The Guardian / NFT interview
(Christopher Cook, Friday March 16, 2001)
Hailed as one of the faces of the 1960s after her breakthrough role in Georgy Girl, Charlotte Rampling has never taken the obvious choices in her subsequent career, which has included startling performances in such celebrated films as The Damned, The Night Porter and The Verdict. To coincide with the release of her latest movie, Under the Sand, the legendary star talked to Christopher Cook about some of her best known films, as well as the actors and directors she has worked with.
What was it that you liked about the script of Under the Sand that made you want to take the part of Marie?
It wasn't a script at all, it was just an idea. François Ozon, whose work I was beginning to discover a few months before, came to me via my agent and said that he had this idea, which was just the first part of the film until the husband disappears, because it was something he himself witnessed when he was a boy of twelve. He was haunted by this idea and it so happens that at the age of thirty-two he was looking for someone who would be able to follow, to find out what happened to this woman that he saw pack her little bag with the towels and the beach ball, and go home and never really know what happened to her husband. So, that's the story. We filmed the first part, up to where the husband disappeared, then we stopped filming and then he wrote the screenplay.
But there must have been something about the story that caught your imagination as an actor?
I think because it was so incredibly difficult to imagine what could possibly happen, and how we could put that across on the screen. How could you actually make interesting what this woman was going through after such an experience? More and more as François Ozon wrote the screenplay, more and more he didn't want anything to happen - he just wanted to film it through the eyes of the woman.
Being there while the screenplay was being written, did you get an opportunity to shape what was happening to Marie?
Yes, because I was his blueprint - the essence of what could happen in this very fragile story because there was no plot particularly, it was just about "a being." Perhaps you feel it when you see this film, this film is more an experience than actually seeing a film, it's a very personal thing for everybody. The people that are affected by the film, and they seemed to be quite affected in France, if you are affected by it then it becomes your story.
Was there a sense in which you felt that the feminine aspect of the character needed a little help that perhaps you could bring in?
Well, there was never a question of me collaborating on the writing, but I very much collaborated with him in terms of ideas. At one moment I said to him that I thought it necessary for him to collaborate with a woman writer and so he worked with two women on the writing at one stage.
When you first see this film it doesn't seem to be a long, strong narrative, it seems to be about a woman trying to come to terms with the inexplicable loss of her husband Jean. But the film plays on your mind and isn't about that at all, it's not about mourning the loss of a husband really, is it?
No, that's the pretext of the story. Quite often in life, when a tragic event arrives it becomes a springboard for mirroring all other things in one's life that one hasn't come to terms with. To grieve is something extremely difficult, we don't even know how to begin to grieve, and I don't know how you can be taught to grieve. But it's how to come to terms with suffering, that's what it's really about - not to resist it, not to deny it, but to accept it - but we don't really want to do that because it's too painful.
Also a woman who is emotionally shipwrecked by an event. She loses all sense of bearing and it's an attempt to recover a sense of identity.
Yeah. I don't know, I sort of feel that, the way we go through life, these moments are necessary in different shapes and forms because they are what will make us understand more about why we're here and what we are doing in life and why we're actually alive. Quite often we're just trundling along and we think, well, it's sort of OK let's hope it stays OK, but it never really does stay OK. When life hits you very hard it's the biggest challenge. So each challenge is how we're going to accept these challenges. So we watch Marie come to terms, or not, with this. We watch how she goes along the way to become, perhaps, to that accepting form at the end of the film.
There's that savage scene towards the end of the film with her mother-in-law, which is I think the most vicious, psychological scene between two women on the screen that I've seen for a long time. Was that tough to do?
Memories of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford?
You said it, not me!
I saw it in your eye! Well, it was positive, because it made Marie really resolve and say, "Fuck her,", that body is your son - she didn't know if it was, but she's going to tell that woman it was him in the net, and she says, "Oh. But he never liked fishing! How strange!"
You're competing with an actress in that scene who, like you, knows exactly where to position herself in relation to the camera. So it becomes a great duel between two powerful actors as well as two powerful women.
Yeah, that's what cinema is about. Good cinema can be like that.
I'm curious about the end. Should we suppose that there really is Jean there on the end of the beach or are we deliberately not supposed to make up our minds, and what does Marie think?
Well I think you've got to be as confused as Marie. I'm sorry!
Going back to the beginning of your career, did you always know that you wanted to act?
No, but I knew I wanted to be somewhere in the limelight, I knew I wanted to be up there somewhere. But acting, I didn't really think about it. I thought about singing but that become impossible because my father didn't want that. Acting came, sort of, out of the blue.
