Hubert Burda Media

Spanish Eyes

As she models Chanel’s new Café Society collection in Paris, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey talks about Hollywood and her bursting jewellery box

With her doe eyes, screen-siren curls and Cupid’s bow lips, it’s no surprise that Franco-Spanish actress Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey is the latest starlet to sashay her way into film directors’ hearts. After she rose to fame with roles in French films The Sea Wall and La Première Étoile, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling. And it quickly did, in the form of American director Rob Marshall, who cast Bergès-Frisbey as the mermaid Syrena in the fourth instalment of the billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Since that blockbuster role, Bergès-Frisbey’s star has continued to rise. She will soon start filming Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur alongside Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba, which is being directed by Guy Ritchie and is slated for release in 2016. But until then, Bergès-Frisbey has plenty to keep her busy – not least her role as brand ambassador for Chanel. She was a natural addition to Karl Lagerfeld’s gang of globetrotting Chanel girls, especially because her mother was a saleswoman for the brand when Bergès-Frisbey was growing up. In fact, as she dresses up in Chanel’s new Café Society high-jewellery collection for this shoot, it almost feels like it was always meant to be.
In France, you gained attention in Daniel Auteuil’s The Well-Digger’s Daughter, but you quickly set your sights on Hollywood with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Did you dream of having an international career?
No, this was not calculated! I did seven films in a row and none were shot in the same country or in the same language. I’ve just played my first Italian role, a language I don’t speak even if I do know a few others [French, Catalan and Spanish]. I learned English for Pirates of the Caribbean. I love playing roles in different languages, it has an animal side, and it’s more instinctive than in French, very cerebral and attached to the exactness of the script.
What’s your next film?
I’m playing Queen Guinevere in Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur to be directed by Guy Ritchie. It will be shot in the UK from February to May 2015; a part will be filmed in the impressive Warner Studios in London. I will play in English once again. I’ve continued learning and enriching it ever since Pirates of the Caribbean.
What was your relationship with fashion while growing up?
I mostly grew up in the countryside of the Royan region, where I wasn’t very interested in fashion. I had two pairs of dungarees, one black and the other blue denim, which I alternated and changed with T-shirts! But my mother’s elegance did teach me the basics. What I love above all is the beauty of this art. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the craftsmanship dimension.
What about memories of jewellery – did you grow up with a favourite piece?
My aunts and my mother wore pearl necklaces at home and that always fascinated me. My favourite piece is a cabled midi-ring, very thin and in silver that’s broken. I’ve had it since I was 12; it holds great sentimental value. I only take it off for films and when swimming in the sea. I must get it repaired!
What’s the most spectacular jewellery you’ve ever worn?
Those I’ve worn for this photo shoot! I’ve worn some very extraordinary pieces! I’m particularly impressed by all the work in this high jewellery collection. Like this sautoir with rock crystal, where each piece is enclosed in a little openwork case as if protected by a delicate white gold and diamond mesh, like an armature…So delicate.
Do you have a jewellery box?
It’s bursting! I‘ve developed a sort of ritual with my jewel box which has grown over the years. I put all my jewellery away in there before leaving for a shooting, and when I return, I’ve only one urge, and that’s to put them all on again. I’ve been asked to keep some pieces on for a role but I always refuse. Most have more sentimental than monetary value, like this silver bracelet that belonged to my father who wore it all his life and which I wear in his memory.
Finally, what’s your first memory of Chanel?
In some ways it has always been part of the family. My mother was a sales assistant for Chanel in Paris in my childhood and she has just recently started this job again. She really loves the house and the Chanel story. In 2009, I attended the Cesar awards ceremony, as I’d been pre-nominated for The Sea Wall. When asked what I would like to wear, I immediately said Chanel! It made a lot of sense to me. It’s a brand that has meaning and really suits me.