The French film “Rust and Bone” has been picking up awards buzz ever since it first appeared earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival and just recently received the top prize at the London Film Festival as well.
It is perhaps no surprise that the film features a riveting performance by Marion Cotillard, who previously won an Oscar for her French-language performance in “La Vie en Rose,” so for many American audiences the real discovery of the film will be Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts.
With his performance in “Rust and Bone,” Schoenaerts — who was seen earlier this year in “Bullhead,” which was an Oscar nominee for foreign-language film — may now be positioned for an international breakout along the same lines as Michael Fassbender.
Directed by Jacques Audiard, whose previous film, “A Prophet,” was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar, “Rust and Bone” is an unlikely romance between two characters, neither of whom think they are looking for love. Cotillard plays a woman trying to get over a crippling accident, while Schoenaerts plays a single father who can’t yet understand how his actions have consequences, making extra money in back-alley fights.
In this clip from The Envelope Screening Series, Schoenaerts talks about how the film is something of a low-key special-effects film, with extensive but subtle work done throughout to make it appear that Cotillard has first lost her legs and then walks using prosthetics. As well, Schoenaerts talks of how he altered his own appearance for the film, just as he did in “Bullhead,” putting on weight for a startling physical transformation.