jeudi 22 octobre 2009


Everybody loves “Girls with Guns” movies, but “Calibre 9”, an indie action feature marking the debut of young French director Jean-Christian Tassy, may start a brand new trend: “Girls in Guns”! This low-budget, wacky flick stars Nathalie Hauwelle as a murdered prostitute whose spirit possesses her own murder weapon, and Laurent Collombert as the naive urban planner she manipulates to take bloody revenge. Check out the following trailer for a taste of what “Calibre 9” is all about!

In this exclusive Action Queens interview, actress, contemporary dancer, singer and performer Nathalie Hauwelle talks about her passionate theatre acting career (which includes a brand new version of Peter Weiss's “Marat/Sade”), the electro band LMZ (1), and her collaboration with the film company Dark Factory (2), responsible for intense alternative movies like the martial arts action horror flick “John 32” (3) and of course “Calibre 9”, now in post-production and hopefully ready for the next Marché du Film Market at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Frédéric Ambroisine: You’re a contemporary theater writer/director and actress. What did you start doing first?

Nathalie Hauwelle: I started relatively late as an actress, around 22 years old. It’s funny because I never imagined doing this job when I was a kid. I wanted to be librarian or florist, and I studied surreal literature. Dancing was a hobby. Then, bang! The magic of life! I took a theater class, and the director offered me a part in his production. This was Mladen Materić from Yugoslavia, who has a theater company called Tatoo Theatre. He became my theater master. I have spent seven years of my life with Tatoo Theatre doing wordless theater, subtext theater and silent theater. I learned everything from him: the presence, the sacredness of the plateau, the requirement of work. He gave me the fire. I thank him.

FA: What are the main differences between acting for theater and acting for cinema?

NH: It’s just not the same job at all. It’s like comparing distance running to a speed race. The theater is more related to ritual. We invite a crew, we rehearse for a very long time, we search for a month, and the show builds up like an improbable, wonderful alchemy. We prepare, we heat up, and then we make-up. A few hours before the show we have to remove ourselves from life and enter a dark, unknown world. We’re about to jump into a vacuum, and suddenly (it’s always a surprise!): It’s show time! People are here to see us perform; stomach ache, nervousness, and then the lights, and you have to go on. It always seems impossible, and it is! The theater is an unlimited space.

In cinema there is often time to do research. In general, the director knows quite well what he wants, and that’s why he chooses you. Your face plays a major role in his decision making. Cinema places actors into specific categories. There is less time but more money. Everything is expensive, and suddenly it’s your turn to act and you have to do it again and again, just tailoring it and tailoring it. It’s difficult and exciting at the same time because you have to give everything, but with a sense of discontinuity. I like the challenge of this kind of work, but interesting roles are rare. In “Calibre 9” I was able to develop personal traits, imbalances which touched me as a character. The role is a junkie prostitute, damaged by life.

Nathalie Hauwelle in JC Tassy's "Calibre 9" (2010)

FA: Do you have different approaches to working on a play and working on a movie?

NH: In theater, you have to search a lot on stage. Your part is written for the play, but you still have to invent everything! All the subtext, all the things which create a character. Where does he or she come from? What does he or she think? What is he or she dreaming of? I come from the moving theater, so my approach to a character is primarily physical. How does he or she move? How does he or she dance? What does he or she do in the silence? I use the same technique for the cinema: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Who am I? Those are the three questions I always ask myself before going on stage or on a movie set.

Nathalie Hauwelle on the set of "Calibre 9" (June 2007) - Photo: JF Daviaud

FA: When did you get involved in “Calibre 9”?

NH: I knew the director Jean-Christian [JC] Tassy, ever since Eric Cherriere’s “John 32”, another film from Dark Factory in which I also played a prostitute. “John 32” is a history of prostitution as it relates to power, like a little Mafia town. Prostitution, pimps. It was written by Eric, who also wrote “Calibre 9”, so it’s a bit in the same vein. But it was done some years before, so it’s less complex and more confusing. I would say that it is a kind of an embryo of “Calibre 9”. I think that JC wanted to work with me since “John 32”... I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him!

FA: In “John 32” you’re not really playing a prostitute but a former porn actress who becomes a kickboxer.

