One of France’s greatest contemporary actors, Léa Seydoux is a chameleon of the silver screen, adapting to a great variety of roles with ease and dramatic weight. Heavily connected to the country’s film industry, the Seydoux family is widely known in France, with her grandfather Jérôme Seydoux being the chairman of the major film production and distribution company Pathé, and her granduncle, Nicolas Seydoux, being the chairman of Gaumont Film Company.
Though this familial advantage would appear to have given Seydoux a headstart in the industry, in actuality, the actor felt little support from her family during her career ascendancy.
“My grandfather Jérôme has never felt the slightest interest in my career. [My family] have never lifted a finger to help me. Nor have I asked for anything, ever,” Léa Seydoux made clear in a 2013 interview. Through these industry connections, however, Seydoux did manage to become acquainted with some of the 20th century’s most prominent artists, including photographer Nan Goldin, musicians Lou Reed and Mick Jagger, and footwear designer Christian Louboutin.
This helped her to become one of the greatest working actors of modern cinema, starring in both blockbuster epics and small independent dramas whilst working with such names as Sam Mendes, Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen and Yorgos Lanthimos.
Just as her own selection of movies ranges from well-known thrillers such as Spectre and The French Dispatch to indie films like Blue is the Warmest Colour, Seydoux’s list of favourite movies is also rather eclectic.
Speaking in a French interview, the French actor revealed her three favourites, with the first slot going to the Marlon Brando drama, On the Waterfront. Making a name for Brando in the lead role, this 1954 movie also elevated director Elia Kazan to further industry status, telling the story of an ex-prize fighter who struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.
Diverging from classic Hollywood, Léa Seydoux’s second choice is the French classic, Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Jean Cocteau, the story follows a beautiful young woman who takes her father’s place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her, with the magical tale being brought to life with charming optical effects and surreal storytelling from Cocteau who directs the film and pens the script.
Léa Seydoux’s favourite movies:
- On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
- Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946)
- Zazie dans le Métro (Louis Malle, 1960)
Finishing off Seydoux’s list of three picks is the charming coming-of-age indie movie, Zazie dans le Métro from director Louis Malle. Mimicking an animated movie in its frenetic pace and vibrant colour, Malle’s 1960 movie follows a ten-year-old country girl who joins her uncle in a busy tour around Paris during a Métro strike. Released under the Criterion label, the film is a classic of French cinema in form and style.