Numéro: You were once fat, I’m told.
Kristin-Scott Thomas ...and so? What’s that got to do with anything? Let’s just say that I was a round person. I was an overly skinny child until I left home and then, to my great dismay, I just ballooned.
Living above a London fish and chip shop can’t have helped.
That didn’t mean I ate them. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris, enrolled in drama school, met my husband and became a little happier that I shed the pounds to become what you might call a normal person.
What on earth were ‘Deeny Boppers’?
Deeny Boppers were my first and last foray into the world of commerce. In 1982 my boyfriend and I imported a large number of horrible plastic headbands complete with glittery balls mounted on springs. We sold them on the beach at Palavas-les-Flots and other such ritzy French resorts. I should think of digging them out for my daughter’s eighteenth birthday. On second thought, perhaps not: last time I pulled out a video of Under the Cherry Moon for her friends, she was so mortified that she leapt up and switched the set off. I should have known better: when I took my mother to the movie’s premiere in 1986, she sat through it with tears in her eyes until the credits started rolling, when she gasped: “Darling, I’m sure you’ll do better next time!”
How did you land such a plum part in Prince’s vanity movie?
I was performing in a Marguerite Duras play in a field in Burgundy, for a theatre festival. A journalist from Le Matin de Paris somehow wound up there and gave the performance a rave review. On returning to Paris, a casting director called and asked me whether I’d fancy auditioning for the film with Prince, which was being shot at Studio de la Victorine in Nice. I went along, and they looked me up and down rather oddly before asking me whether I’d like to audition for the lead.
‘They’ being the Little Purple Man?
‘They’ being The Purple Person and his cronies.
Were you required to perform tantric sex with him on the casting couch?
I didn’t even have to, which suited me just fine.
Why does your character in Mission Impossible get nuked after barely five minutes of screen-time?
I enjoy making brief apparitions in movies. You get all the fun of shooting, with none of the responsibility. If you’re clever – and I think I always have been – you can craft quite a complex character in just four or five scenes. Take Fiona in Four Weddings and a Funeral, for instance. Such intricacies were somewhat lost on the Mission Impossible set, however, where it wasn’t so much about acting as it was about stuff blowing up.
Isn’t your pay-cheque the first thing that goes up in smoke when your screen time is so short?
The films for which I made the most money entailed six months of shooting. When you work it down, you actually get paid better for shooting just three weeks.
If you’re playing a supporting role, you often get paid up-front for the number of days you’re shooting. If you’re playing the lead, you get paid for the film. They also have what they call the ‘back end’, which sounds rather unpleasant but in fact means that when the film rakes in 180 million dollars, you’re entitled to 0.00025 per cent of the gross. I’ve never managed to make any money on box-office gross: the studios always find ways of wriggling out if it.
...which begs the question: just how rich are you, Kristin Scott Thomas?
Unfortunately, I don’t know where it all went.