NH: Yes, after stopping her porn activities she does kickboxing. I trained with Sabrina [Bendjema], who is a real [Tae Kwon Do] fighter. She was a European champion, I think. She’s my partner on screen and plays my opponent. She’s a real champion, but in “John 32” I beat the shit out of her of course, since I became so strong after three sessions (laughs).

FA: Did you have any sport training background before working on “John 32”?

NH: I have always been quite physical, but I never did martial arts before. I did flamenco and contemporary dancing. Dancing is really my thing, but it’s really close to martial arts in its requirements and endurance. Ultimately, the goals and final results are not the same, but I found myself into it. And Sabrina was really cool. She helped me a lot and encouraged me. It’s not in my nature to beat people up (laughs), but I think she succeeded in channelling my rage into kickboxing training. I think it’s really well shot: it doesn’t show that I’m fighting like a pussy.

Nathalie Hauwelle vs. Sabrina Bendjema in "John 32" (2006)

FA: So you had only three training sessions, and then shot the scenes?

NH: Yeah, three or so. It was a long time ago, so it’s a bit blurry for me. But I trained seriously; first with Eric [director] and then with Sabrina. She gave me simple things to do. And because I’m an angry person, my rage hid my lack of technical skill.

Sabrina Bendjema vs. Nathalie Hauwelle in "John 32" (2006)

FA: Where does your rage come from?

NH: Oh, well. I don’t know. This is the way I am.

FA: You were born with it?

NH: Yeah. Yeah. I’m quite angry.

FA: About what?

NH: Nothing in general. I don’t know. But in life you have to fight against everything all the time, so I think you have to have some rage in you to succeed in doing what you want to do. I want to do what I want to do, so I’m fighting for that.

Nathalie knocks Sabrina out

FA: Everything on the kickboxing set went along smoothly? No accidents?

NH: It was super to have Sabrina as opponent because we trained together, but if you watching the action scenes closely, she’s always superior to me. She’s a very intelligent girl and she knows how to diminish herself to make me look more powerful (laughs). In real life, I would not have been able to stand up one second against her.

The Rage of Nathalie

I was using full contact, hitting without restrictions, and she remained tranquil because she knew what she was doing. She just countered my attacks. It is funny to see this champion let herself lose just because I am supposed to win. In “John 32” I also have a gunfight scene alongside Maurice Poli. We saw each other only once on the set. He’s a great man. He has an incredible face.

Nathalie Hauwelle and Maurice Poli on the set + Nathalie starting
the big shootout of "John 32" (2006)

FA: When did you shoot “Calibre 9”?

NH: Wow, a long time ago. Two years ago, I think. [June 2007](4)

FA: What was your reaction when you found out that for most of the movie you would have to embody... a gun?

NH: I found the proposal original, offbeat and uncommon. I like adventures. I always step into the unknown.

JC Tassy direcs Nathalie Hauwelle on the set of "Calibre 9"
Photo: Maurice Salmon
(June 2007)

FA: Where did you shoot your character’s pre-death scenes?

NH: We worked in a hotel (now closed) in Toulouse called the Hotel de Bourse, with real illegal immigrants and Bulgarian an amazing mix! Jean-Christian knows me very well. He had seen several of my plays. He knows that I love to improvise, and that there’s a certain madness in me, so he gave me a lot of freedom with a couple scenes. And he tightly controlled me in other scenes. It was a good cocktail for me.

Deadly make-up for Nathalie Hauwelle on the set of "Calibre 9"
Photo: Maurice Salmon (June 2007)

FA: Can you give me some examples of improvisations that you proposed to the director?

NH: We shot the scene in this insalubrious hotel which was about to be destroyed. There were cockroaches everywhere! The whore [Nathalie’s character] lives there. Her pimp comes to visit her, and will, in fact, kill her. I did quite a long improv scene: she gets high, then has hallucinations and starts to do nonsense: dancing, singing, putting on makeup. She’s all alone so she indulges herself doing all this nonsense, you know, crazy girl stuff.

Nathalie Hauwelle flying high in "Calibre 9" (2010)

FA: Did you do research for your role in “Calibre 9”?

NH: You haven’t seen the movie yet, so how do you know if I did a good job or if my acting sucks?

