Isabelle Huppert

  1. Miou-Miou, La Femme flic, France, 1980.      Due to Heaven’s Gate delays, it was Miou-Miou who won the César – and refused the award she had been nominated for nine times, feeling that artists should not compete against each other.
  2. Nathalie Baye, Le retour de Martin Guerre, France, 1981.       It had to be Depardieu, said realisateur Daniel Vigne, but who should be the wife? Inevitably the (usual) top three were discussed: Miou-Miou and the Isabelles:  Adjani and Huppert.  Then, French  casting ace Dominique Besnehard suggested one of his best-friend actresses. Baye read for Vigne.  Game over, girls!
  3. Dominique Sanda, Une chambre à ville, France 1982.        Jacques Demy announced her six years earlier..
  4. Domiziana Giordano, Nostalghia, Italy-Russia, 1982.  For his first film made outside his motherland, Andrei Tarkovsky, hailed as the finest Russian film-maker since Sergei  Eisenstein, saw numerous films to find his cinematographer and leading lady and usually said: “Hated it, loved her…” Fanny Ardant in Truffaut’s La femme d’à côté Jill Clayburgh in Paul Mazursky’s  An Unmarried Woman…  Aurore Clément in Elio Petri’s Buone notizie.  Brigitte Fossey promised to drop everything to work with him and he was much taken by Isabelle Huppert (she and Clayburgh shared the 1978 Cannes festival best actress award). Italian money insisted on an Italian star. He did not want Marcello Mastroianni or Ugo Tognazzi but fell for Giordano – for the second of her 18 screen roles.  Ingmar Bergman said Tarkovsky was “the most important director of all time.” A minor planet was named after hjm in 1982 – 3345 Tarkovsky.
  5. Carol Laure, Heartbreakers, 1984.  US auteur Bobby Roth interviewed 35 French actresses in Paris – and chose a French… Canadian.
  6. Isabelle Adjani, Camille Claudel, France, 1988.     A Claude Chabrol idea. No script. Adjani and her ex-lover – and ex-cameraman –Bruno Nuytten beat them to it. “Cha-Cha”rewarded Huppert by making her his muse for Violette Noziere,  Une Affaire de femmes,  Madame Bovary, La cérémonie, Rien  ne va plus, Merci pour le chocolat and L’Ivresse du pouvoir during1977-2006.
  7. Mathilda May, Therese Eberhardt, 1992.    After trying both Isabelles (usual rivals Adjani and Huppert), British director Ian Pringle settled for the “stolid” May.
  8. Holly Hunter, The Piano, Australia-France-New Zealand, 1992.    Kiwi director Jane Campion shuffled several actresses for her Ada: The French Huppert and Binoche, plus Angelica Huston ,Jennifer Jadson Leiogh, Madeleine Stowe,  Sigourney Weaver and Sean Young. “Americans are more pugnacious about auditioning,” said Huppert. “I regret not fighting more for the part.” (She simply posed for some period pix and said Campion should look at her films!). Holly was able to perform most of the piano sequences, herself – earning the Oscar and Cannes Festival best actress double whammy. And ten years later, Huppert was…  La Pianiste!
  9. Juliette Binoche, Trois coleurs:Bleue, France-Poland-Switzerland, 1993.     Polish auteur Krzyzstof Kieslowski wanted Huppert for the first of his Bleue, Blanc, Rouge (Blue, White, Red) trilogy about the French love of liberty, equality, fraternity. He totally lost interest, however, on seeing her as German director Werner Schroeter’s Malina. His Paris producer Marin Karmitz suggested Binoche. Although thinking her too young, KK went to meet with her in London while she was making Louis Malle’s Damage in 1992. She took forever to sign her contract because her agent felt it more important for her to accept Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park rather than some unknown Pole. Binoche did not agree.
  10. Isabelle Renauld, Parfait amour! (Perfect Love), France,1995. Controversial auteur Catherine Breillat couldn’t land her dream team: the great Huppert and Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi for the older woman/man affair – except Isabelle Renauld was 29 and Francis Renauld 28! With her condescending attitude towards actors, Breillat never fully explains – or orders – what she wants in her sex scenes and then blames them if they don’t deliver what she hasn’t insisted upon. Webcritic Holly E Ordwayfound it “simultaneously repulsive, boring, and pointless.”
  11. Anne Parillaud, Sex Is Comedy, France, 2002.      Catherine Breillat directs a film about Catherine Breillat directing her previous pseudo-intellectual sex film, A ma soeur… (Yawn). Parillaud looked more like Breillat. And was decidedly cheaper. (Yawn). 
  12. Maggie Cheung, Inglourious Basterds, 2009.       Too busy preparing Copacabana (co-starring her daughter Lilita Chammah) to play Madame Mimieux, “French matron of the Cinematheque,” in Tarantino’s WWII caper.
  13. Tilda Swinton, Suspiria, Italy-US, 2016.    Eight years earlier, when David Gordon Green was planning to re-make Dario Argento’s giallo classic, Huppert was due to be Madame Blanc, deputy headmistress of Germany’s prestigious – and creepy – Tanz Dance Akademie. Hollywood veteran Joann Bennett was Blanc in 1967. Argento was unimpresed by his director friend Luca Guadagnino’s reventual re-tread.  “It betrayed the spirit of the original,” he told Italy’s Rai 1 TV channel in 2019.  “There is no fear.” Green stayed true to neighbourhood, producer-directing  2020s’ cinema or TV chapters of The  Exorcist, Halloween  and Hellraiser.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  13