Bond girl Lea Seydoux reflects on ‘insane’ experience filming lesbian teen drama Blue Is The Warmest Color and says director insisted on 100 takes just for one sex scene
Léa Seydoux delved into her ‘insane’ filming experiences on her controversial erotic film Blue Is The Warmest Color in a new Hollywood Reporter profile published Tuesday.
The acclaimed 36-year-old French actress how she and her costar Adèle Exarchopoulos were forced to spend 10 days filming 100 takes of what would become a seven-minute lesbian sex scene in the final film.
Seydoux said that even an intimacy coordinator — a now-standard position in the wake of the #MeToo movement — couldn’t have helped make the production more comfortable because its director Abdellatif Kechiche was ‘just nuts.’
Difficult experience: Léa Seydoux, 36, opened up to the Hollywood Reporter about spending 10 days filming a seven-minute sex scene with 100 takes on 2013’s Blue Is The Warmest Color; seen March 10 in Paris
Blue Is The Warmest Color was a magnet for controversy from its premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where the festival jury broke precedent to award its highest honor, the Palme d’Or to Seydoux, Exarchopoulos and Kechiche, instead of just the director, as it customary.
Several critics and viewers accused the film of objectifying and overly sexualizing its stars with its lengthy and sex scenes, which included copious full-frontal nudity, though it was mostly acclaimed by reviewers.
After it’s premiere, crew members accused Kechiche of harassing behavior and claimed their were labor violations on the production, and both lead actresses said they would not work with the director again.
In her new profile, Seydoux seemed to balance her distaste for the filming process with how the movie’s acclaim elevated her career.
‘It took a year of my life and I gave everything for that film. It really changed my life on many different levels,’ she said.
Pluses and minuses: Seydoux balanced her distaste for filming Blue Is The Warmest Color (pictured) with how it helped her career. ‘It took a year of my life and I gave everything for that film. It really changed my life on many different levels,’ she said; with Adèle Exarchopoulos
No use: She said director Abdellatif Kechiche’s intense filming methods would have thwarted an intimacy coordinator. ‘The way we shot this film was just insane. The guy is just nuts’; seen in 2019
However, she seemed unimpressed with the idea of an intimacy coordinator — someone who choreographs sex and intimacy scenes so that they don’t go past any of the actors’ boundaries — because Kechiche’s intense methods would have thwarted them.
‘No. Not really. It was beyond. It was the whole film, not only the sex scenes,’ she said. ‘The way we shot this film was just insane. The guy is just nuts.’
Seydoux previously said that Kechiche would sometimes demand as many as 100 takes for a single scene, which is far more extreme than the norm.
Although she said after the film’s premiere that it had been her ‘dream’ to work with the director, she also lambasted him in other interviews, leading him to threaten to sue her for allegedly ‘slanderous’ statements.
Back and forth: Seydoux and Exarchopoulos previously sparred in the press with Kechiche after the film’s premiere, even though it was widely acclaimed; still from Blue Is The Warmest Color
Silver lining: She said her time at Cannes for the film was still her ‘greatest experience’ at the festival, despite her bad memories of filming; seen in February in Paris
In 2013, while speaking with The Independent, Seydoux said filming Blue Is The Warmest Color was ‘humiliating sometimes’ because the extremely sexual scenes made her feel like a ‘prostitute’ at times.
‘Of course, [Kechiche] uses that sometimes. He was using three cameras, and when you have to fake your orgasm for six hours … I can’t say that it was nothing. But for me it is more difficult to show my feelings than my body,’ she explained.
Kechiche responded to the publication by questioning her sincerity.
‘If Seydoux lived such a bad experience, why did she come to Cannes, try on robes and jewelry all day? Is she an actress or an artist of the red carpet?’ he said.
But even with her negative experiences shooting the film, Seydoux still has fond memories of what came after.
‘My greatest experience was Blue Is The Warmest Color,’ she said of her best moment at the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious of the major international film festivals.
She told the Hollywood Reporter that she saw the joint Palme d’Or for the actresses as a sign that they were fellow auteurs with Kechiche.
The authors: She and Exarchopoulos were award the Palme d’Or along with Kechiche, even though it is usually only awarded to directors; still from Blue Is The Warmest Color