FA: (Laughs) Because the trailer looks great, and you look quite credible as a prostitute who gets high and shoots a gun. Did you play the character in an extravagant way?

NH: Not at all, I played her quite dark and deep. It was a hell of an experience because the location where we shot was already dark. It was cockroach infested. And that was a super way to get into the character of a chick who renounced herself. Because being a whore and a junkie is a consequence. We don’t wake up one morning and say “I’ll be a junkie whore.” It’s because you renounced your own life, and a lot of other things, and suddenly you don’t have any other way to eat except by selling your body. This is such a horrible thing that you have to get high. And this situation makes her look even lousier in her own eyes. She’s really burnt out, you know. She’s not like Godard’s prostitutes, who are sexual and very attractive. She’s more of a super desperate chick, like I played her. So, if you want, I won’t say I played a junkie prostitute; I will say that this girl became like that because of the terrible things that happened in her life.

Nathalie Hauwelle "has" the gun

FA: Tell me about her spiritual evolution after her death, after she becomes a weapon.

NH: After this resurrection, it’s like she starts a new life. She wants to take revenge against life in general, against men, against everything she has suffered. She becomes a kind of ultra-bloody, infernal killer. But not without morality. She wants to cleanse the town of all those bastards. She’s a kind of vengeful weapon.

Nathalie Hauwelle "is" the gun

FA: “John 32” and “Calibre 9” are genre movies, but is this your type of movie, as a viewer?

NH: Not at all. Actually, I am a dirty art-house film snob. For example, I’m obsessed with silent films and I also love 60’s movies. Genre movies are not really my world, but I’m quite an adventurer. I felt very enthusiastic working on Eric’s and JC’s projects. They invited me to join them on their adventures, and they succeeded in charming me and bringing me along… I’m a very bad example of an Action Queen! (laughs).

The Whore and the Euros

FA: How did you prepare for your action scenes in “Calibre 9”?

NH: JC knew very well what he wanted. He already had the edited scenes in his head so he was very clear, very professional. He told me “Do this here, do that there,” so I let myself be guided. My action scenes are exclusive to the dialogue between the prostitute and her pimp, in scenes where he beats her. I had the chance to get to know my acting partner [Jean-Jacques Lelté]. and to get along with him very well. So, no arguments on the set. Legit and professional.

Harsh times - Jean-Jacques Lelté and Nathalie Hauwelle in "Calibre 9" (2010)

FA: You’re also a theater director. Did this make your work and your professional relationship with Tassy easier?

NH: I’m not really a director. I see myself rather as somebody who’s into everything, without label, avid, restless, looking for the improbable! Cinema one day, theater the next, or the circus. I hate being bored!

FA: How was the “virtual” part of shooting “Calibre 9”? Were you on the set for the scenes in which you are not physically on screen? Or did you do all the gun voice-overs during post-production?

NH: I was not on the set for those scenes. That was nice! I had never worked on post-production voice-over before, and we recorded in a studio at one of Jean-Christian’s friends’ place. It gave me ideas for future; if I ever record tales, or if I sing…and then, poems! Ah, life is beautiful!

FA: Did you see any footage other than the trailer?

NH: No. I did the voice-over pretty blindly, based on the teaser trailer and the script. I just did [a rough] voice-over to help JC with the editing. Later I will do a real, definitive voice-over.

FA: When did you find out you would have to do that?

NH: I figure I would have to when I did the first voice-over almost a year after the shooting. It was in a studio, one year later, with no footage to watch. I knew it would not be very good and that we would have to do a new sound take after the editing.

FA: Do you know when you will do it?

NH: I don’t know. JC is still working on the editing.

2009 Tentative poster for "Calibre 9"

FA: Let’s talk about your many other activities. You sing in an electro band named LMZ, right?

NH: I don’t really sing in LMZ. I recite poems, excerpts from “Pierrot le Fou” and from a poet named Laura. And I dance and perform during the concerts. Originally LMZ was a duo with Philo Fournier from the 80’s band Les Ablettes, and Franck Flies. After he left Les Ablettes, Philo started to make electro music. We met each other at a show where I was making costumes...

Philo Fournier and Franck Flies: The creators of LMZ

FA: And now LMZ is a trio...

