Isabelle Huppert: My guiltiest pleasure? Imagining myself as a sadistic, manipulative murderer

The actor on her dread of elevators, her childhood dreaming undertaking and why shed be willing to play golf with Donald Trump

Born in Paris, Isabelle Huppert, 65, made her name internationally in the 1977 movie The Lacemaker, for which she was named Bafta’s most promising newcomer. Dozens of international commendations followed, including 2 best actress awardings at Cannes( for Violette Noziere in 1978 and The Piano Teacher in 2001 ). For her role in the 2016 movie Elle, she was Oscar-nominated and won her second Cesar. On 9 June, she reads Marquis de Sade at the Southbank Centre, London. She is married to the film-maker Ronald Chammah, and has three children.

When were you happiest?
Fortunately, I’ve often been happy, which you wouldn’t inevitably guess from the roles I play. I’ve always been very happy to have my children with me, particularly on location. My daughter was in in London when I played Mary Stuart at the National Theatre.

What is your greatest anxiety?
To be locked in an elevator.

What is your earliest memory ?
My mother announce,” Today we are going to the swimming pool .” The pool was on a small island in the River Seine and you had to take a ferry. She was so happy: it’s one of the fondest memories I have of her.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
To have to die.

What would your super power be?
Being able to reverse Brexit. And to reconcile Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un, even if I had to play golf with them.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

What is your favourite odor?
Fracas perfume by Robert Piguet .

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose ? The lost plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I dreamed of being an artistic skater. And a nursery nurse.

What is top of your pail listing?
To detect all the big cities I have yet to visit: from Montevideo to Madras, from Tbilisi to Santiago de Chile. I also want to visit Bath.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Imagining myself as a sadistic and manipulative assassin, like something out of a volume by Agatha Christie.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
He knows, they know.

What was the best kiss of their own lives?
You dare ask this question of someone you gratify for the first time?

Have you ever said’ I love you’ and not entail it?
Yes, in the movies.

What keeps you awake at night?
A good film, a good book, a good script, a long phone call.

Who would you invite to your dreaming dinner party?
Plato and all the gang from the banquet[ in his Symposium]- Socrates, Phaedrus, Aristophanes. And then Flaubert, Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and the Danish film director Carl Dreyer.

What is the closest you’ve come to demise?
At each of my theatre premieres.

Where would you most like to be right now?
” The earthly paradise is where I am”( Voltaire ).

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