Marlene Jobert

  1. Michele Mercièr, Un veuve en or, France-Italy-West Germany 1969.    Delighted with her in his previous work,  Faut pas prendre les enfants du bon Dieu pour des canards sauvages (!), prodigious dialoguist-turned-auteur Michel Audiard (129 scripts in 36 years) wanted Jobert as his golden widow. The producer did not and banked on  Angelique.  But the Mercièr who debuted in Audiard’s 1957 script, Retour de Manivelle, was now a prima donna – and totally lost in comedy.
  2. Romy Schneider, Max et les Ferrailleurs, France, 1971.   A so-so actress and wannabe star, Marlène was riding high  (on the backs of her directors and co-stars) and felt Max’s hooker was too small a role. And so, he went back (and not for the first time) to Romy, his previous leading lady from Les Choses de la vie, 1969.They made three more  films together. Sautet, she always declared, was the realisateur who knew her best. How Jobert  must have regretted that as her star quickly  dimmed and  she started writing to  directors, unashamedly begging for  work.

  3. Romy Schneider, Cesar et Rosalie,  France, 1972.    
    “Oh,” said Romy,  “so Catherine doesn’t want it, then?”   Two mecs in love with the same woman…  Oskar Werner refused the  younger guy. Well, he’d been here before and saw little reason to modernise Jules et Jim, the French classic  that made  him a  star in ’62..  (Besides he was the same age as his César, Vittorio Gassmann, a year younger than Yves Montand). BB-Ventura-Belmondo became BB-Gassman-Belmondo, then Deneuve-Montand-Belmondo, then Schneider-Montand-Depardieu, ultimately, beautifully Schneider-Montand-Sami Frey…. When Deneuve proved pregnant. Annie Giradot wanted it., Marlene Jobert pleaded for it,  But  Romy proved a glorious Rosalie in Claude Sautet’s greatest box-office triumph, his most autobiographical work –  the most cherished by the French public.

  4. Miou-Miou, Tendre Dracula (US: Tender Dracula, or Confessions of a Blood Drinker), France, 1974.     Even as a horror star aching to make  romances, what was Peter Cushing was doing in this garbage (and being dubbed by Jean Rochefort). .Jobert must have actually read the script as she hastily quit the directing debut – at age 78! – of  her  producer friend  Pierre Grunstein…  at age 78!
  5. Miou-Miou, Marcia trionfale (US: Victory March), Italy-France,  1975.    Her ex-lover, the future #1 French  producer-auteur Claude Berri gave her  the female lead in Marco Bellochio’s project. Then, she read in the paper that Miou-Miou had the role. (Well, she was the lover of the star Patrick Dewaere).  Berri hadn’t even even warned Jobert. It’s called vengeance – for her quitting his Tendre Dracula production.
  6. Jane Birkin, La fille prodigue (US: The Prodigal Daughter),  France, 1980.    Even before becoming her agent,  Paris casting icon Dominique Besnehard shopped his beloved Marlène around to everyone…
  7. Isabelle Adjani, L’année prochaine si tout va bien, France, 1981.    Jean-Loup Hubert’s first film was penned for Jobert and Guy Bedos. They passed and he “found myself at Adjani’s place, totally fascinated by the look in her eyes.  She asked: “And the  director…?’ Suddenly, I let it happen: ‘Me! I feel capable’.”  She agreed, so did Thierry Lhermitte.
  8. Nathalie Baye, La Balance, France,  1982.   Marlène, Caroline Cellier, and Marie-France Pisier were also on casting director Dominique Besnehard’s wish list.  His friend, Nathalie, took some persuading to even try as Philippe Léotard was already booked – they’d just separated after a long affair.  Finally, she gave in to Besnehard’s entreaties, and US director Bob Swaim’s great  script.  The ex-couple  won best acting Césars (Baye’s  third after two support wins).
  9. Isabelle Adjani, Subway, France, 1984.    Gaumont wanted Marlène and Gérard Lanvin, but new auteur Luc Besson preferred Adjani and Lambert – not a safe bet as far as the venerable  company was concerned.  D’oh!
  10. Isabelle Huppert,   8 femmes, France,  2001.    After Charlotte Rampling in  Sous le sable, 1999, auteur François Ozon wanted to film more impeccable actresses – a la Cukor’s The Women, 1938. Casting icon Dominique Besnehard recalled a creaky, 70’ whodunnit by Robert Thomas: 8 femmes. It proved a decent  launchpad…  now a la Douglas Sirk. At first, Ozon and Besnehard could only come up with 7 femmes, including Catherine Deneuve, who recalled Alfred Hitchcock giving up on another old-fashioned Thomas murder mystery, Man Trap. Ozon’s film became quite an Artmedia talent agency production when Huppert and Deneuve joined Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Beart, Danielle Darrieux, Virginia Ledoyen, Firmine Richard, Ludivine Sagnier. And  not Jobert  who  quit  acting (or vice-versa) after her 45th screen role in a 1998 tele-film and started recording, then writing children’s books. Now there are at least four French schools called L’Ecole de Marlene Jobert while her daughter became a far bigger and global star: Eva Green. 

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  10