NH: Hmm. We were a trio. Now we are only a duo, without a drummer. But we can have two or three people. It depends. Philo is a guy who likes strange adventures. There were two dancers in his live shows and two pianists including him, and a lot of people on stage. He had created a kind of live performance event around the previous album. When we met, he wanted things a little off-beat, so we started talking about what we would be able to do together. And then we started to work together.

Philo Fournier and Nathalie Hauwelle (LMZ press photo for "La Machine Zoo")

FA: When you joined the band in 2005, was it to work on the third LMZ album or just for the live performances?

NH: To work on the album. He was composing the album with Frank when I came. We were rehearsing in a tiny cellar. I created characters for their songs.

LMZ: "La Machine Zoo" front cover (2008)

FA: What kind of characters?

NH: Crazy kinds of characters: a kind of squeaky mouse that eats apples, a woman who is devoured by her children, some ogresses and other little odd characters (laughs).

LMZ mosaic video (from the song "Un monde Parfait")

FA: Do these characters recite poems and perform on stage?

NH: Exactly.

FA: Where do these characters come from?

NH: This was not improvisation. We searched quite a lot while they were working on the songs. …After that it became a kind of zoo machine. There are different kinds of monster-plants (laughs)...ogres, half angel-half demons... they derived from the research we did together. LMZ means “The Zarma Manifest”, and it became a zoo machine, you know, a big mixture of species...I don’t know, it’s something a little weird, and that's what Philo wanted. It has become a three-headed monster or something like that.

LMZ mosaic video (from the song "Un monde Parfait")

FA: I saw some excerpts of LMZ concerts. If you just listen to the album, will there be something missing?

NH: The album was recorded in a studio, so it's definitely more sanitized. It is something different. I guess when you see a live band, you expect something different than the studio. It is true that the album is smoother. The concert that we did in Fumel was quite extraordinary. When my characters started to speak, it became a kind of trance. Even if we rehearse in a certain way, it becomes something else during a live performance. Like in Seville, the end of the show completely changed (laughs). That is what is so great about it: you never know what will happen to you. You are always the first to be surprised by your own production.

LMZ mosaic video (from the song "Un monde Parfait")

FA: Where have you toured with LMZ?

NH: We did Toulouse, Fumel, and the Seville Festival. We toured a little bit, but things happened and Philou started a trip around the world. So now, regarding the band, everything is on stand-by. Philo is still away. He's in Brazil right now. He’s a crazy guy! He’s a great traveller. I think travel was missing him. But I think LMZ will get back on track because we have both been tickled by our adventure.

LMZ mosaic video (from the song "Un monde Parfait")

FA: Why and when did you create your theater company, Groenland Paradise [Greenland Paradise]?

NH: I didn’t want to just work for other people. I created Groenland Paradise two years ago. I was always making installations and doing small performances alongside my job as a performer and actress. So Thierry De Chaunac and I set up a company that blends installations and theater, and installations and performances. We did our first show, which is a work based on a text by Lagarce [Le Bain - 1993]. During the show I do live installations in a micro-space and then a larger version, which creates other mental spaces.

Nathalie Hauwelle + Thierry de Chaunac = Groenland Paradise

FA: How did you learn the art of installation performance?

NH: Savagely, I can say (laughs). I don’t know, I like to try a little bit of everything. I do a lot of things and I always want to show it somewhere. So “J'aimais un homme a tête de squelette, a tête demesurée [I loved a man with a skeleton head, a disproportionately large head], which is the name of the show, is like a hybrid between installation and theater. It is interesting to question things differently, and especially to go places I don’t know. I wanted to do it because I didn’t know how to do it. I like to put myself in danger; that's why we’re preparing a new performance for March [2009]. It is crazy because I feel like I’ll never succeed in finishing it. We have several people working on the project, which is from a biography of King Louis II de Bavière. It’s also about a construction in real-time. Because we have several people it is damn disturbing, but it is what drives us to move forward. Without that, I would stop.

J'aimais un homme a tête de squelette, a tête demesurée

FA: Do you prefer to stage your own creations?

NH: Yes, I want to share. The new work we are doing and thinking about is: Do we want to share? Because theater is about sharing. The public is on one side and the actors are on the other side. But who are the professionals? We’re questioning ourselves about all that. But for now, our company is not commercial at all; we’re not earning any money. We’re really doing it for the research, you know.

