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Stéphane Audran Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (8)  | Trivia (38)  | Personal Quotes (19)

Overview (4)

Born in Versailles, Seine-et-Oise [now Yvelines], France
Died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Birth NameColette Suzanne Dacheville
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Stéphane Audran was born on November 8, 1932 in Versailles, Seine-et-Oise [now Yvelines], France as Colette Suzanne Dacheville. She was an actress, known for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Babette's Feast (1987) and Le Boucher (1970). She was married to Claude Chabrol and Jean-Louis Trintignant. She died on March 27, 2018 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

Spouse (2)

Claude Chabrol (4 December 1964 - 1980) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Jean-Louis Trintignant (18 November 1954 - 1956) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (8)

Often plays characters named Hélène
Icy, unemotional acting style
Often plays adulterous women
Often the screen wife or lover of Jean-Pierre Cassel
Drawled vowels; frequent aahing and oohing between sentences
Mole on cheek
Frequently cast by Claude Chabrol and Samuel Fuller
Often plays bourgeois ladies

Trivia (38)

Mother of actor Thomas Chabrol.
Husband Claude Chabrol directed her in 24 movies, 1 TV movie and 1 tv episode.
Jean-Louis Trintignant stated that he was a bit embarrassed when he had to film his erotic scenes with ex-wife Audran in Les Biches (1968) right under the eyes of Stéphane's new husband, Claude Chabrol.
She appeared in 3 movies with ex-husband Jean-Louis Trintignant: Les Biches (1968), Sans mobile apparent (1971) and Boulevard des assassins (1982). They never worked together while they were married.
She appeared in two movies that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and Babette's Feast (1987).
She befriended Bernadette Lafont on the set of Les Bonnes Femmes (1960).
While she was shooting The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), her husband Claude Chabrol (a great gourmet) used to prepare some delicious dishes that she would bring on the set and share with members of the cast and crew.
During the shooting of Bluebeard (1963), producer Carlo Ponti was so appalled by her performance that he asked 'who's that slut who's playing Fernande?' Claude Chabrol (who was already engaged to Audran) slapped Ponti in the face and screamed 'that's my woman!' Claude and Stéphane married one year later.
She had a difficult childhood. From the age of 6 to the age of 15, she suffered from renal colic pain and colibacillosis. Her mother, having lost her first daughter, was very much obsessed with Stéphane's health and rigorously treated her with hot water packs and thermal baths.
Her mother never approved of her dream of becoming an actress and wasn't happy when she caught her playing with clothes to pretend to be other people. Her father, a doctor, died when she was only age 6.
She was initially reluctant to play the role of Isabelle Huppert's working class mother in Violette (1978), as she knew it wasn't a right fit for her. Her performance in the film was actually what led Gabriel Axel to consider her for the title role in Babette's Feast (1987), which became her signature movie.
She attended the stage acting courses of Charles Dullin, René Simon, Michel Vitold and Tania Balachova. Some of her fellow students at the Balachova classes included Delphine Seyrig, Michael Lonsdale, Laurent Terzieff, Bernard Fresson, Antoine Vitez, Daniel Emilfork and her first husband, Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Married Jean-Louis Trintignant in 1953. Their relationship ended when he fell in love with Brigitte Bardot on the set of ...And God Created Woman (1956).
To cast the role of Babette Hersant in Babette's Feast (1987), director Gabriel Axel had made a list of 50 actresses, one of them being Audran. He eventually started to strongly consider her because he felt she possessed a natural Parisian way of doing things - such as walking or opening doors- that would have created the right contrast between Babette and the Danish characters. With Catherine Deneuve being his other dream pick, Axel eventually cast Audran thanks to the advice of her ex-husband, Claude Chabrol.
Having taken some lessons, she started to act on the stage in the 50's, appearing in theatrical productions of "La Tragédie des Albigeois" (1955), "La Maison Carrée" (1955) and "La Nuit Romaine" (1957), but failed to build a noteworthy stage career as several of her classmates had already done. After playing a few tiny roles on film, she asked emerging French New Wave star Gérard Blain (whom she knew from acting courses) if he could introduce her to director Claude Chabrol, with whom he had already done the successful Le Beau Serge (1958) and was going to team up again in Les Cousins (1959). Blain granted her wish and introduced her to Chabrol, who gave her a role in "Les Cousins" and started to date her shortly after. The movie won the Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival, but, with his immediately subsequent features- which often starred Audran- Chabrol used up most of the credit he had enjoyed with reviewers to the moment and Stéphane's performances were never greeted with critical enthusiasm. Only with Les Biches (1968), the director began to enjoy a second wave and started to cast Audran in roles of glacial bourgeois ladies better suited to her acting. This led the two of them to a successful cycle of thrillers in the late 60's-early 70's. Audran frequently stated she owed everything to Chabrol.