Acting was all right with your parents but singing wasn't?
Singing was rather daring because it meant rather short skirts and cabaret, because this was before discotheques you see, so I would have been a cabaret artiste. And I was only sixteen and still at school.
You studied at The Royal Court with William Gaskill and George Devine. What did you learn from these two great men of the British theatre?
Certainly, with George Devine, I learnt stillness, I learnt actually that movement wasn't necessary and you could convey all - we worked a lot with masks - through being still. That was enormous as a lesson, I certainly learnt that through him.
Do you think it's important for a cinema actor to have that sort of stagecraft?
I don't know, because I didn't do it?
But the training?
I think all training is wonderful and great, it's always useful. I regret not having enough training, I trained for a year at The Royal Court, but I very quickly went off to do films and television. Training is fabulous because it gives you a basis, a strong structure, so that when you're unbelievably nervous and you think that you can't get a word out, you will get the word out. Something is structured within you, that's what the training has given you, and it will come out.
After Georgy Girl you might have spent your career making English pictures, but very quickly you became interesting to European directors - you worked with Visconti on The Damned. Was that something that you'd wanted to do, get into European cinema?
No, but what I wanted to do? I was researching psychologically? what's the word? not disturbed, but psychologically rich people whose inner world could have a voice. The films that were being offered to me in the early sixties in England were very much dollybirds, and girls following plots, and girlfriend of the hero and that sort of thing. So it was through Italy that I found the roles I needed.
Did you find Visconti, or did he find you to play Elizabeth Thallman in The Damned?
He found me. He'd seen me in Georgy girl and he'd seen me in the first Italian picture I did, Sequestro di Persona, called Kidnapped in England. He'd seen those two films.
What was he like as a director?
He became my master. He illustrated all that I imagined cinema could be. I didn't know much about cinema, I didn't have a culture in cinema, I hadn't had theatre training, I wasn't particularly educated in the cinema world and I didn't even know who Visconti was. He showed me a particular type of cinema, which became my matrix, which became the way I wanted to make films. I've never really deviated - they're not all Visconti-type films, but the essence, the quality, the style is what I've always looked for.
When he was on set with you, what would he be asking from you and the other actors?
I said to him, "Look. I can't play this role," when I first met him. She's a woman of thirty and I'm twenty-three and here I am with my hair all over the place in a mini-skirt and I just don't know how this woman suffers. She's got two children and it's an incredible story and I said I didn't know how to do it. He said, "I know that you can do it. Will you trust me?" It was really sweet, and the idea of me turning down Visconti - well, I realised the extent of my youthful madness.
He said, "I know you can do it," and I said, "How?" and he said, "I can see it behind your eyes. Just listen to me. I'm going to make you up, I'm going to change your style, I'm going to make you look like a woman in her thirties, you're going to have beautiful clothes, a beautiful set, you're going to have beautiful people around you. I'm going to put you into this place and you're going to have to do what you have to do. I can't act for you. I can do everything else for you, but I can't act for you. Will you act for me?" I said, "Senor, si! Grazia!" And I did.
What you describe is similar to what other people have said - the absolute fascination with detail. There is a famous story about when he was shooting Ludwig where he sent his favourite designer back to Rome because he didn't like the coachman's buttons. Did you feel that once you were there on the set, that he wasn't going to tell you much about how to do it?
It depends. With Helmut Berger he was an absolute tyrant. He told Helmut every single thing to do. Everything. Every movement. But with the women, he was - I don't know how he was with Ingrid Thulin because we didn't have so many scenes together - certainly with me and Romy Schneider, he just puts you in this most incredible situation where you feel like a princess and you're absolutely loved, and you're dressed and you're made-up and he says, "Just now act for me." And with his women it was like that. With the men it was very different.
That was the first time you worked with Dirk Bogarde. We saw a clip of one of your most notable partnerships, The Night Porter. What were Bogarde's strengths as an actor to work with? What did he bring to the relationship?
Certainly endurance. He never gave up. If ever for a moment I got tired, or looked depressed he would just literally pick me up by the scruff of my neck, sit me down and say, "You never ever admit that you feel tired because you have to be ready for one minute at any time in the fourteen or fifteen hours we're working, because that minute will be the one that is eternally on the screen. You prepare for that constantly'."