J'aimais un homme a tête de squelette, a tête demesurée

FA: How long have you had the desire to create?

NH: Since always. I have been an actress, but when I do acting for too long it pisses me off because I need to do my own thing. I enjoy working with others, it brings me a lot, and I very much like working with people, but it is not enough. I need to recharge in more intimate ways.

J'aimais un homme a tête de squelette, a tête demesurée

FA: You have a very loaded schedule right now. You’re working on five projects. Can you tell me about them?

NH: We just created "Marat/Sade" [directed by Eric Sanjou], which will tour this year. I also have a show for children, “La princesse au petit poids” [The Princess and the Pea] (5), in which I dance.

FA: What role do you play in “Marat/Sade”?

NH: Charlotte Corday.

Nathalie Hauwelle as Charlotte Corday in "Marat/Sade" directed by Eric Sanjou
(Photos: ©2009 Djeyo / Le Clou dans la Planche)

FA: While preparing for this role were you inspired by what has been done before, by watching old plays or movies? Or did you approach this play in a fresh way?

NH: This is the first time that I have worked with Eric Sanjou, and I wanted to start working on this play like a virgin, you know? It's always a great adventure to work with another person whose work you admire. So I wanted to be very receptive to what he proposed, and really get into his research. So I did not watch a lot of movies. I went to see exhibitions and thought about the play. In “Marat/Sade”, a lunatic plays Charlotte, so there are different levels of interpretation. I thought about it, but I did not do too much work in advance because I told myself that I know how he [Sanjou] works; I don’t want to arrive already prepared and show off.

Nat Hauwelle with Frédéric Klein as Marat and Christian de Miègeville as Sade
(Photos: ©2009 Djeyo / Le Clou dans la Planche)

FA: Did you do further research after meeting Sanjou?

NH: When you see how the other person works, you can help him or her by getting into their research, but for this work I didn’t want to arrive with plenty of "Charlotte is like this, Charlotte is like that." I said to myself, “He’s a super complex director, so let yourself be guided.” And it was true; I was right for once (laughs).

Nathalie Hauwelle and Frédéric Klein in "Marat/Sade"
(Photo: ©2009 Djeyo / Le Clou dans la Planche)

FA: What do you think of Peter Brook’s “Marat/Sade [1967 movie adaptation of the play]?

NH: I found it very boring. I have a bizarre relationship with Brook’s work. I like him a lot. He’s a part of theater history. When you go to see “Le Costume”, it’s super, but only for the 70’s. He was such an important guy that everybody copied him, but now we have gone further. It’s super to see Peter Brook’s work. He’s a super intelligent guy, and he shares a lot. But he’s a bit like the archeology of theater. It’s interesting, but I find it super “old school”. When I saw “Marat/Sade” I got super bored.

FA: So what is your version of “Marat/Sade”?

NH: Crazier, because there are several levels. We are actors playing insane people who play actors, so it’s an abyss in which we are playing on all these levels. We act insane, and we act like we’re acting insane. It’s very interesting for us as actors because we’re always acting on different levels.

FA: That is the same situation as the movie version.

NH: Yes, but I think they did too much insanity. I don’t trust intelligence. I am very wary. I love instinctive actors and…. I love actors less and less, actually.

FA: Really?

NH: Yes (laughs) because I find that actors are tricky. You know, Peter Brook wrote super things in his memoirs but he said that “Marat/Sade” was not good. I think it’s great that a director can say, “I messed up; it happens.” He said they tried to be smart. They used acting study techniques, spent 15 days in a psychiatric hospital and then played lunatics. But they admitted they were wrong. It’s seducing to play lunatics. It’s seducing, but false. We’re not crazy. We act crazy. So for me, the movie didn’t work.

Peter Brook's "Marat/Sade" (1967) starring Patrick Magee (Sade),
Glenda Jackson
(Corday) and Ian Richardson (Marat)

FA: How do you play your character? Do you use your instinct, or did you do any research?

NH: I don’t know how to say this: I try not to act. It’s horrible, I’m telling you. My goal is this: to not act, to be the least technical. I don’t want to be technical. Maybe that’s why I always change roles and mediums. I don’t trust know-how. I’m very wary. Or, at least you have to be very strong. I like imperfect things.

