The French actress crosses over in two major Hollywood movies this year — but she'd like to keep a low profile, s'il vous plaît.
Courtesy of Focus Features

Camille Cottin is a reluctant star. "Really, 'me' is the thing I least like to talk about," she tells EW.

Well, the French actress, 42, should get used to it, because her brand of Gallic charm is very much in demand these days: She can be seen opposite Matt Damon in Tom McCarthy's awards contender Stillwater (in theaters Friday), and later this year appears in Ridley Scott's buzzy crime drama House of Gucci, with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. Not to mention her breakout role on the international hit Call My Agent! (available on Netflix), which was recently picked up for a fifth season and a TV movie.

In Stillwater, which premiered to a standing ovation at Cannes earlier this month, Cottin plays Virginie, a French single mother who befriends Damon's Bill, a father trying to exonerate his daughter (Abigail Breslin) of murder. Of her character, Cottin says she loves how she "embodies humanity and being open to differences, open to the unknown, and with strong values." The actress adds, "She's the one teaching and guiding Bill. She's a sort of guide, not only through [Marseille], but also trying to reopen this person's mind."

Camille Cottin with Matt Damon in 'Stillwater.'
| Credit: Jessica Forde/Focus Features

According to Cottin, Stillwater — which was initially scheduled for release last fall, only to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic — is the perfect film for the here and now. "The film is about traveling and meeting other people — and this is something we've cruelly been deprived of," she says. "So it's a beautiful movie to share now, because it's really about finding yourself and going away to meet people and open yourself."

In Gucci, Cottin plays Paola Franchi, the fiancée of murdered fashion heir Maurizio Gucci. She describes making the film as "a beautiful mixture of [Scott] knowing what he wants and being completely open to collaboration, no matter who you are, as long as you're on set." She continues, "I really, really enjoyed myself very much. It was a beautiful experience. And I had beautiful partners, too. So that helps."

For an actress who's been working for more than 20 years, this is a satisfying chapter — not that Cottin would admit it. "It's because you're telling me an American audience knows me that I'm conscious of it," she says. "But it's still conceptual, I would say."

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