He sounded a bit like my father! But he was right, he was absolutely right. You can never go to pieces. It is incredibly strenuous, filming, physically, psychologically, in every way. It's a huge endurance test because you do have to be absolutely there for one minute. That's all it is - three minutes a day, filming. That's all you do. There is a lot of irritation and difficulty and waiting and being uncomfortable in your make-up and costume, and you just want to get out, but you can't. You must be ready for that one moment. He very much taught me about that and helped me in that film and certainly I never forgot that.
Both you and Bogarde are very English in one sense, as actors, but somehow terribly un-English too. It becomes rather dangerous. Am I overstating this, or did you have a sense of that?
Dangerous in what sense?
It doesn't have the neatness and order of most English acting.
After Dirk left the Rank organization and went to live in Italy and then in France, he was in his early forties at that time, he made his break with that. I made my break with that when I was twenty-three and decided that I needed to find characters that weren't in English cinema at that time. In that sense we were on a parallel.
How did you prepare yourself for the part of Lucia Atherton in The Night Porter? Did you think your way into the terrifying history of this woman who had been in the camps during the holocaust?
We started filming the concentration camp sequences in a disinfected TB hospital outside Rome. I'd decided not to think about this story until I started. It was such a violent start I was just propelled into it. I can't describe it.
In approaching a part, do you need to research it and have lots of external things that you know?
No, because I dare to believe that I've got it somewhere in me. I dare to take that risk.
High wire walking, isn't it?
Yeah, but it hasn't proved too bad, has it?
Do you ever worry you might fall?
Of course I do, all the time, but that's the fun! Free-form, no net.
What can you put as a net beneath you?
What can you put? You put things of your life there.
So you've got things to draw on?
Yes. You've got your family, your children, your husband, your home, you put that. That's what holds a lot of stuff so you don't fall off and crash to the ground. There must be a sense of reality, the things you've really created, which is your home and your children.
How much do you want the director to offer you things to hold on to and how much do you want to listen to what you think he or she wants and then do it?
Well, he really is the ringmaster. In a sense I have to be at his command, but not in a submissive way or a puppet-like way, but I must feel that I am going to perform uniquely for him. I have to be sure that he really knows that so that he knows the risk I am taking.
So there is a very important trust from the very beginning?
Do you like rehearsals?
No. I don't like rehearsals. That's probably why I don't do theatre. I don't like repeating things.
Is that because in the end there is only one way of doing it?
Gosh, I don't know, that would be terrible to think, wouldn't it? That there's only one way of doing it. But I think I probably think that, yeah. And when I've got it, I don't ever want to do it again. Or I'm too frightened not to be able to get it. Or perhaps I'm not trained enough - had I had a training I think you think differently. I don't think you can think like the way I'm saying, that it can only be once, if you've had a theatrical training because you know you can get it again. But my training is instinctive and it's my training, it's what I've taught myself as I've gone along as to how to get the effect that I want.
Do you think that's a kind of nakedness? The technique that you might have acquired if you'd gone through "great British acting institutions" would have created a superstructure around you, but you don't have that.
No. I have always avoided it, not consciously, except for The Royal Court, which I loved, and the work I did with George Devine. Improvisation work, for example, we did there, and that was wonderful for me. You just had to get up in front of the class and do things. The teacher would say make us laugh, make us cry, make us believe in this. Make us believe in a way that children do. That's very powerful and useful. But anything that's formal, any kind of formal, institutionalised training - and anything institutionalised in life - I always end up avoiding that, and doing something else.
Many people would treasure the film Zardoz most, what was it like working with John Boorman?
Who would treasure most?
Those who'd admired your career?well, I think that. Alright, I'm speaking for myself?
Is he? Is he speaking for himself? That surprises me. Zardoz?
You don't regard that as something special in your career?
I don't know what I regard as special too much, I'm not the best judge. It just made me laugh, I don't know why. It's a funny film, a mixture of all sorts of things.
It just goes to show that critics are always wrong.
I'm certainly not the one who can judge all of that.
It seems to me that you find a completely different style of acting. There you are, with Sean Connery in an all-muscles role, and you cease to be this strange, dark creature and it's another actress altogether.
No? Well, passing lightly over Orca Killer Whale, let's talk about Stardust Memories?
Just as well I had Orca Killer Whale, otherwise not a child in the world would know who I was. They couldn't see any of my films. What could my sons see? Well, they saw Orca. And they jolly well enjoyed it, it was a lovely film.
Did Woody Allen casting you in Stardust Memories come out of the blue?
