French actress Clemence Poesy poised for stardom

Fri May 13, 2011 8:17pm EDT
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By Rebecca Leffler

CANNES, France (Hollywood Reporter) - From "Gossip Girl" on the Upper East Side to Peasant girl from Eastern France, French actress Clemence Poesy has crossed genres, languages and territories in her career.

Now, 19-year-old actress is at the Festival de Cannes with a divine role as Joan of Arc in Philippe Ramos' Director's Fortnight title "The Silence of Joan."

The film takes place in 1430 and follows the maid of Orleans during the last year of her life as she is captured and imprisoned, miraculously survives a fall from a tower and deals with the many men surrounding her, played by an all-star male Gallic cast including Thierry Fremont, Mathieu Amalric, Liam Cunningham and Jean-Francois Stevenin.

So did Poesy relate to the heroine known for hearing voices from God and leading the French army to victory during the 100 years war?

"I can't really relate to a young prophetess who was leading armies at a time where women weren't allowed to have any kind of social importance," she said. "While we were shooting, I didn't relate to Joan of Arc personally as much as I related to the Joan we were trying to portray and whose story we were telling. It was a long process that I approached with different references and different crafts."

For the film's director, Ramos, Poesy was an obvious choice for the role.

"I was looking for someone with a divine presence and Clemence had the spark," Ramos said. "Clemence has a sense of mystery about her. She has a very particular beauty that's childlike and sensual at the same time — she's full of contrasts."

Poesy's film choices also diverge. "I like being between French films and international projects — it feels like an amazing opportunity to always keep learning and discovering and it also gives me a lot of freedom. I'd love for things to keep going this way. Every project is different, every director is different. It changes all the time which is what's so great about it."   Continued...

<p>Actress Clemence Poesy arrives for the 2011-2012 Cruise collection show for French fashion house Chanel at the Cap d'Antibes on the French Riviera, May 9, 2011. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>