The favorite actress of the French turns out to be a writer. Sophie Marceau publishes a funny book, where childhood memories and stories mingle, sprinkled with poems of her own. It’s astonishing, intimate, without voyeurism, precise then distant like a dream.

Sophie Marceau remembers her parents, a few love stories, she knits moments of life. The form appears much more elaborate than a banal autobiographical work. Sophie Marceau digs, looks for words, turns of phrase, to offer readers, fans, a hidden, underground part of herself.

Le Point: How did this form of storytelling – short stories, poems – come to you?

Sophie Marceau: I had no specific intention of publishing a collection of short stories. I write over the months, on my desk, to give shape to things, when I’m bored. Acting isn’t an easy job, you’re in a rush for the few months of filming and then…nothing! A great void.

Some multiply the shootings, experience the anguish of this emptiness. Not me. During this suspended time, I recharge myself, I find myself and… I write. It is a haven. The common thread is my experience with people, I love observing them. What is related to my job.

Do you feel like an outsider in literature as you must have been when you started out in film?

There is no classic way to make cinema. It’s a world of disparate people that I wasn’t destined for, but I wanted to work, do, be active. And I went to get him this job. I was 12 years old, I felt that school, diplomas, it was not my thing.

You reveal a little of your childhood, a melancholy, a sadness emerges… You talk about your exchanges with your mother on femininity, success…

My daughter once said to me, “Mom, I don’t know the first thirty years of your life. This sentence was perhaps a trigger. Our young years constitute the breeding ground of our personality.

What is touching is the description of your discomfort when you land in a bourgeois dinner, your embarrassment, you who come from a working class background…

I grew up in Chelles [Seine-et-Marne, Ed]. I lived for a while, this discomfort. I was projected young in a world so different from mine. People spoke the same language, but we weren’t from the same world. It’s a way of seeing, of laughing, I didn’t have the codes, the bourgeois attitudes. It made me question myself. I had a thirst to learn, to understand, I felt both awake and always out of step.

Let’s say I understood the codes better. I didn’t melt into the bourgeois world though! I still haven’t adopted the rites of this milieu, but I can quite live with it. At 13, I had hardly left my house and suddenly I was traveling to Japan, dining in beautiful Parisian houses!

Was it a shock?

Everything in my life was a shock. Absolutely everything ! Not a thing, not a color, not a word, not a thought, which has not been questioned. After La Boum [directed by Claude Pinoteau in 1980, Editor’s note], I had to completely rebuild myself. This huge upheaval was not easy. I still feel a bit between two shores, the reality of my life at that time and the fiction it became afterwards.

You left quite quickly to live abroad, with an older man, the director Andrzej Zulawski…

I hid in Poland. I was so confused.

Did your parents understand you?

Yes. They trusted me… A friend of mine recently told his teenage daughter that he didn’t want her to get into singing. She loved it, but he doesn’t want her to become a little star. Can you imagine if my father had had the same reaction? I would never have passed this casting. But I understand my friend’s reaction, I don’t know if I would have accepted my children working so young!

I turned out to be strong. I had nothing to lose. If it didn’t work, I would have been forgotten, I felt no pressure.

By publishing a book where personal stories mingle with more abstract tales, you expose yourself to criticism, judgments…

This is paradoxical. Because the media exposure has cost me dearly, it’s so violent… But we can’t permanently fear the gaze of others.

Why did you feel the need to share your intimacy? A news seems to evoke your love story with Christophe Lambert…

Everyone knows me so everyone thinks they’re capturing bits and pieces of my existence. However, I identify in these stories with different people, just as different people served as models for the characters. I don’t reveal my life. And if we are afraid, we do nothing. Today, I feel free to post whatever I want.

You run the risk of reviving the people press…

The paparazzi are constantly squatting downstairs anyway. Why can’t I talk about my experiences? It reminds me of Prince Harry. The whole earth reproaches him for having spoken. But why wouldn’t he give his side of the story? It’s his life, why should he shut up and let lies be printed without defending himself? The press hates losing the monopoly of its idols.

When I talk about my mother, I recount personal memories, but these moments shared between us were also shared by many girls with their mothers. The condition of women at that time, clandestine abortions… My mother almost died of it. She taught me not to give up, not to give up.

Your mother sacrificed herself for her husband, her children… Do you think your success avenged her?

She was so pretty… She didn’t have the fate she should have had. She knew it. She was proud that I had become an actress, this success had calmed her down… But I don’t think you can live for others. It is also a regret. I have this annoying habit of thinking that we can change things. I always struggle. I’m like the octopus that constantly finds an escape route. Stuck between four walls, I always end up escaping.

Did you chat with your parents?

Little. They weren’t very talkative, didn’t complain either. They didn’t have time to look at each other’s navels. They worked a lot. I was very bored. I have developed an imagination.

Was it easy to find the right word for this book?

I have long felt betrayed by words because I did not master them. I couldn’t express myself. Not finding the right words makes you angry quite easily. I have learned. For lack of vocabulary, I could say the opposite of what I thought. It’s horrible. I’m hardworking, I feel like I’m at the mine, I dig to find the treasure, the clear and beautiful sentence, almost sung.

In a short story, you say you dream of legs 20 centimeters longer. Did you grow up too fast?

It is a surreal vision. But I can totally imagine it! It is the symbolic representation of my existence. I have no age, I feel like I’m young and old at the same time. I don’t fear novelty by having the wisdom of a person of a certain age…

Why publish at Seghers editions, specializing in poetry, in particular?

I asked a friend for advice, because I don’t know anyone. Really, I have no circuit, I could use the Directory if it still existed! I have no network. I ended up meeting Antoine Caro. He appeared enthusiastic. I knew that publishing “a book by Sophie Marceau” could be a double-edged sword. Either it’s not up to par and it’s a publicity stunt, or it’s a sincere affair. It was.

What place does poetry have in your life?

Reading it makes me happy. We return to the world of childhood, pure imagination, everything is possible. My son introduced me to Bukowski’s poems. It’s amazing what he dares. He was constantly drunk, lived in thirty little square meters, and yet, what humanity, what sensitivity! I also really liked a lovely book by Jean-Pierre Siméon, Poetry will save the world.

Have you digested your fame?

It’s a long, still thorny process. As if you were constantly being watched. You get used to it but sometimes the pain comes back. It’s no coincidence that I lived in the United States, in Poland, even if I feel very French. I need somewhere else and to feel useful, to go where I am not watched.

Do you have any film projects?

No way. I will be back on a theater stage in September.

Why didn’t you do more big American productions?

I have to like it, get the roles… I’ve played in some very nice films, in addition to Braveheart [directed by Mel Gibson in 1995, editor’s note] and James Bond [The world is not enough, by Michael Apted in 1999 , Ed]. I had the chance to work with William Nicholson twenty years ago, for Firelight, a magnificent film, or with Antonioni… I didn’t just play the Frenchwoman who “speaks English”! And I’m not running after roles.

Are you solicited by platforms?

Yes. My bank account would be much better off if I accepted their proposals… I don’t want to do so-called “content”.

You are regularly cited as the woman over 50 who reconciles with the very idea of ​​aging, do you realize that?

It has been said over and over again that women over 40 fall into some sort of abyss, are no longer drinkable! But men bite too! We are strong, strong, autonomous, independent. I’m not sure the same can be said for single guys of the same age!