French actress Juliette Jouan may be new to the world of acting, but her role in “Scarlet” (her first acting role nonetheless) showcased her depth of emotion and true natural talent.
She’s since received international attention for her role in the film. Italian director Pietro Marcello handpicked Jouan for the role of a lifetime for the actress. “He saw his character in me and relied on that throughout the shoot. I did work with a coach to get to grips with Juliette’s emotions, but Pietro asked me to be as natural as possible – that was the most important thing,” Jouan says.
She notes that the hardest part of the role was separating herself from the character she was playing. Acting isn’t Jouan’s only artistic endeavor, as she’s also a talented musician. She says she’s optimistic for new opportunities in both film and music.
Juliette Jouan in “Scarlet”
“I’m only at the very beginning, time will tell if I am right for an artistic career, but for now, the most important lesson I’ve learned in both music and acting is that staying natural and open to whatever happens is the best thing to do.
And of course, to work a lot, by exploring, trying, taking care not to get disgusted, so that it all remains a pleasure.”
Juliet went into detail on being on the set of “Scarlet”, her vision and being in the international limelight.
You have a wide emotional range as an actress, and your character in “Scarlet” really touches on almost every human emotion. Any methods that you use to get into character?
Pietro chose me after an open casting (open to amateurs). He appreciated my spontaneity and also the fact that I didn’t take the whole casting phase too seriously (to tell the truth, I didn’t know what a self-tape was at that time, so I was sending some unconventional videos and that is what he liked). He saw his character in me and relied on that throughout the shoot. I did work with a coach to get to grips with Juliette’s emotions, but Pietro asked me to be as natural as possible – that was the most important thing. He also showed me some old French films with actresses like Simone Signoret or Arletty, whose characters had great strength and outspokenness, to inspire me.
What was it like working with Italian director Pietro Marcello and the rest of the cast? Any specific atmosphere on the set?
Shooting Scarlet will always be a wonderful memory for me. First of all, I was amazed by this world I didn’t know. The whole crew stayed for two months in a small village in northern France, as if in a bubble, and we forged very strong bonds. As for Pietro’s working method, he comes from a documentary background and likes to be surprised by what happens when he films. So everything could change at any moment. The setting, the intention of a scene, the lines of dialogue, even the story of the film… Improvisation was the watchword, which wasn’t always easy for the technical crew. But the shoot was like an adventure that we all tried to carry off as best we could. Pietro often asked Raphaël and I for our opinions on the film he was making, and was always open to changes. When the shoot was over, no one knew how the film was going to end, not even Pietro!
Who are the biggest influences in your career or in life?
I have no idea. I admire a lot of people, whether they make me feel something through their struggle or through art. I cherish those who sharpen other people’s sensibilities; for me, it’s the only way to remain a little human. And I greatly admire the women in my family too.
What was the toughest part about starring in an emotional film like “Scarlet” or acting in general?
Scarlet was my first playing experience, and everything was a challenge because everything was new. But the enormous confidence Pietro gave me helped me to not be afraid of the work. Perhaps the most difficult part was finding the differences between Juliette’s character and myself. At the start of the shoot, I was very smiling, but as the scenes progressed, it became clear that Juliette had to be less open, harder, regarding her childhood and the upbringing Raphaël and Adeline had given her. Likewise, Juliette has more character than me, she’s more impetuous, more daring. So I had to distance myself from who I was, whereas Pietro kept saying that I was the character.
You are a wonderful musician and singer; do you aim to focus more on music or acting and do you have any music projects that are going to debut any time soon?
First of all, thank you! I’m interested in both acting and music, although setting up a musical project with which I could tour remains my big dream. I still hope I won’t have to choose between these two careers. In fact, Scarlet was a good crossroads between these two disciplines, as I also learned a lot from the film’s composer, Gabriel Yared, who even let me write the lyrics to the song Hirondelle, which became the leading song of the movie.
What film projects do you have lined up next?
I don’t have any new film projects yet. At the moment, I’m working more in various musical groups and on my own compositions. But I’m more than ready to repeat the experience if the opportunity arises!
What made you want to act, and do you have any advice for any up-and-coming artists trying to break into music or film?
I was cast in Scarlet thanks to an open casting call my father stumbled on. I’d never really considered a career as a professional actress, but I enjoyed shooting Scarlet so much that I’m thinking about it now. I’m only at the very beginning, time will tell if I am right for an artistic career, but for now, the most important lesson I’ve learned in both music and acting is that staying natural and open to whatever happens is the best thing to do. And of course, to work a lot, by exploring, trying, taking care not to get disgusted, so that it all remains a pleasure.