In Assassin’s Creed lore, the heavies of the modern-day world are Abstergo, the most recent iteration of the Templars and mortal enemies of the Assassins.
The film adaptation of the game series (out Dec. 21), casts Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons as the father and daughter team responsible for bringing Michael Fassbender’s Callum Lynch into Abstergo.
EW recently spoke with Cotillard about her character, and what Sofia Rikkin is really after.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it about working with Michael and Justin on Macbeth that made you so confident in reteaming?
MARION COTILLARD: Justin is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. He has not directed many movies. Assassin’s Creed is only his third movie. Doing an adaptation of Macbeth as a second movie is really, really ambitious. I remember when I first talked to him on the phone. I had never met him, and I was like, “Who is this person, who jumps on such an iconic play?” Then I talked to him on the phone, and it made sense. There’s a sensitivity about him. There’s something about him that is very, very special. I felt that it would be a special journey, and it was. He’s one of the best directors for actors that I’ve ever worked with. When he called me to ask if I wanted to team up again with him and Michael, even before reading the script, I felt so lucky that he wanted to work with me again. He’s truly one of the best directors today.
Did Michael’s role as producer change your collaboration at all?
Yeah, it was a little different because he didn’t have the same pressure on his shoulders being a producer. But at the same time, Michael is so passionate about movies. I remember the conversations we had on Macbeth. I was very touched by his passion about movies, and I was sure that he would either direct or produce one day. I was really not surprised that he became a producer on this. I think he’s going to be a very good one. So yeah, it’s a little bit different. There’s more to do actually, especially when you adapt a video game that is so successful, with a lot of fans and a lot of expectation. It’s a different involvement, but of course, the way he committed himself to this was absolutely amazing. The pressure is different.
What is different for you when you’re on a project that has a big budget like this?
For me, it’s not really different, but at the same time, it’s different each time. Each project is different, but the fact that there is a lot of money or not a lot of money, it’s more different for a director. I remember doing this film with a director that I admire so much, and we had such little money to do the movie. Sometimes it would get into his creative process because he had ideas that he couldn’t bring to live because he didn’t have the money. Sometimes you have a lot of money, and you don’t have the ideas to use this money. I think it affects a director more than an actor. For me, every project is so different. I jump into another world each time, and I’m not affected by whether there’s more money or less.
What can say about what your character, Sophia Rikkin, is trying to accomplish?
My character is a scientist, and all of her research is meant to find a cure against violence. She’s studied people her whole career, and she’s created an environment where she can use these people to get to the origin of violence and try to find a cure.
What makes a character like that, someone who is trying to cure violence, interesting to you?
In the world that we live in, it’s very interesting to play a character who wants to make the world a better place. At the same time, she’s using people to do so, sometimes in a very scientific way. So it’s a real paradox, what she does and how she does it.
You can see the Assassin’s Creed trailer below.