Isabelle Huppert On Becoming ‘Elle’: “It Was Almost Like A Documentary About Myself”

Matthew Grobar
Deadline

Coming out of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it was clear that Isabelle Huppert would certainly be a contender in this awards season’s actress race for her turn as Michele Leblanc, an emotionally complex women embroiled in a cat and mouse game with the man who raped her in Sony Pictures Classics’ Elle. She’s nearly in every minute of the two hour and 10 minute thriller from Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven, and as woman who has been pained in earlier life, Huppert exposes various facets and warts of this video-game entrepreneur. After reading the book Oh… by Philippe Djian, Huppert approached the author to turn Elle into a movie, and ultimately the duo were connected to the Dutch director Verhoeven. Originally written in English by Slender Man scribe David Birke, the movie was then translated in French. Sony Classics snapped up North American rights and some foreign territories for Elle at Cannes, and it is France’s official foreign language entry to the Oscars. “She’s surrounded by so many people and that defines her in so many different ways like a mother, a daughter, like a woman of power, like a love, a business partner, a best friend,” says Huppert about juggling so many, Huppert detailed to Deadline’s Dominic Patten at a recent Elle screening.  How did Huppert file a sublime performance that subverted the role of a victimized female. Essentially, she just went with her gut: “The situations themselves were so strong that sometimes it’s enough to just do it, and that’s what happened.”

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