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Louise Bourgoin: A Rising Star

The French actress Louise Bourgoin discusses her new Luc Besson film and her premiere at Cannes.

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Louise Bourgoin took a more unconventional path to acting than your average “It” girl. Unlike many an aspiring starlet, the Brittany native intended to become a teacher of the plastic arts. But when she failed the final exam at her school in Rennes, France, she turned to TV, became a cable channel animator and soon a highly popular and flashy weather forecaster for France’s Canal Plus station.

It was apparently the best dramatic research she could have done: In 2008, Bourgoin broke onto the silver screen in Anne Fontaine’s movie comedy “The Girl From Monaco” as a smouldering weather girl.

And the actress is certainly having a banner 2010. Not only has Bourgoin starred as a corseted heroine in Luc Besson’s “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec,” adapted from Jacques Tardi’s Seventies comic books, but on Sunday she will be in Cannes for the premiere of Gilles Marchand’s new movie, “Black Heaven.” In the partially animated techno thriller, scheduled for release in France July 14, she plays Sam, a peroxide blonde who lures a young man into committing suicide. In Bourgoin’s words, it — thankfully — proved something of a stretch.

“[She’s] a completely different character from my previous film,” says the 28-year-old, sipping freshly squeezed orange juice in a Parisian cafe. “It’s perfect.”

Wrapped in a cream-colored Bash coat and leopard-spotted Louis Vuitton scarf, the full-lipped, brown-eyed actress looks more like an art student than the rising star of a Besson blockbuster. And clearly some of her Rennes school training remains: Bourgoin gets more animated talking about the Marina Abramovic exhibit she recently saw on her first trip to New York than her upcoming visit to Cannes.

But Bourgoin has little time for the visual arts these days. While she still enjoys drawing and painting, her recent fame has kept her busy with fashion shoots and magazine covers. Yet c’est la vie and it’s not entirely unwelcome.

“I find it as relaxing as a massage,” confides Bourgoin of such occupational demands.

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