï.
What pleasure have you had to find the boards recently?
Alice Pol- An immense joy, because for ten years I had not had the opportunity to enjoy this relentless pleasure there is in seeking the meaning and the intonation of each word. Daniel Benoin called on me for the French creation of Disgrace, alongside Sami Bouajila, Adel Djemai, Mata Gabin and Olivier Sitruk, at the Théâtre Anthéa in Antibes, and we will resume the show next year at the Théâtre du Rond-Point, in Paris. This piece, awarded the Pulitzer Prize, traces a dinner in the upper spheres of Manhattan. She is brilliant, tragic, and this time, I can tell you that we are far from gentleness and benevolence! [Rires.]
That’s wonderful !, by Clovis Cornillac. Released June 1.
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Alice Pol: “I love feeling the adrenaline of this job”