Paris people

The happy face of Jewish vengeance

She than added: “Melanie Laurent knows. Very well....The others, you can't teach them. They’ll never learn it.”

Tonight at six o’clock, Melanie Laurent doesn’t need to walk like an elf. She just will need to push the right button: the 27-year-old French actress had been chosen to inaugurate the Christmas illuminations of the Champs-Elysées.

Not an honour, you think? Quite the reverse. It’s a big one. In previous years her predecessors have been non other than Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marion Cotillard. So you can imagine that several other colleagues might be jealous tonight.

Hollywood has to count with Melanie

Melanie is a very well known actress here in France. Even if she started more or less by chance (she met Gerard Depardieu on a set who immediately cast the 15 year old in a small part in his next film), she made other films and was soon awarded the César du meilleur espoir feminine and the Prix Romy Schneider, the two most important awards a young French actress can hope for. But her international breakthrough came last year: after starring in Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds, Melanie Laurent is the young French actress that Hollywood will have to take notice of.

You have to say that the role of Shosanna Dreyfus in Tarantino’s film was made for her: The young French-Jewish girl witnessed the execution of her entire family and will later, once she became the owner of a cinema, take revenge and kill Hitler.

"I'm Jewish. I read the script together with my grandfather and he told me, 'You have to make that movie, please.' So it was not just for me, it was for my family.”

Very down to earth, just a lot of shoes...

Laurent has Ashkenazi and Sephardi origins plus a grandfather who survived deportation: "When I read the script”, Laurent said, “I was like, wow, it's been my dream to kill Hitler since I was like four. So I was kind of like Shosanna already.” She was proud being “the face of the Jewish vengeance”.

This year Laurent starred in the movie Le Concert. She is preparing a record and very soon she will start shooting her directorial debut, Les adoptés. She recently confessed, in an interview with Express style, that she had one obsession: shoes. “I’ve got 300 pairs”, she said, “Zanotti with blue rhinestones, a pair of Prada that Miuccia herself gave to me, some Louboutins…”.

Otherwise, she isn’t complicated at all. There is only one condition she insists on to directors: She won't take off her mother's engagement ring. “The one time I took the ring off, something really bad happened. That’s why from now on I warn everybody: the ring is not negotiable.”

“Melanie is somebody interesting, delicate and very special”, Jeanne Moreau said. And she definitely is.Photos:
Loic Venance AFP