Nathalie Hauwelle as Charlotte Corday in "Marat/Sade" directed by Eric Sanjou
(Photo: ©2009 Djeyo / Le Clou dans la Planche)

FA: Can you choose the theater plays in which you want to act, or the people you want to work with? In films, you may not always have the choice…

NH: I'm lucky enough now to be able to choose my projects, so I choose people whose inner search excites me. I don’t want to do things that do not bring me something more. What is hard in cinema is that before being a star, you have to do a lot of roles as nurses and prostitutes. I think that what is good about theater is that you can really do everything. Even if you’re not well-known, you have the opportunity to play very interesting roles and work with people who have very complex worlds. On another hand, it's not easy to have a starring role in a movie with a guy that you're passionate about. I think that's why theater gives me more joy today. That’s certain.

FA: It sounds like you can have more fun doing what you want in theater.

NH: No, it's not like that. I work harder at theater, so it has become more my way of functioning. I do not know if this will last, but I hope I have the opportunity to work with people I admire. So that's great. And these people give me roles that interest me, so it's a nice exchange. Whereas in cinema, it is very rare to get a big role. You are often stereotyped because of your face. I find it more difficult to be adventurous in cinema. That’s my opinion, anyway.

FA: When the role of prostitute in “Calibre 9”was offered to you, you could easily have refused.

NH: Yes, I could have, but JC knows me well now (laughs). He saw a lot of things that I did and he knew that I need to improvise, to be able flip out, to do things that I want to do on the spur of the moment. And he was a wise director because at times he was very controlling, and when he saw I was reaching my limits he would tell me to improvise. So we found a nice balance. I proposed a lot of ideas he may not keep, but it was important for me to show him so he could take what he wanted. This was hard sometimes. There was a good understanding between us, and he was super smart for doing it that way.

FA: Is there a commonality between the different characters you have played? I have the impression that you often play off-beat characters. Is this on purpose? Have you ever played a “normal” character?

NH: Yes, I played a housewife. But it was quite strange to me. I went through that stage; I learned to act by playing those kinds of roles. But now I want to do different things, weirder, crazier. But it’s difficult to play a common character and make it interesting. It’s a much more difficult thing to do than to play crazy characters.

FA: Do you think people want to work with you because of your “crazy characters”?

NH: I don’t know. I like to work. Right now, I’m doing some very serious things. I think that people hire me because I like to work. And I’m not reluctant. I like adventures, places that I don’t know. I don’t think everybody likes to do that.

FA: Tell me about your other projects.

NH: I work with a circus called Palais Nibo.

Left: Nathalie Hauwelle dancing at the Palais Nibo
Right: Philippe Decouflé's "Cœurs croisés"
(Photo: ©2007 Suzanne Brun)

FA: What do you do in it?

NH: I dance, and I eat…an apple (laughs). I am also working in a play called “Coeurs Croisés” [“Crossed Hearts”], a burlesque play by Philippe Decouflé. There is also work being prepared with Groenland Paradise for the March performance. That’s quite a lot of work. We have a big tour with “Coeurs Croisés” and “La Princesse au Petit Pois”. And in between…

FA:…you’re working on your personal project with Groenland.

NH: Yes, I still work when I’m not touring. Right now, I’m working on my own adventures. I’m relaxing.

FA: Relaxing while you work?

NH: Yeah! (laughs) Holidays are boring.

FA: Do you plan to take any real holidays?

NH: In 2015 (laughs). No, maybe before that, but I have a lot of things that I want to do. And because I still have some energy, I’m taking this opportunity to do all my projects. I mean, I’m trying (laughs).

FA: Any other movies planned for the future?

NH: I'm not going to look for it but if you come to me, why not? But I don’t go to casting and all that. I have no energy to put into it. Doing that takes too much of my energy. I did it a little bit, and I thought it was not for me. Going to castings, and playing only very small parts, I felt that I would become totally depressed. Now I have found a nice balance of the projects I want to explore. I like that, it suits me better. Paths are ultimately so personal. If for example Jean-Luc Godard wants to work with me, or Terence Malick, of course, I’ll say I’ll be there (laughs), but there is so far no news regarding this. I have no scoop to reveal about that.