She played the role of Charlotte in Les affinités électives (1982), a Claude Chabrol adaptation of Goethe's novel. In Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani's film adaptation, Elective Affinities (1996) , the role was played by Isabelle Huppert. Huppert had played Audran's daughter in Chabrol's Violette (1978) and replaced her as the director's muse.
Friends with Karl Lagerfeld, who often designed her clothes.
Bulle Ogier recalls that, on the set of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Stéphane (wearing Lagerfeld) and Delphine Seyrig (wearing Chanel) were engaged in an elegance contest. They asked Luis Buñuel if he could give a close-up to the back décolletages of their dresses, a wish he was happy to grant in exchange for one bottle of champagne and one of whiskey.
Jesús Franco stated that she agreed to appear in Faceless (1987) because she's a major fan of horror movies.
On the set of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Luis Buñuel enjoyed embarrassing Audran by calling her Mrs. Chabrol in front of the cast and crew. Delphine Seyrig used to cheer up Stéphane, telling her that she had already worked with Buñuel and that he was doing this without malice.
In 1971, she signed the Manifesto of the 343 to support the legalization of abortion in France. After her conversion to Chinese medicine, she went on to regret her choice, stating that she wouldn't sign the petition anymore.
She's very fond of gastronomy. She credits first husband Jean-Louis Trintignant for having introduced her to Provençal cooking.
Her relationship with Claude Chabrol ended when he fell in love with his frequent collaborator Aurore Chabrol (nee Aurore Pajot). Chabrol always liked to claim that it was Stéphane who threw him into Aurore's arms as, during the shooting of Ten Days Wonder (1971), she couldn't attend his birthday dinner and jokingly suggested that he should jump on the script-girl instead. The script-girl was Aurore and the friendship between her and Claude developed into a love affection. Audran always claimed that the story isn't true.
At one point in her life, as she divorced Claude Chabrol and her acting career began its rapid decline, Audran started to experience psychosomatic problems such as sudden and unexpected fainting fits, memory losses, inability to concentrate and chronic tiredness. After unsuccessfully trying remedies such as vitamins and tonics, she eventually turned to Chinese medicine to 'go after her lost energy'. All her research has been documented in her book 'Une autre façon de vivre', which focuses on the evolution of culture, medicine and cooking.
She was never able to replicate her European success in the US, as American audiences found her too cold.
Her 24th and final film collaboration with ex-husband Claude Chabrol was Betty (1992), a rare instance where her character died at the end. As she read the script, Audran immediately got the feeling that this was going to be the last time she and Chabrol would work together, taking his choice of killing her character off as his way of ending their long partnership.
On 6 December 2013, she took part in "Bernadette Lafont l'exposition hommage", a public exhibition dedicated to the memory of her late friend Bernadette Lafont. Along with actors Guillaume Gouix and Alexandra Stewart, she read some extracts of Bernard Bastide's new biography "Bernadette Lafont, une vie de cinéma", including some original letters written by Bernadette. The event was filmed by Gérard Courant and aired as an episode of "Carnets filmés", "In Memoriam Bernadette Lafont".
Before starting to shoot The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), she was scared by the thought of having to work with Delphine Seyrig (her fellow student at Tania Balachova's theatre classes) because she thought her pretentious. They got along perfectly in the end.
She and Marie Laforêt were the female winners of Raymond Rouleau's radio competition 'Naissance d'une étoile", meant to create the acting stars of tomorrow. The male winners were Claude Berri and Bernard Tiphaine.
She personally wanted Jean Yanne as her co-star in Le Boucher (1970) after seeing him act on the set of This Man Must Die (1969) under the direction of her husband, Claude Chabrol. She advised Chabrol to write a new screenplay including a male character that would have showcased Yanne's animal side.
She had a strong input in Pauline Lafont getting cast in Poulet au vinaigre (1985). She did this as a friendly favor to Pauline's mother, Bernadette Lafont.
She and Charlotte Gainsbourg are the only two French actresses to win the Robert award in Denmark.
Her theatrical studies include René Simon's dramatic course.
She's a knight of the French Legion of Honor and an Officer of the National Order of Merit.
She's the first of only three French actresses to win the Best Actress BAFTA since the integration of Best British Actress and Best Foreign Actress to one category: the other two are Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose (2007) (in 2008) and Emmanuelle Riva in Amour (2012) (in 2013).
Friends with Jean Carmet and Alexandra Stewart.
Husband Claude Chabrol once stated that the bus scene in The Breach (1970) where Stéphane's character Hélène tells her family's story to her lawyer was the occasion when he finally thought that she had become an actress.
She always appeared to be very self-aware of her limited acting gifts: she once stated that --if it weren't for husband Claude Chabrol-- she would've just been an excellent cook, and also admitted that she wouldn't have been able to play the roles that Chabrol later gave to his new muse Isabelle Huppert.

