French actress Noémie Merlant may shine in 2022 French historical drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire — most recently on Sight and Sound’s 87 history Greatest movie ever – but she caused a stir with this year’s Tár performance in which she played Cate Blanchett famous conductor Lydia Tár. In fact, Tár is Merante’s first American work and first English-language film.
Director Todd Field had seen Merante’s previous films and sent her the script, the actress told THR. Melante is immediately attracted to Francesca because of her delicate personality. “I needed to read it several times because it was so complicated, even for [English speakers]. There were so many details that I had to read it several times to really understand everything,” said the actress . “I love it. It’s so powerful, so intense, because it [forces you to ask] yourself a lot about the questions we’re all grappling with. It doesn’t give you moral answers, but it gives you insight into the dynamics of power I feel so deeply about the creative process.”
Merlant added: “I actually fell in love with my character. For me, no matter how much I say or show , she was always in the shadows, and she represented a woman who wanted to live off her passion. But right now, she’s just serving coffee, she’s just watching and waiting—maybe for nothing.”
Although she says she doesn’t have to do much to prepare her for the role, since Francesca never actually touches an instrument in the film, casting Francesca as someone trying to stay in her lane, But also wanting to build her career as a conductor required preparation from Blanchett herself, whom Melante described as very helpful in the process.
“She’s amazing,” Merlant said. “We did some rehearsals before filming. She really [worked for me]. She had a lot going on: there was [a language she had to learn], orchestra things, instruments. I don’t know how she did it Yes. But she had time to rehearse our scene, talk about it, talk about our characters, find ways to touch each other, because [our characters] have known each other for a long time in the movie, we need to find a way to show complicity stuff like that, while keeping a certain distance because she really doesn’t want me anymore. At the same time, respect.”