Director Robert Zemeckis hopes glamour will draw ‘Allied’ audienceLOS ANGELES - In a world of franchises, reboots and comic-book films, the original espionage thriller “Allied” is a comparatively bold gamble for a studio. Glamorous, serious, and classically made (with a healthy dose of CGI), “Allied,” from director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Steven Knight, looks to harken back to a bygone Hollywood of David Lean epics and sweeping romances between larger-than-life movie stars.
In “Allied,” the would-be Bogart and Bergman are Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, who slip into sumptuous period costumes and settings to tell the story of a pair of WWII-era spies, in Casablanca and then in England, who fall in love amid the turmoil of war. Their happy existence is put into doubt, however, when Max’s (Pitt) superiors inform him that they suspect Marianne (Cotillard), now his wife and the mother of his child, is a double agent.
“It’s rare that we can still do movies like this one - very deep love stories with original subjects and surprising stories,” Cotillard said. “It is this very entertaining movie with very strong and powerful feelings and real questions about love and war.”
Zemeckis was pleased that his leads looked natural and of the time in the clothes.
“Sometimes you put period costumes on contemporary actors and they look like they are dressed up,” Zemeckis said. “But they were able to carry those costumes in a way that looks absolutely right.
The costumes, by Zemeckis favorite Joanna Johnston, proved essential for the characters too. Cotillard calls her wares “another layer of the skin.” She was also delighted to be sporting garments similar to her childhood idols like Ingrid Bergman and Katharine Hepburn.
“I would watch actresses in glamorous movies and it was part of my dream to be an actress,” she said.
On set, Cotillard also became a de facto teacher for Pitt, who had to master a French-Canadian accent for his role.
“It was a lot of stress for him, a lot of stress,” she said. “He was working every day. I helped him by being very honest. That’s the only way you can be pushed to your best.”
Pitt, who is going through a divorce from Angelina Jolie Pitt, was not made available for interviews in Los Angeles. The intrigue of one of the most high profile celebrity divorces in recent years also became unexpectedly linked to the film when rumors circulated that he’d had an affair with Cotillard.
It wasn’t helped when Paramount dropped the first trailer for the film just a few hours after news broke of the Pitt/Jolie divorce, seemingly suggesting a “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” in WWII angle. Zemeckis insists this was a coincidence and not a salacious way to drum up excitement, although he laughs that he knows no one believes that.
However the speculation spun so out of control that Cotillard, pregnant with her second child with longtime partner Guillaume Canet, resorted to issuing a statement to the press denying the rumors.
Cotillard shrugged off a question about what that experience was like for her to go through.
“I had nothing to deal with, seriously,” she said. “I said everything I had to say about it. I’m not the one who is in the very complicated situation.”
When asked about doing some promotion of the film without Pitt, Cotillard’s publicist jumped in that they had nothing more to add on the subject.
“We love the movie. We are very proud of it and we’re very proud to share it today with the audience and the media,” Cotillard said after the interruption. AP