Nathalie Baye


  1. Isabelle Sadoyan, Les Fantomes du chaplier (US: The Hatter’s Ghost), France, 1981.    Claude Chabrol, father of la nouvelle vague, was fascinated by Baye ever since Une etrange affaire, but she’d just been a hooker in La Balance..  “Cha-Cha” finally won her  “cold eroticism” for La fleur de mal, 2002.
  2. Miou-Miou,  Coupe  de Foudre  (Entre Nous), France, 1983.    Too busy filming J’ai epousé une ombre. She  had replaced Miou-Miou the previous year in  Le retour de Martin Guerre
  3. Nicole Garcia, Garçon!, France,  1983.      For auteur Claude Sautet, casting  movie roles had the rigour of a musical partition – he wanted the good notes he heard in his head. So when casting icon Dominque Besnehard suggested his copine, for Claire,  Sautet shook his head of notes and cried: Garcia!
  4. Marlène Jobert, Les Cavaliers de l’orage, France-Yugoslavia, 1983.    “I have to thank Johnny Hallyday for the role,” said Jobert,  “because he made Nathalie pregnant.” (With future actress Laura Smet). The grand romance of the Grande Guerre, 1914-18, was her last important role. Suits said Eva Green’s mother was  too old –  only three years more than Schygulla!  Jobert switched to reading, then writing childrens’ books with the result that there at least four schools in France called… L’ecole de  Marlene Jobert.
  5. Isabelle Huppert, Madame Bovery, France, 1991. Realisateur Claude  Chabrol  sought her again  –  she wasn’t free,
  6. Marie Trintignant, Betty, France, 1992.    Third time. It was 21 years before Nathalie and Chabro;  got together for  La Fleur du mal, 2003.
  7. Fanny Ardant, Ridicule, France, 1995.    Scenarist Remi Waterhouse wanted Baye. But realisateur Patrice Leconte felt Ardant’s “bizarrerie, strange magnetisation, voice, elegance” better suited the 18th Century Madame de Blayac: “Learn to hide your insincerity, so that I can yield without dishonour.”
  8. Carole Bouquet,  La Rouge et le Noir, France-Italy-Germany, TV, 1996.    Once Depardieu made tele-films, other vedettes   embraced la telé. casting marvel Dominique Besnehard hand-picked Stendhal’s Madame de Rénal for his favourite. He was still negotiating his agent’s fee when hearing that  Bouquet had somehow  hand-bagged  the role. Top TF1 suit  Guillaume  de Vergès was simply kissing the asses of his Italian partners. “They don’t don’t want Nathalie.  She’s almost a  has-been!” Yeah, which is why she was back on on top with Vénus Beauté Institut, winning best actress at Venice for Une liasion pornographique (and, soon enough, a second Best Actress César for Le Petit Lieutenant)  and by 2002 playing DiCaprio’s mother in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can.  When Baye  had to miss the tests session because of filming.  Spielberg (who’d loved her since Truffaut’s Une chambre verte 21 years earlier) sent his mate, Brian De Palma, to Paris to test her as soon as she became available. Some has-been! 
  9. Fanny Ardant, 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. 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 Ardent and Deneuve joined Emmanuelle Beart, Danielle Darrieux, Isabelle Huppert, Virginia Ledoyen, Firmine Richard, Ludivine Sagnier. Result: They shared the  Berlin festival’s Silver Bear for “Outstanding Artistic Achievement” in 2002.
  10. Naomi Watts, Adore, France-Australia, 2012.    Always up to date with the latest books,  plays, ideas,  etc, it was Jeanne Moreu who told the now producteur Dominique Besnehard about Doris Lessing’s book, The Grandmothers. He immediately thought of (who else ?) Nathalie Baye opposite, say, Fanny Ardant or Nicole Garcia – with old pals  Jacques Doillon or François Ozon directing.  Instead, it became the first English language film helmed by the former actress Anne Fontaine (put up by Besnahard in  his casting days, for Isabelle Adjani’s role in  L’Eté meurtrier, 1982). Her husband, Philippe Carcassonne, produced with Besnahard’s Mon Voisin Productions among the five co-producing entities. (In his autobiography, adore appears to be Besnehard’s favourite word). 










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