Emma Watson for Prada: the actress talks about her different personalities, parity in the cinema and her first role as a director

6. What place does perfume have in your daily life, and for your well-being?

For me, perfume is the imprint of a person, of a soul. It is a very sensory, emotional gesture, which stimulates memory. It’s not just a question of beauty. To tell the truth, perfume touches the intimate and the personal. It is about the relationship a woman has with herself. During lockdown, I thought a lot about the difference between sexuality and sensuality, and how sexuality is very often about presenting or pushing one’s energy outwards, whereas sensuality is a moment for oneself. It’s about directing your energy inward. So, for me, perfume is about a woman and her sensuality, not about her sexuality.

7. How did you come up with the concept for this film?

I wanted to make a cinematographic work and not a clip or an advertisement which would only be a series of images. I made it clear that if I did this project, I wanted to tell a story and represent a real character who is living an important moment. Most people don’t know that I became an actress because I won a poetry contest when I was eight years old. I really like words. It’s my way of expressing myself. This is how I understand the world. So during the COVID lockdown, I started writing poems. When I received the proposal for Prada Paradoxe, the weekend before the shooting, I sat down to meditate and I couldn’t stay still because inspiration came from all sides. I was with a friend who said to me, “You’re not supposed to work this morning! And I couldn’t stop writing. I sent the text to two of my closest friends and asked them, “Does this appeal to you? Am I putting my finger on something? » And they answered me : « Yes, that appeals to me ». I said to myself: “Okay, maybe I am pointing to something”. So, I kept writing and those are the words I ended up using for Prada Paradoxe.

© Mackenzie

© Mackenzie

8. This is your first time as a director. This is a considerably delicate task in itself. Having to be both in front of and behind the lens must have been a challenge. How did you prepare for it?

I was ready to say: “I have a way of seeing things, I have stories to tell. I have a camera or a way of seeing the world and I want to share that perspective. I want to be a pair of glasses people can put on that make them see something different.
Somehow I found it easy and obvious because in my head I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve. It wasn’t like someone else had to speak for me and I had to try to pick up on their way of thinking and go along with it. The story was already inside me, which made the performance easier and smoother.
I think the hardest part is trying to be in front of the camera and watching the replay at the same time. This is obviously physically impossible. And that’s where technology came in. As everything is shot digital these days, having a portable monitor allowed me, if I was in the water, to watch the recording very quickly after filming and be on my way again. Likewise, I could have an earpiece when we were doing more complicated technical edits, like this amazing drone shot, and a crew member would say in my ear, “Okay, the drone is coming to your right , it’s time to breathe” or “Close your eyes now”. Again, without the technology, we could not have achieved this level of precision.

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