Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
New York Times, Arts & Leisure
October 26, 2012
Clémence Poésy’s Broadway Debut in ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’
By STEVEN McELROY
CLÉMENCE POÉSY didn’t exactly sit when she approached a chair for a recent interview; she sort of perched atop it. For the next 45 minutes, while discussing many things, including her Broadway debut as Roxane in “Cyrano de Bergerac,” now running at the American Airlines Theater, this French actress and model never quite settled in that seat.
An internal soundtrack seemed to keep her in constant, easy motion. Leaning in or gesturing fluidly to make her point, Ms. Poésy evoked a passionate, restless spirit.
It is hardly surprising that she never seems still. At 30, Ms. Poésy, in addition to acting in French-language films, has been seen as Fleur Delacour in several Harry Potter movies, appeared in “127 Hours,” on television as Eva in “Gossip Girl” and on the cover of magazines. She has sung backup on an album and in her spare time is working on several screenplays and a children’s book for which she is doing the drawings herself.
She grew up in and around Paris, where her mother is a teacher and her father an actor, director and playwright who provided her first acting job: one line in a production of “The Dragon” by Evgeny Shvarts when she was barely in her teens and had nagged him for years to put her onstage.
Before a recent performance of “Cyrano” Steven McElroy spoke with Ms. Poesy about performing in English, life in New York and her unconventional beauty. These are excerpts from the conversation.
Q. You must be used to the spotlight — cover girl, Triwizard Tournament winner Fleur Delacour and so on. Was it intimidating to make your Broadway debut?
A. It was a lot of things at the same time because I hadn’t done theater since drama school. So I never had done theater properly.
Q. Is there something special about this play that drew you to it?
A. I grew up with it. You know, in France, it’s a kind of a national treasure. Some of the lines in French are, I think, some of the most beautiful things that have been written ever for theater.
There was a film with Depardieu that was the literal play, and it’s a masterpiece. I really sort of grew up watching Anne Brochet in that film play Roxane and thinking, “Wow, I kind of want to do that when I grow up” — be an actress.