Diane Kruger’s Hollywood breakthrough was playing Helen of Troy in “Troy” — the poster child for the character defined solely by looks. Since then, the German-born actress has proven she’s capable of playing more than just a face, showing her mettle in “Inglourious Basterds,” “Farewell, My Queen” and FX’s “The Bridge.”
In “Disorder,” a French-Belgian thriller made by Alice Winocour (“Augustine,” and a co-writer on last year’s “Mustang”), she’s back to playing a woman defined by her looks — a trophy wife to a wealthy businessman who might be caught up in some dodgy arms dealing. But this time it’s different: Jessie, her character, proves smart and even resourceful when she and her son become targets for aggression, especially when it becomes clear the troubled former solider (Matthias Schoenaerts) hired to protect them might be too damaged to do his job.
It’s clear Jessie is more than a trophy wife, even though she’s basically treated like an object.
I feel like she let herself be treated that way. I like that in the beginning you see her only from a distance, as this beautiful object or an object in this man’s house. She lives in a golden cage. She probably never asked questions about how they have all this. Obviously she made the choice of marrying a much older man.
That it’s directed by a woman — and especially because it’s directed by Alice Winocour — it makes you read a lot into the character, to not judge her as just a rich man’s wife.
If this movie had been directed by a man, I don’t know how I comfortable I would have been playing this kept trophy wife. She could easily be just a pretty face. I think the character has so many dimensions. I enjoy the arc of the character. When [Jessie’s] only looked from affair, there’s something the way [Winocour] films it that brings out an emotion.
You’ve said female directors are really tough to work with. Where does Winocour rank there?
Oh, she’s a tough director. She needs to see what she doesn’t like before she can find what she does like. There’s a lot of takes. She’s very precise. Some may want to call it anal. She can do 25 shots of a door opening.
Do you like that many takes?
I do. It’s challenging. There’s no scene in the film, even if it’s opening a window, where it doesn’t feel thought-through and has a meaning. She’s not someone who will say, “Let’s do this quickly and move onto something else.” But I like it. It demands your attention; it demands your creativity. You have ideas as an actor that a scene should be like this, but she says, “No, that’s not it at all.” Then you have to come up with something else.