Uncovering the Mystery of Abstergo Industries: A Conversation with Marion Cotillard
Based on the blockbuster video game series from Ubisoft, ASSASSIN’S CREED is a visionary new take on the action-adventure genre. In this worlds-spanning tale, one man finds himself at the centre of an ancient battle between two powerful sects. Only by harnessing the memories of his ancestor, which are contained within his own DNA, can he end the conflict and claim his own redemption.
ASSASSIN’S CREED stars Academy Award® nominee Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 12 Years a Slave), Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, La Vie en Rose), Academy Award® winner Jeremy Iron (Reversal of Fortune, Die Hard: With a Vengence), Brendan Gleeson (Far and Away, Braveheart) and Michael K. Williams (12 Years a Slave, The Wire). The film is directed by Australian director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, Macbeth). In ASSASSIN’S CREED, Cotillard plays Sofia Rikkin, a scientist trying to find a cure for violence.
ASSASSIN’S CREED marks an exciting reteaming for Fassbender, Cotillard and Kurzel who previously worked together on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which was nominated for the Palme D’Or, with Cotillard playing the role of Lady Macbeth.
In 2008, Cotillard became the second French actress to ever win an Oscar®, and the first to win an acting award for a performance in the French language for her portrayal of the legendary French singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. Other credits include the successful French Taxi film series, written by Luc Besson, Yann Samuell’s Love Me If You Dare, and Tim Burton’s Big Fish.
It must have been wonderful to have had the previous connection with Michael Fassbender and director Justin Kurzel from working on MACBETH. How did that help you on this film?
One of my best experiences as an actress was working on Macbeth, and so the idea to work with Justin and Michael again was something that was very exciting to me. It was the first time for me to team up with the same people again along with our Director of Photography, Adam Arkapaw, who is an absolute genius. You arrive on set with this confidence and trust that is really priceless. Macbeth was a very stressful project for me, as I felt a lot of pressure because it’s Shakespeare and I come from a theatre family. I respect the theatre family so much and especially the UK theatre family, and the fans of Shakespeare, if I can call them that. However, the joy of working on that project was so intense, that I knew that working on another project would have the same joy and intensity and that was the case. We had such an amazing time working on both of these very different projects.
Can you talk about the complexity of the relationship between Sofia and her father?
Sofia and her father have a very complex relationship. What was interesting was that I was already working on the character and exploring Sofia, way before we started to shoot and before Jeremy Irons was on board to play my father. I called the director Justin Kurzel and I said, maybe I should work on a more specific British accent. We didn’t think I’d have to work on an accent, but then suddenly I thought that if I’m the daughter of Jeremy Irons, I should work on having the same accent. However, Justin thought that maybe we shouldn’t and that it would add to the mystery of this relationship. We might think that she wasn’t raised by her father, or maybe she does all of this because she’s in need of recognition from him. So it added things to my preparation with the construction of my character.
How important was it to you to keep the fantastical elements of this story still grounded in some kind of reality?
I think that even the deepest, highest science fiction story is still about human beings, so it’s still connected to a kind of reality. The concept itself of genetic memory is fascinating, because it’s science fiction to go back to your ancestor’s life, but as well it’s absolutely and completely plausible that that would exist. In fact, I think that through certain therapies you can actually access your ancestors’ knowledge so we carry that within ourselves. So I think that the concept itself is grounded in a form of reality.
The film works so well on its own, but there are a lot of fans of the ASSASSIN’S CREED game. What moments in the film do you think they will want to revisit when they watch it at home?
I think that the great idea that Justin had, which was a team idea, was to have a different kind of Animus than in the game. In the game, it was more of a bed or a chair where the one who enters the Animus was static, which was not so cinematic. So they thought about another idea which was for the body to be involved in the action of the ancestors and so they came up with this Animus arm which connects the ‘patient’ of the Animus to his ancestors. That’s a fascinating idea that was created for the movie. From what I’ve heard, Ubisoft would like to use the Animus version from the movie for their next game so it’s very, very exciting.
THE TIME HAS COME FOR GAMERS EVERYWHERE TO EMBRACE THE CREED. ASSASSIN’S CREED IS AVAILABLE NOW ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AND COMES TO 4K ULTRA HD, 3D BLU-RAY™, BLU-RAY™ & DVD MAY 15