Ludivine Sagnier Evolves From French Sexpot to Serious Actress

By , Columnist

Lionsgate

Ludivine Sagnier appears in The Devil's Double.

It's time for for French actress Ludivine Sagnier to take a cue from crossover stars Audrey Tatou and Marion Cottilard and make a big Hollywood blockbuster. Since turning heads as the teenage sexpot in Swimming Pool eight years ago, Sagnier has emerged from her Bridget Bardot phase to tackle roles of increasing depth.

During a visit to California for the Los Angeles Film Festival, Sagnier sounds like she's grown a bit weary of the sex symbol chatter. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Swimming Pool was my first movie in the U.S., but I wouldn't like to be trapped in that kind of image. I really like getting this variety of characters that I've played since then. Otherwise I would really get lost in this bimbo stereotype kind of girl, that I'm notI"

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Sagnier gets to stretch in Love Crime opening later this summer, which features her formidable star turn as a clever corporate killer. English-language feature The Devil's Double (July 29) casts the blue-eyed 32-year-old as mistress to the son of Saddam Hussein's body double (Dominic Cooper).

Hollywood casting agents in search of a femme fatale or comic book movie villain ought to watch Sagnier shift psycho-behaviorial gears in Love Crime.

Sagnier's Isabelle character is introduced as a work-obsessed junior executive who's content to let the boss (Kristin Scott Thomas) take credit for her brilliant marketing ideas. Things turn ugly after Isabelle gets humiliated at a company party.

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The film suddenly shifts tone as the once highly controlled Isabelle behaves in a shockingly uncharacteristic fashion. Sagnier completely alters her affect during a tour-de-force portrayal of feigned insanity, then shifts her persona yet again during the third act, when she assumes the ultra-confident demeanor of her former role model.

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After similar intense performances, Oscar-winner Cotillard got cast in Inception, while Tatou wound up opposite Tom Hanks in The DaVinci Code. So, is Sagnier ready to try her hand at a popcorn movie? "Definitely," she told me. "Why not? There are so many great actresses in the U.S., I would not like to steal their jobs, but there are more and more international people in American scripts, so yeah, if they need me, I'm here."

Hollywood: consider yourself warned.

Love Crime opens in September.

The Devil's Double opens July 29.

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Los Angeles-based writer/musician Hugh Hart covers movies, television, design, art and miscellaneous slices of pop culture for publications including Wired Magazine, Los Angeles Times and New York Times. When he's not interviewing people like Quentin Tarantino or Lindsay Lohan, Hugh likes to glug blackā€¦

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