Marion came to Public Enemies through the lure of Michael Mann who she “fell in love with” upon meeting. Likewise the script, having never heard of John Dillinger the story captured her, as did the role Billie played in his life. She met wives of imprisoned men as part of her preparation, to better understand their isolation and the instability of their lives.
At one point she became hypnotised by the whirring of the dozens of Dictaphones on the stage before her, giggling and asking “It’s funny non? It’s weird, it’s alive!”
When HeyUGuys asked her how she inhabits a character and found her voice for Billie Frechette she explained:
“Michael Mann is a perfectionist. An hour after screen test he give me a big box full of newspapers of that time, storybooks, photos”¦such a gift. You feed yourself and with all this information, you can be her. I need to meet someone in order to “˜be’ this person. I create their childhood. That is how I work”¦”
She spoke fondly of Mann saying: “I was touched by him, I so admired him and we had that”¦connection.” Although this was a huge production, she spoke of the intimacy of the work ““ that, when it comes down to it, on any film French, American, big or small the work is always intimate. When pushed on whether she shares Christian Bale’s, now infamous, method acting techniques she was deferential and generous saying:
“There’s an atmosphere on a set, something that stays with you”¦you keep it. Inbetween it is better to get there and stay there, not come out of it. Before La Vie en Rose I thought it was dangerous to do that or even ridiculous”¦I thought that because I didn’t know any better, now I understand more.”
[gplayer href=”https://www.heyuguys.com/audio/public_enemies/cottilard_heyuguys_edit.mp3″] Interview with Marion Cottilard: [/gplayer]