Things have not been good with Blue is the Warmest Color since winning the Palme d’Or over the summer. Scandals about the treatment of the two lead actresses have overtaken much of the good word that was spreading around and now, with the U.S. release of the film just a day away, director Abdellatif Kechiche, has re-ignited a feud that was considered stagnant.
In a move that surprised many today, the director took out an op-ed in French publication Rue89 to accuse star Léa Seydoux of slandering him to highlight her burgeoning career.
Several months ago, Ms. Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos sat down with journalists detailing the grueling shoots, Kechiche’s notoriously slow editing process, complaints by other crew members that Kechiche subjected them to miserable working conditions, but what the director took most personally were comments Seydoux made to the press about his on-set behaviour and methods being described as dictator-like. “If my film had not been rewarded at Cannes,” Kechiche writes, “I would be a destroyed director today – a dead man, as they say.”
Kechiche responded to those comments immediately after everything had transpired, but the festering wound apparently left him with more dirty laundry to air publicly. Kechiche accuses the star of his film of manufacturing a conflict to boost her profile “as a ‘rebellious’ and mysterious star, an image she intends to continue building thanks to all the newspaper and magazine covers and her provocative declarations in endless calculated interviews,” Kechiche writes.
“Since the young Léa is opportunistic and is the (self-)proclaimed star of the moment, and surely thinks she belongs to some untouchable caste,” Kechiche writes, “she doesn’t feel obligated to explain herself. Because she is the star. Not the film. Not even Adèle.”
Seydoux has been working with the creme de la creme of Hollywood (Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino and Ridley Scott), so the concept of her creating a feud with a director to boost her career seems, at the very least, questionable. When asked if he cared about potentially being labeled paranoid, Kechiche responded “Very well! That’s better than tyrant or despot, which is what I’ve been called recently. At least paranoia is a recognized illness.”
Why Kechiche chose to start this all up again is puzzling to say in the least. Sure the saying goes that all publicity is good publicity, but for an audience that doesn’t need a reason to ignore the film, it could prove costly. Blue is the Warmest Color received a great deal of critical praise on the festival circuit, but any Academy Award prospects that the film had may die with its directors words.