Léa Seydoux 'felt like a prostitute' after 100-take lesbian scene in 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour'
French actress Léa Seydoux, 36, spoke about how she and her 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' costar Adèle Exarchopoulos were compelled to record up to 100 takes of a seven-minute lesbian sex scene over the course of ten days. Even an intimacy coordinator, which has become customary in the wake of the #MeToo movement, couldn't have made the production more comfortable, according to Seydoux, since director Abdellatif Kechiche was "just nuts."
Seydoux addressed her 'crazy' experiences filming for the controversial film in a new Hollywood Reporter piece published May 10, Tuesday. At the film's premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the festival jury broke tradition by awarding the Palme d'Or to Seydoux, Exarchopoulos, and Kechiche, rather than just the director. Ever since, the film has remained a cultural milestone and a polarizing work of art.
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Several critics and spectators accused the film of objectifying and unduly sexualizing its performers due to its prolonged sex sequences, which included profuse full-frontal nudity. Crew members accused Kechiche of harassing behavior after the premiere, claiming labor violations on the set, and both lead actresses indicated they would not work with the filmmaker again.
Seydoux seemed to strike a balance in her new profile between her dislike of the filmmaking process and how the film's success boosted her career. "It took a year of my life and I gave everything for that film. It really changed my life on many different levels," she said.
However, she wasn't enthused about the concept of an intimacy coordinator, someone who choreographs sex and intimacy scenes such that none of the performers' limits are crossed, because Kechiche's militant techniques would have blocked it. "No. Not really. It was beyond. It was the whole film, not only the sex scenes," she explained. "The way we shot this film was just insane. The guy is just nuts."
Kechiche, according to Seydoux, would sometimes require up to 100 takes for a single scene, which is significantly more than the norm. Despite saying after the film's premiere that working with the director had been a "dream," she went on to criticize him in later interviews, prompting him to threaten to sue her for supposedly "slanderous" claims.
In an interview with The Independent in 2013, Seydoux admitted that filming 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' was "humiliating at times" since the overtly sexual sequences often made her feel like a "prostitute." "Of course, [Kechiche] uses that sometimes. He was using three cameras, and when you have to fake your orgasm for six hours ... I can't say that it was nothing. But for me it is more difficult to show my feelings than my body," she remarked.
In response to the article, Kechiche questioned Seydoux's honesty. "If Seydoux lived such a bad experience, why did she come to Cannes, try on robes and jewelry all day? Is she an actress or an artist of the red carpet?" he asked.
Despite her bad experiences while filming, Seydoux recalls fondly the events that followed. "My greatest experience was Blue Is The Warmest Color," she remarked. That the actors shared the Palme d'Or, she told the Hollywood Reporter, was a message that they were partner auteurs alongside Kechiche.