Q: How would you describe Véronique Reno?
VP: Véronique is a woman who has been hurt and who has overcome her shyness by playing the game of woman/objet and is a bit of chameleon. She wears lots of different masks, by that I don't mean she has split personalities as such. She just wears a mask that fits the situation and people she wants to be around and wants to use. Despite this primary layer of being superficial and cold, she has a lot to give financially but even more so emotionally, though she may have lost sight of this.
Q: What part of you have you brought to this role?
VP: Before the interview, Stephen and I briefly talked about my life in order to bring a few personal elements to humanize Véronique a bit more, such as my hometown, my family, a few references to my career path. It was interesting to apply those facts of my life to this fictitious character, and create a merger, a blurred juxtaposition of Virginie and Véronique.
Q: Were there any obstacles while performing this exercise?
VP: No, apart from ensuring I could express myself correctly and fluently in French. Having lived in London for nine years, French has sort of become my second language!
Q: How did you work with Stephen?
VP: Stephen had a very clear idea of the character he wanted to interview. We first discussed my past and present briefly, then Stephen built Véronique's life around it, while giving me the main directions he wanted my answers to take. I did enjoy, however, being a bit more provoking and arrogant!
It was very interesting to have to reveal someone's fictitious life in the setting of an interview, where the concept is about being "honest" with the journalist (Stephen). Véronique is very different from me. Her thirst for wealth, the facade she has built around her to protect herself and this woman/object she has created. At the same time, some aspects of her life did resonate with mine. It was a very interesting exercise and I very much liked working with Stephen. I liked giving life to this character who remains intriguing. Stephen has a great imagination and knows what and how to get from the actors very quickly, while allowing them some freedom to play the role.