Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Of Lou Doillon and Hotel Costes

Lou Doillon as 'Olivia' & Michael Greco as 'Steve Lynch'

Firstly I must apologise to Lou, one of the most interesting and intelligent women in the world because this post is only partly about her. Its mostly about our casting meeting at Hotel Costes in Paris.

Hotel Costes is possibly the most pretentious place on earth. In this case, that's a good thing, and I'm certain they wouldn't be unhappy with the title. It is really just a gorgeous courtyard, surrounded by a small number of small rooms, metres from the Place Vendome in Paris, where you can only book by fax. Yep, fax. And then they decide if you can stay there. 

Should they allow your barely tolerable presence in the confines of their establishment they then treat you as if you were a small annoying thread hanging from the sleeve of their couture Chanel. They are arrogant to a point far beyond rudeness, and completely, utterly, totally unhelpful. The service, by a collection of nervy catwalk models, is entertaining but terrible. 

The rooms start at EUR550 a night. 

And its fantastic. It is one of the true treasures of France. It is everything that you would satirise about the French character made real. You are appalled, but also strangely captivated by it. You feel simultaneously oppressed and very smug, because hey, they might be treating you like shit, but at least they let you in! They all look beautiful, and rich, and happy, so I must be too! If only I could get another coffee. I've been waiting an hour. 

So it was here, on one of those mornings in Paris where you actually think you could move there, that we had breakfast with Lou - myself, Jeremy and Thea McLeod, our true gem of a casting person. Her sister, who works in the French film industry, had arranged it all. We came down early so the courtyard was empty, and we sat across two big tables and ordered coffee. Lou arrived on time, looking incredible in a purple dress and big hat, have walked over straight out of bed. For the next 3 hours we talked about her, us, French politics, acting, music, and film. It was a joy.

About 90 minutes in, I noticed that the courtyard was now full, but no movement by the Costes Models to move us along, or even restrict us to one table. Nothing after 2 hours, or even 3. By being with Lou we had trumped the cool of Costes. We had become untouchable. That we were rendered so by the least pretentious person in the room made it somehow even better. 

Lou finally left, and with it our force field of hip. We were back to being foreign scum, and not even famous foreign scum. When I checked out I felt like I was being thrown out. 

And yes, I've already booked (or should I say applied) to stay there again. 

- MT


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