Pop star Kylie Minogue is in Cannes, and she's showcasing a career move: Starring in a film. Not just any film mind you, but Leos Carax's Holy Motors, which attendees here are calling the wackiest selection to hit the festival in years, a pretty amazing feat. With cyber-monsters, talking machines and a story that is a complete trip, Minogue plays two characters in Carax's tale, which centers on Monsieur Oscar — who himself is in fact many characters: a captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man and a half-dozen more.
Taking on the role, Minogue said she decided to shed some of her persona and that she was thrilled to be in Cannes. "It feels like a dream to have a film here in Cannes and to be welcomed into this family with Leos," she said Wednesday afternoon. "My involvement was deep and emotional and fun. I banned my entourage of coming with me. I stripped myself of 'Kylie' and wanted to be a blank canvas for Leos."
In Holy Motors, Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) journeys from one role to the next, accompanied by Céline (Edith Scob), the woman driving a massive engine that transports him through Paris. He's a "conscientious assassin," going from one place to the next in pursuit of a mysterious driving force and the women and spirits of past lives.
"I pass bridges every day and this old gypsy woman with her bag; for years I've passed these women and rarely given money," Carax said, adding, "So I thought there is no way to communicate with this woman — there is no way. So I'd imagine myself slipping into a café and changing into old woman clothes and becoming that woman and that's how this whole story started."
Carax and Minogue met a year ago through their mutual friend, the French filmmaker Claire Denis, and the two decided to collaborate. The former Australian soap star's return to acting, however, was not entirely devoid of her current day (or night) job as a world-famous pop star. Carax gave her the chance to sing in the film and do it in a very unconventional way — at least for movies.
"Obviously I'm used to a pop music world," she said. "There was a song in the movie and I thought we'd record it, but Leos said, 'No, let's do it live in a scene.' I don't think that happens much in movies, and it was amazing for me. It combined both worlds and it was just fantastic."
Continuing, Minogue noted: "For me it was entirely exciting to step into this unknown situation. That doesn't mean I wasn't slightly terrified, but I was more than happy to venture into this strange experience."
Read more of Movieline's Cannes 2012 coverage here.