Oh, so you don’t like Diane Kruger?
Spoiler alert: She doesn’t care. After a long career of trying to get her point across by being super-sweet, German-born actress Kruger is done wasting time.
“When you’re asking for something, you definitely – all my life, not just in the movie industry – as a woman [think], ‘How do I get around to getting what I want?’ You don’t want to be seen as a bitch,” she said at a talk for Women in Motion in Cannes.
But with age, the Inglorious Basterds actress says she has adopted a new attitude when it comes to communicating her needs.
“I don’t give an (expletive),” she says. “I think you have to create that space and respect that you think you deserve. I work hard, I’m on time, I know my lines, I’m 100% invested in everything I do, so please treat me the same as you do my male costars.”
This doesn’t mean Kruger aims to be harsh.
“I think I’m a pleasant person, but sometimes when you have to ask for something that is maybe unpleasant for someone else, you have to find a way to bring your point across,” she points out. “I want to be a good colleague and I want to be someone that is pleasant to be around, but as time goes on, and you pay your dues, I’m not going to let you walk all over me.”
Kruger revealed that in the United States, at least, she has never been paid the same as her male co-stars, and while she has often conceded based on financial needs or a desire to play a certain role, she is grateful for those who stand up to the gender disparities.
“I’m really grateful that big, big movie stars like Jessica Chastain say, ‘No, if I’m not getting paid I’m not going to make this movie. It’s not the end of my career if I don’t make this.’ That is great. Or Jennifer Lawrence. Those are the voices of the younger generation.“
When asked what advice she would give young girls, Kruger says that she doesn’t think they need her advice at all. “I actually think that girls, and especially very young girls, are very empowered these days. Girls are being raised with the understanding that they can do anything. My part in that is to create projects and live by example.”
This means portraying multidimensional women, like the character she plays in her new film In the Fade which is competing for a Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film about a woman who loses her husband and son in a bomb attack has become even more relevant after the events in Manchester this week.
“My heart is beating really fast,” she says when asked how she feels in light of recent news. “I feel terribly concerned, as we all do, about the horrors that we face every day. I think it’s a very relevant film.”
Putting herself in the shoes of someone who has experienced that loss was not easy for Kruger. “Living that grief for so long, it’s definitely the most challenging movie I’ve ever done,” she says.
As she celebrates 25 years in show business, what the model-turned-actress is most proud of is still being around. “It’s a very, very tough business. Especially for actors and actresses there’s always the new kid on the block. In Hollywood it’s all about ‘who’s next?’ So, I’m most proud of the longevity and the diversity of my career.”
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