Camille Cottin is having quite a year. As more and more folks locked at home tuned into Call My Agent! (Dix pour cent), the Netflix series in which she stars, her profile has risen internationally. The comedy-drama about the trials and tribulations of a Parisian talent agency already had helped her score jobs in Hollywood films pre-pandemic, and now she’s definitely someone to keep an eye on as she continues to build an enviable cross-border résumé.
The Paris native, who spent ages 12 to 17 living in London when her family moved for her stepdad’s job, is appearing in two films in Cannes this year including Directors’ Fortnight closing title Our Men (Mon légionnaire) by Rachel Lang, and Tom McCarthy’s out-of competition drama Stillwater.
Both of those films tackle serious subject matter (more on that later), which may seem out of character for an actress who broke out locally in the Canal+ hidden-camera sketch series Connasse (literally translated: Bitch) in which she inserted herself into daily life situations and turned the tables on unsuspecting Parisians (one notorious episode featured her making penis shaped balloon animals at a children’s birthday party). Connasse spawned a feature film in 2015, The Parisian Bitch, Princess of Hearts, also a hidden-camera comedy, which saw her travel to London in an attempt to marry Prince Harry.
Cottin got her initial start in the theater, while also studying English, and did everything from the comedies of Feydeau to Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Though she also played the antagonist in Season 3 of BBC drama Killing Eve, many of her French film roles have been in comedies. Unsurprisingly, Cottin prefers not to be defined by genre. “I think comedy, like drama, can elicit emotion,” she says. “That’s what I’m looking for. For me, it’s about rhythm. I see comedy like accelerated drama. Chaplin is dramatic, but it goes so fast that we laugh at it.”
Call My Agent! straddles both worlds, just as Cottin is doing in her career. Her character, the tightly-wound Andrea, she says, “is not a funny person; it’s super rare that she laughs. She’s always concentrated, always stressed. She spends her life trying to solve problems. It’s really the situations that are funny and she’s always getting tripped up. I try to keep a small distance where we know we are playing, that’s also part of comedy, so it’s a miniscule bit of complicity with the audience. We fully embrace the situations which are sometimes dramatic, but it’s also the way they are treated that makes comedy.”
How shows like “Lupin” and “Call My Agent!” have inspired me to pursue French fluency.
Growing up with a francophile mother, French has always been part of my life. My special stuffed animal was Babar the elephant, and weekends were spent singing the translated version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” with a group of children who were far more multilingual than me. In college, I spent a year studying in Paris, living with a host family and their three-legged dog, Colonel Moutard. Still, like many adults who spent their school years learning a foreign language, my opportunities to speak it dwindled after graduation, and so did my confidence. Continue reading “Falling Back in Love With French via Netflix”
The final season of the hit French show is now on Netflix.
BY LALE ARIKOGLU
If there’s been one unexpected hit during a time when our main activity is Netflix and, well, more Netflix, it’s Call My Agent!
The French television show set at a Parisian talent agency has been a lighthearted salve thanks to its razor sharp depictions of the relationships between stars and their agents—not to mention the added charm of Paris as its backdrop. It’s fourth and final season is now available to stream here in the U.S. and comes complete with cameos from big names like Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sigourney Weaver, as well as the usual competitive antics we’ve come to expect from its beloved cast. We caught up with Camille Cottin, who plays the incomparable Andréa Martel, to talk about the challenges her character faces, Parisian clichés, and what she has missed most about the city during lockdown.
The show launched in France in 2015 but it really only landed on most American’s radars this past year. How do you think it’s been received by the different audiences?
It’s difficult to have popular and critical success at the same time, but that is what happened in France, and it’s funny to see all this interest starting again now. I just read an article in the New York Times saying that what makes the show interesting is [the way] it talks about the industry. Previously, the industry was always shown as cynical, and this is a tender show. There’s humor, there’s satire, we make fun of the people we’re depicting, but at the same time, there’s love, big love for cinema, big love for actors, big love for the people of the industry.
