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Do you remember the first time you talked about the movie with Salma ?

I remember very well : we wanted to work together for such a long time... I had seen Luc Besson for breakfast during the shooting of Fanfan and said to him : “Would you like to produce a movie with Salma and myself?”. He answered : “I love that idea, I want to do it and I’ll give you a script in three months”. And that’s exactly what happened ! I remember Salma was very excited when I called her to give her the news and we were even more excited when we read the script for the first time because we saw there was a very funny movie for us.

You had already worked with Luc Besson : how much of you did he put in Maria?

Maybe the temper, not that he’s ever seen me angry... I think he does know me well, so we must have something in common, Maria and I, but I never ask myself that question when I work on a part : you just have to understand her.

What were your favourite westerns ?

All the westerns Sergio Leone did and some from Clint Eastwood. As a woman, I particularly like Viva Maria : it’s one of the few made with women and Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot are amazing in it !

What’s your worst recollection from the training?

I’d say the horses even if I had already worked with horses and knew how to ride. But sometimes they wanted us to go really fast and it was quite terrifying. I remember the last day when I was so scared because we were going at such an incredible speed... I mean we were really doing risky things, all by ourselves : we had to be alert and careful.

You were quite good at fighting with Salma in the church ...

In the movie, of course! For real, I don’t think I would ever need to get to the hands, I usually don’t fight with people, it’s not the way I solve my problems!

What scene did you have special pleasure to do?

All the training scenes with Sam (Shepard): he’s a lion! I love his work as an actor, as a writer, and it was so great to hang out with him in the middle of the desert and ask him stories about his life. He’s so sweet, so smart ... very inspiring for us!

You don’t mention the kissing scene?

Of course : we laughed all day ! Steve and I had a very good relationship from being working together almost the whole year, with Sahara and then Bandidas: we got to know each other pretty well. He’s one of the funniest people I know and also an amazing actor with a special quality for comedies, which I find very difficult to do. And as a friend, you can really trust him, he’s a guy with great values and great integrity.

Do you particularly like working with first time directors?

In this case, it was great because Joachim and Espen were so full of life and so imaginative.

You’ve just finished Pedro Almodovar’s last movie : how important is it for you to keep doing Spanish movies?

Very important! And not only Spanish but European movies in general : I want to always be able to combine that with my work in America. Even if as an actress, I think the process is the same with big or small budgets. I want to work with talented people and there are so many in Europe! I don’t want to close the door to anyone, that’s why I’m studying so many languages, it’s a lot of extra effort but that’s what I love about this work !


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