FA: Tell me about your work with Jean-François Daviaud (6). It’s almost impossible to find a photo of you except the ones taken by him.

NH: Jean-François is a friend of mine. He’s one of my Dark Factory buddies. He’s not only a photographer, but also a director of photography. He also organized the photography festival ManifestO. I’ve known him for a very long time, at least ten years.

Left: 'Hija de pelicula' (Nat wears a dress made with a Super 16 mm film (Creation 2002,2004)
Right: 3 of the 8 allegorical boards of 'Goldfish' (Installation Performance ManifestO - 2007)

FA: How did he get you to participate in his photo projects?

NH: Well, he always needs models. So he called when he wanted me to do something, that’s all. We’re buddies. We help each other. I work on his projects, he helps me with mine. It’s a free exchange.

Left: One of the 6 actual size photos of 'Frigo radeau de la méduse'
Right: Floating art work of the same series on the river Garonne (Sept. 2004)

FA: Do you pose for other photographers or do casting photos?

NH: I’m not interested in that. I did a commercial once, and I hated it. I don’t really like to be photographed, but I do it for Jean-François because he’s a friend. I don’t like my image circulating. I don’t like that! I’m not on FaceBook. My job is to be an actress, but I don’t want photos of me everywhere. It’s just not my thing.

FA: Would you prefer to focus on your acting and leave your marketing to others?

NH: I don’t want to create a cult of my own image. I just want to be a good actress, and to be hired on that basis. That’s it. The rest, the blah blah blah, I’m not into it. I do photos for JF or for my friend Kathy Sebbah, or I shoot a movie with my friends. But I’m not looking for a job from it. I have other preoccupations.

FA: So you don’t have agent, you take care of everything yourself?

NH: Yes, and it’s too much work! (laughs). Last year, there was a lot of tension for me. I was doing a show in the morning and another one at night. I had to stay focused. And this year will be hardcore as well. But now I’m doing a lot theater work in a circus and for big companies. They handle all the tours, and so on.

Nathalie Hauwelle in "La Princesse au Petit Poids" - Written and illustrated by
Anne Herbauts,
directed by Nathalie Bensard and produced by Compagnie La Rousse

FA: You seem to be in an ideal situation.

NH: You think so?

FA: You’re working with several companies. They handle everything and you can just concentrate on your acting.

NH: That’s right. That’s great! It’s true. I have to remind myself of that. I do complain, but ultimately, it’s super. I’m lucky.

Interview conducted in French in August 2009 by Frédéric Ambroisine. Translated by Frédéric Ambroisine and edited by Sylvia Rorem for in October 2009.

Many thanks to Jean-Christian Tassy, Nathalie Hauwelle, Jean-François Daviaud, Eric Cherrière, Axel Guyot, Maurice Salmon (photos "Calibre 9"), Pidz, Polo Garat, Odessa photographies, Palais Nibo, Groenland Paradise, Compagnie La Rousse, LMZ, Djeyo / Le Clou dans la Planche, K Production, Les Films d’Avalon, & Dark Factory.

(1) Check out the LMZ official website and MySpace page and the following videos featuring Nathalie Hauwelle: Un Monde Parfait + Live in Fumel
(2) Dark Factory was created in 2004 by Eric Cherrière. It is composed of Cherrière and four other directors from Toulouse: Catherine Aïra, Julien Fournet, Kevin Favillier and JC Tassy. Dark Factory’s mission is to produce indie genre movies in southwest France. Contact:
(3) “John 32” first cut (27 minutes) is available as an extra on the French DVD version of “Beyond Re-animator” (released in 2006). A new, more energetic 23 minute cut has just been edited by JC Tassy.
(4) JC Tassy shot “Calibre 9” in June and August 2007 and in June 2008 (Total days of shooting: 45). Nathalie Hauwelle shot her scenes in one week during June 2007.
(5) This play is adapted from Anne Herbauts, not from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

(6) Check out JF Daviaud works with Nathalie Hauwelle here: 'Frigo radeau...', 'Goldfish', 'Hija de pelicula', 'Daunless film suit', 'Jardin Japonais' & 'Blood Doll' (on the set of "Calibre 9")

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