Personal Quotes (19)

[on her approach to characters] Until I have the clothing, I don't know who the character is.
[reflecting on her career] I have not made a career; I have not given that much thought. When I first started, I just wanted to be a good actress. My voice was wrong; I could not move around, I tried to improve with lessons. Then I was lucky enough to meet [Claude] Chabrol.
[on Gabriel Axel] Gabriel's enthusiastic, like an enchanted child, and that is very stimulating. There is no fear. He eases you into a state of total confidence. Actors, we're like children, you know. And he had such a love for this subject, there was necessarily a great joy in working with him to make Babette come alive.
[on Luis Buñuel] Buñuel was a child. A naughty child, a rascal.
[on her relationship with Luis Buñuel] If I could have met him during the war, and if I were 18 or 20, he could have made me turn my family into the Nazis. He could do whatever he wanted. I was fascinated by him, I would have done anything he told me to. It was scary.
[1978 interview] The French people used to be able to enjoy life. But in the last few years they have become so depressed and complaining. It is sad. They complain about the government and they keep the same government. Usually when people complain enough, they insist on change. But the French seem to enjoy their misery.
[on the failure of The Black Bird (1975)] I didn't understand what happened on the picture. Everyone was fighting: George [Segal], the director and writer, Davie [David] Giler, the producer, Ray Stark. It's so difficult to do a good film even if the people are getting along well. If you have fights every day, it can't help.
[making a comparison between Claude Chabrol and Luis Buñuel] Both of them know exactly where to put the camera, which is rare in directors. They are different in their work, however. Buñuel is much more demanding. He knows exactly what he wants and he gets it. He doesn't like actors, though he does like people. As long as you do your job well, he approves of you. Chabrol likes actors too much. He is not demanding enough and we have fights over this. Other actors enjoy working with him more than I do; he is nicer to them than he is to me. He wins of course. He is gifted and he is my husband.
[on France] We are a very sensuous country. With fashion, we speak to sight; with cuisine, we speak to taste; with perfume, we appeal to the smell. I go for it!
[on Karl Lagerfeld] He inspires me a lot.
[on Claude Chabrol] Chabrol helped me to understand life.
If you don't suffer, you don't understand the suffering of others. That is my secret garden.
[on working in Canada, 1978 interview] On one hand, it's America. The buildings, the streets, the cars, the stones, the sirens, the way the telephones ring. Yet the people are not so American. They're more European somehow than the people in New York and Hollywood. You know, being French, I had no idea what to expect here. People in France know nothing of Canada, except the Olympics, lately a bit of politics and, of course, the baby seals. I was surprised to see so many Chinese and Portuguese here. I expected only, well, Canadians.
[on shooting Les liens de sang (1978) in Canada] If you're going to make a film outside of France, it might as well be in English. The book is in English and the scene is a large American city and, besides, the film market these days is English. We tried making movies before that were shot in two languages, but it doesn't really work. So this one will be shot in English and then a French-dubbed print made later. Actually, it's not my first English-language film. Several years ago I made The Black Bird (1975) in Hollywood with George Segal- it was a remake of the The Maltese Falcon (1941)- and more recently I made "The Twist" [The Twist (1976)] with Bruce Dern, who cannot and does not want to speak a word for French.
[on ageism in movie industry] Men are flesh-oriented and they like their flesh fresh. After a certain age the only parts are mad women or saintly mothers who aren't really part of the action. For them women over 40 aren't sexual objects.
[on meeting Claude Chabrol for the first time] God . . . I needed so much a father and I admired him so much, I thought he was perfect.
Acting did not come naturally to me.
If I could only act the way I make salad dressing.
[on her mother's opposition to her acting dreams] She was afraid of everything so she was afraid of me becoming an actress - no security like the civil service.

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