Laetitia Casta has no constraints, no rigorous limitations—a rarity in her business. Despite all the attention focused on her extraor- dinary beauty, she remains above all interested in the world and the people around her. “In photography and film, it’s not just a game,” she says. “You have to be able to convey something about yourself.” The inner world that she conveys conjures up images of sunny green landscapes—not that she aspires to a cloudless, fairytale existence, but her spontaneous, adventurous nature allows her to assimilate transformations. “I have to put a lot of myself into my work. Otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen a job in the public eye,” she confides. “I could have been type-cast in any number of roles, but it never ‘took.’ So I have taken on my own form, becoming the person I wanted to be.”
Although she is well accustomed to being an object of attention, when Laetitia talks about herself it’s always in relation to concrete reality. This year she began a collaboration with UNICEF France for the defense of the rights of children affected by armed conflict. “I don’t pretend to be able to move mountains, but I want to help change things,” she explains. “These children need healthcare, but they also need to just be children, to play, to go to school. They’ve been torn away from their lives.”
“I had a very simple upbringing,” she continues. “My parents never imposed any preconceptions on me, giving me a lot of space to find myself. I was lucky.” Today, helping young people find their own future is one of her challenges. A few months ago she wrote, directed and produced a documentary about children of immigrant parents in France. Instead of recounting their difficulties, she had them talk about their future, revealing an optimism reflected in the film’s title, “Magic Adulte,” a phrase used by one of the kids. “It’s exasperating to see how the adult world pressures children. We have to let them find their own inner force. I always tell children to define themselves in terms of themselves and not in terms of others.”
Her own future took shape in 1993, when Laetitia was “discovered,” at age 15, by a casting director while on a family vacation in Corsica. Five years later, a project with Peter Lindbergh, the first of many sessions with top photographers (including Stéphane Sedanoui, the father of her first child), sealed her fame as a model. In the early 2000s, the film world invited her to “show her voice” (as she puts it), a new chapter in her career that has defied the stereotypes of the actress chosen solely for her looks. In the course of some three dozen movies and plays, she has worked with a veritable who’s who of major and indie directors. One of whom, Raoul Ruiz, told her during the filming of Savage Souls (2001), “You walk like a peasant!” “And he was right,” she says today. “He understood that I wasn’t just a catwalk girl.”
For Nina Ricci, Laetitia is neither model nor actress, nor even a muse, but “Ecstasy” itself, in the images for the fragrance L’Extase. The sole character in the ad film, she embodies an elusive vision of desire, an aura of fantasy, a subconscious impulse of seduction. Contrasting what is shown with what is left unseen (the elevator doors opening and closing…), it becomes an allegory for the mystery that she emanates, oscillating between demure reserve and pure sensory freedom.
Through a constant quest for self-knowledge and definition, Laetitia Casta continues to give of herself in the multiple roles that she plays in her own life: muse, model, actress, woman, mother, wife (of director Louis Garrel)…
Recently, in an interview with French Marie Claire Laetitia shared frank details of her personal life and spoke about the work in the cinema.
When I'm shooting in the studio, I always have a fear. I never know if I can meet the expectations of the photographer. But the work of the actress is much easier, because the script is written.
During a conversation with a journalist Casta was not ashamed to share personal life details and to talk about her relationship with 32-year-old actor Louis Garrel:
“I have not to fake climax with him”, - admitted a 38-year-old actress and model.
In fact, her many incarnations are the theme of En Moi, her first short film, shown at the 2016 Cannes festival. “It talks about the pangs of creativity: where inspiration comes from, how a screenplay comes into being…” More recently, she has returned to the stage in an adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman film Scenes from a Marriage, an emotionally charged confrontation between a woman and her husband (played by Raphaël Personnaz). Depicting the emancipation of her character with passion, Laetitia gives it her all. As she always does.