The producers [told me] they were quite surprised that it had an international echo, though, because it only talks about French actors. But it really depicts a star: the selfie star, or the nervous star, or the jealous star. Plus, the [agency] is like a family, they are all figures with whom you can identify with—and their [dynamics] of power, competition, and jealousy. The problems they deal with are human ones.
Paris, of course, is the backdrop to those relationships. What have been some of your favorite locations to film in?
Well, I loved the flat they gave [Andréa], which is twice the size of mine! But one true favorite is the scene at the end of season one: [My character] just got dumped and I feel lonely and sad, walking along that very famous bridge,
The comedy, whose fourth series hits Netflix this week, shows France’s TV can match its film
Fast approaching 50 and fed up after two exhausting decades at Artmedia, the top talent agency in Paris, Dominique Besnehard decided, one day in 2005, that he would quite like to turn his hand to producing something of his own.
“At the time,” Besnehard told Le Monde, “Desperate Housewives was all over the telly, a huge success. I just thought, with a couple of colleagues, we could maybe make a series a bit like that, but about the job we do for a living.”
Call My Agent, whose fourth series starts on Netflix this week, is now a huge hit – and has, along with Spiral and The Bureau, two other acclaimed series, fully and perhaps finally disproved the dictum that France is as bad at TV drama as it is good at cinema.
“France is really benefiting from a global trend in TV series towards strong, original, local stories, anchored in their territory and free of American and British norms,” said Laurence Herszberg, director of the international Series Mania festival.
The show, she said, was so big because it was “set in a milieu we don’t know well but would like to; because the agents are sympathetic and passionate and people like them even more than the guest stars; because it’s very French – it’s in Paris, it has office love affairs … And because it’s on Netflix.”
Call My Agent, whose French title is Dix pour Cent (for the 10% fee French agents charge actors), draws between 3 and 4 million viewers on public broadcaster France 2 and is available around the world on the streaming service.
From well-known spots like the Palais-Royal to museums like L’Atelier des Lumières, here are 10 “Emily in Paris” filming locations you can visit in real life.
If you’ve watched Emily in Paris, the new Netflix show about a young marketing executive from Chicago who moves to Paris to bring an American perspective to a French marketing firm, you likely have a few thoughts about it. Love it or hate it, there’s one thing we can probably all agree on: The setting is absolutely stunning.
Glamorous shots over the Seine and scenes set in iconic locales reaffirm my personal belief that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We’ve rounded up some of the filming locations depicted in Emily in Paris, so you can walk in Emily’s footsteps during your next trip to the city — or just daydream about the City of Lights.
1. Pont Alexandre III
In a city full of picturesque bridges, Pont Alexandre III stands out as one of the most beautiful. Savoir, the French marketing firm where Emily works, films a perfume advertisement here with their client, Maison Lavaux. With an ornate design and views of the Grand Palais and Eiffel Tower, it’s a truly stunning place to walk.
2. Jardin du Palais-Royal
The beautifully landscaped grounds of a 17th-century palace called the Palais-Royal (now government buildings) are where Emily meets her new friend, Mindy, a nanny living in Paris, during her lunch break. It’s located in the center of Paris, just steps from the Louvre, making it the perfect place to stop while touring the city.
3. L’Atelier des Lumières
Emily joins her neighbor (and love interest), Gabriel, and his girlfriend, Camille, on a visit to L’Atelier des Lumières, an abandoned factory-turned-art space. The innovative experience opened in 2018, and right now, visitors can be completely immersed in the works of Renoir, Chagall, and Monet during the “Journeys Around the Mediterranean” exhibition.
4. Palais Garnier
With an Audrey Hepburn-inspired look, Emily visits the Palais Garnier for a showing of “Swan Lake.” The truly impressive opera house was built in the 1800s, and today, it’s probably most famous as the setting for “The Phantom of the Opera.”