No, he called my agent up. He was in Paris and I saw him and we had a very odd interview. I was sitting there, and he was asking me these rather odd questions and at the end he said, "How do you feel about being my ideal woman?" I said, "Well, I love the idea," and he said, "Well, OK." So I ended up doing the film.
At the time, I had just had a baby and I said to Woody that I couldn't do the film - a pretty agonizing decision but I couldn't leave all my family because he wanted me in New York for five months, because he said it was going to be "an experimental film." I talked to the producer, and the producer said if that was really the case then?Woody got back on the phone and said what can we do? I said, "I don't know," and he said, "Bring the family over." I said, "I can't bring the family over, I've got three children and a husband, I can't bring everybody over to New York and live there for five months." So he said, "Well what can we do?" and I said, "Will you let me come and go?" - in American productions they never let you come and go, especially the studios in Hollywood - so they allowed me to do that. On the Concorde I came and went.
What did he mean when he said my ideal women? Was it just tongue in cheek?
No. No, no it wasn't. His ideal woman is absolutely completely bonkers for twenty-eight days of the month, and fantastic for two or three, but so fantastic you get through the other twenty-eight when she's completely out of her skull.
When he was working on set, did he direct in a way that was quite unusual compared to what you were used to?
He went on and on and on. He said, 'Right. We're going to improvise. You can do what you want.' You could not change a word. So you did things in various ways, but always his way completely.
Was he allowed to improvise?
Well, yeah. He did a lot of improvising, but you weren't allowed to do any improvising at all. But you were bathed in the illusion that you were improvising like mad, but actually you were not changing a word of anything, not even a movement, because he would tell you exactly how he wanted you to move, which was very sweet.
Was the script written so that there was only one way of doing it? You sound like Charlotte Rampling as a Woody Allen leading lady - the lines don't end, there's an upbeat on the end of the line - is that the way it's written or is that the way you find yourself performing for him?
When you work with a director you become like a chameleon. The process of filmmaking is very musical, you get into the rhythm and the rhythmics of how someone is, especially with Woody Allen who is very much into body language and body movement. So it's a kind of mimicry that happens very quickly, you are getting into his rhythm because that's the way he wants you to be in the film. If he wanted you to be very different, you could be very different, but he wanted me to undergo osmosis with him, become the same person. So you just get into that rhythm.
That becomes even more obvious in the sequence where the two of you are in the apartment and the pigeon comes in. When you saw the film, were you surprised at what had happened?
[Laughing] I'm just remembering the scene?Was I surprised? No. I don't know. I suppose I'm always a bit surprised, yeah, when I see the films.
Although he insisted that you kept to the script, quite a lot of things happened when he started to construct the film afterwards, so perhaps what you thought you were doing wasn't what you ended up doing.
Well, he said that it was going to be "an experimental film," and this meant that a few times I came back and we'd do five versions of a scene.
For instance, the scene where Dorrie breaks down, we couldn't get how to show somebody breaking down. We did this scene in a clinic, then we were here, then we were there, then it was me, looking depressed and all this. Every time it didn't work. The final time he called me back and said just sit down, with a black background, and said, "I've got all this text. Just read it, or learn it. Do something with it. Say all these words to the camera." As I was saying them something happened with the camera, I don't know the technical word, but the frame freezes for a minute and so it sort of stops. That became the scene. It was a mistake. He was doing something and it did that. That's how things happen. You find things, and that is the magic of films - so often it's out of your control. The most beautiful things happen.
When the script for Angel Heart arrived, what made you think you really wanted to play Margaret Krusemark in the film? It's a very small, cameo performance on one level.
First of all because of Alan Parker, who is a friend, I've known him a long time and I admire him enormously, and then it was Mickey Rourke, and then it was the fascinating screenplay and it became irresistible. Even if it was just one big scene, you're always talking about this women, this woman holds tremendous power through the film. The film is quite astounding really.
That's the point, it's her film.
Almost, yeah, although she's hardly ever there.
When you play that scene, you're competing with an astonishing set, crammed with detail. I wonder how easy it is acting with, but against, the décor.
Well, you just don't think about it. You'd very quickly drown otherwise.
It must be quite alarming to have that sort of detail around you.
I don't actually look very much. I think, in a sense, it's a pity, but that's the only way I can protect myself in this business. I just look to the essential of what I have to look at, and the rest I don't see. People will say, "Did you see that?" I will say, "No. I actually didn't." So if you say to me that room was very decorated, I had no idea that it was.
It's also like that with the technicians, and all the movement and the agitation and the razzamatazz that goes around on a day's filming, if I connect into what is really happening then I'll lose what I need to be able to do what I have to do. So I blank out a lot of stuff.
Was it fun to work with Rourke?
Yeah. He was wonderful then too, he was really good, he was well and he was happy and it was a good moment in his life. He became a very good friend, yup.
In terms of performing, what made it good to be with him at that moment?
Because he is a highly instinctive, sensual actor and at that time he was at the peak of all that. He was quite remarkable. He just vibrated. He's not clever like a De Niro, who he was acting with, but he had great gifts. Has great gifts. He hasn't done much now, but then he was at the peak of his power, of his sensuality, of his animal side, of his instinctive side. Alan is a very powerful director, so he was able to keep him there, chain him in there and not let him go from there. Whereas if he's allowed to go on his own, he then gets out of control.
It's an American style of acting that some people call "spit and sawdust." It couldn't be more different than your style. Because it's so overwhelming, Rourke's style, when it works, 200,000 volts in one person, how difficult is it to maintain your presence?
I don't think I do badly?
I think you do wonderfully!
In terms of voltage?I think I did well there!
It's just a different style, isn't it?
Hmm. Is it? I don't know. I would say Robert De Niro's style is much more different, I wouldn't say Mickey and mine's was so different.
Are you conscious of revealing too much of yourself. Your safety net in the end is based upon things from your own life. Sometimes taking skins off can be a dangerous business.
Yeah. Quite often I didn't do it, for that reason.
Can you sense, as a performer, when you taken one too many skins off.
What do you do about it?
You lick your wounds a bit. Stay at home.
Let's talk about your wonderful portrayal of Miss Havisham. The trouble with Miss Havisham is that everybody has in mind David Lean's version of Great Expectations. Did you consciously think what am I going to do in this that isn't going to be David Lean's Miss Havisham? This old, sad, mad woman surrounded by the relics of the marriage that never was.
No, because the screenplay was not that. I met all the people concerned who wanted to make that into something more?I think they wanted to put a bit of sex into Miss Havisham. She might have been dried up, but they did want to make her a bit sexy. That's what they said. "I'm yer girl, then," I said!
That final line in that scene (Miss Havisham is told that she is going to marry after all) I think is wonderful. I can't think of any other way of doing it. You must have planned?
You don't plan, but you know that certain lines hold immense power and immense depth, and you just hope that you're going to put what is needed behind the words. If words don't have vibration behind them, and a real feeling behind them, then they're just words. Some words are very beautiful and that word is one of the most beautiful, it's been bandied around a million times, but if you can really say it in the context of a character like Miss Havisham then it's very satisfying.
I wonder if you feel that one of the problems for a female actor is that the parts don't come after a certain age. Until you become a character actress?
So how long do I have to wait?
I wondered if you were conscious of being offered a lot of things that you really don't want to do because they're not very interesting.
Well, I'm probably lucky because I'm not someone who wants to work very much! So I always feel that there is a role around for me, though I might have to wait around for nine months or a year, but I don't mind that.
And preferably a role with a risk attached?
Yeah. So I suppose if you really wanted to work a lot I suppose I could say yeah, where are the roles for women my age, but they seem to come?This one in Under The Sand, François Ozon said, "No-one will want to do this role because I want to film you exactly as you are. No French film actor is going to want to do it. They're not going to want to be a) in a bathing costume and b) not very well lit, c) looking pretty terrible and all that. I want to film a woman as a woman is at your age."
He also said he wanted to film "the beauty of wrinkle". So in a sense the romantic in him is there too. There is something romantic about his work.
I think that when a young man of thirty-two wants to film a woman of fifty, there is something very romantic about that. He wants to film something that is not necessarily pleasing all the time, but is certainly fulfilling. So a fulfilled woman sometimes looks beautiful, and sometimes doesn't look so beautiful, but you don't have to worry about that because it's all in a day? In a day, from the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you go to bed, all sorts of different faces happen, and that's what he wanted. He wanted very much for the actress not to worry about anything like: "Have I got the right angle?" or "Is my stomach showing?" or "Can you see my double chin?"
And you didn't?
No?of course I didn't?
Let's ask the audience.
Question one: I think you were high voltage in Angel Heart. What was it like working with Paul Newman on The Verdict?
He was high voltage. I kind of like this voltage thing we're on. He is somebody so shy and fragile. You have to be very gentle with him, perhaps you wouldn't think it. He's very self-doubting, an immensely humane man. It was the most extraordinary experience working with him, just on a human basis, I find him an exquisite human being.
Question two: You made a film called He Died With His Eyes Open, what was your experience of that?
I thought it was pretty amazing, that film. I really did. As a dark, dark film. It was Robin Cook who wrote the book?did it get released in England? Yes. It was also working with Michelle Serot, who is one of the finest French actors I think. He started on comedy and became a tremendous dramatic artist. It was one of the darkest films I've made, actually, in terms of the story and in terms of the weight. I saw it recently, I don't really watch my films, but I saw it because it was re-released somewhere.
Was it well received in France?
Yeah. Very well received. Very dark film. One of Jacques Deray's very good films, he's quite an unequal director, Jacques Deray.
Question three: What do you want, as a person, to happen to Marie at the end?
What I feel is that she has come to accept that he husband has died. She has the evidence, the body is there, she knows that. When she sees the watch, she knows that it's her husband because you can't possibly tell from the body. She's not going to be able to stay for very long with the pain of crying and she realises that she has to mourn. When she runs off she maybe invents the fact that it might be her husband, but she knows it's not and she will eventually come to terms with the death of her husband. She will accept it. That's what I feel.
Question four: She won't end up in an asylum like her mother-in-law?
No way, because she's far too proud!
Is she going to marry Vincent?
No. Vincent is still too "leger."
Question five: What did François Ozon need to learn, that he needed two female writers?
I just felt that it needed to have a woman's femininity in it somewhere. I didn't know what at all, or what it would reveal, but when Emmanuel Bernheim came in, something else started to happen, I don't know what it was, but something else happened. I think that collaboration in writing is very important, with male or female writers, but if the subject is uniquely about a woman, I think there's something out of balance if there's not a woman that comes in and collaborates with the writing.
Question six: How important is it for you for a film to be a commercial success?
I'm over the moon, actually, because there are 500,000 people in Paris that have seen Under The Sand. Quite often the films I make are difficult, a certain amount of people have seen them and they've been critically appreciated and respected, but to have a commercial success with a film like this - which is not an easy film, it's a very personal film, people's own story will be revealed a little bit through this film - it's something that makes me feel as if I've been recognised somewhere.
Question seven: You play women with secrets very often. Do you find secrets, and characters with secrets, attractive?
I think what we do best, in the artistic world, are the things where we're handicapped. I'm not very good at talking and being with people, and being gregarious and outgoing. I love people, but I have great difficulty doing it. I think the reason I have secrets is because there are a lot of things I haven't been able to let out and I'm able to let them out through the screen and this medium.
I'm able to let them out in a way that if I'd been able to let them out before in a more easy, normal way it wouldn't be so effective. I think that all us people who perform and are called artists are usually very crippled people, and we use this to uncripple ourselves for a little bit of time. When people want to see your film you're over the moon because you've actually made real contact. That's something very special.
Question eight: Who is the best director that you've worked with?
It's like comparing children. You can't do that. These directors are so much part of me - they've made me and helped me along the way. Some better than others?but they've all been incredibly kind to me. Maybe they all realised that they wouldn't get anything out of me if they were unkind! I'm not answering your question in the way that you want me to because I find it difficult to be specific in that way.
It's a kind of idealistic love that I have with all these directors. They're figureheads for me. They've been part of such an essential part of my life, just for a short amount of time, but they're mythological gods up there for me. That's the way I like to feel about them, because that's the way I like to feel about my work.
Question nine: Were you nervous about performing for these great directors?
No, because they're all part of my family. I don't think better or worse. The comparison thing for me has never worked in anything. I don't compare things.
Question ten: Why is the film called Under The Sand?
What confuses you?
Question eleven: I don't understand what is under the sand.
Well, he could be, couldn't he? The title was actually going to be the title of a short film Ozon made which was then called Regarde La Mer, but they changed titles. In France they asked about the title too. And it really annoyed François! I'll tell him - there's another one!
Question twelve: What was Robert Mitchum like in Farewell My Lovely?
He was fantastic, yeah. He's the last of the great Hollywood myths. And he really lives up to it.
Question thirteen: What do you think about the look you created in Night Porter becoming so fashionable?
I haven't got my braces on today?What do I think about it? I think it's good. No, I do - when things go into fashion it means they're important, doesn't it Christopher?
I'm just imagining you at home trying on the costume?
I do wear braces every now and then. Madonna wanted Dirk Bogarde to be in her video?
Are you going to tell us what he said?
I think that's one of the great lost lines of dialogue. Charlotte Rampling, thank you very much indeed.