Delphine Chaneac, who plays the grown-up creature Dren in Guillermo del Toro‘s “Splice,” starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, directed by screenwriter Vicenzo Natali, is the moral heart of the sci-film film about the gene splice creation of new forms of life.
The French actress — who looks like a younger, less harried French version of Angelina Jolie — has only appeared in one English-speaking film, “The Pink Panther,” which explains why US movie audiences aren’t familiar with her face. Yet.
This demanding “Splice” role required her to convincingly portray a creature — made in a lab by an ambitious geneticist couple — that is part lizard, part bird, a dash of what-the-heck-is-that and a big dollop of human DNA.
]]>Did she watch animals to get Dren’s movements down?
“I didn’t focus on animals because I
told myself that I’m gonna be locked on one part. I would prefer to be
more open. It was more about my experience, the feelings, the cold, the loneliness,
the sadness. I try to find my childhood, my innocent part, my truth. I
thtnk Dren is more human that we thought. I never thought she was a
Of the physical demands of the role: “It
was hard because I’m not a stunt girl, I’m an actress,” she admits. “I prepare myself but
sometimes, your body, when you’re not used to that, it’s tired, your
mind wants to continue but your body wants a break, just wants to stop.
I think I’m a tough girl. And sometimes the stunt guy told me, ‘You have
got to stop, it’s OK, it’s more than enough.’ And I was ‘I’m not done,
I want to continue.'”
While she thought of Dren like an angel, she found the human side: “We
worked a lot with the relationships, between parent and child, the
relationship between the man and woman, and sometimes the relathionship
with a pet. Sometimes they would treat her like a pet but she can feel
everything, she has human DNA…. She is very direct and she is
more…. instinctive all the time. It’s a human part, also an animal
part and I think we forget sometimes this animal part in us. We have to
say, ‘Where are you? Come back.'”
Losing Dren’s physicality after she stopped filming: “Some of that stuck on
me. That was Dren, not me. I forget more and more but one month after
Dren, I was totally physically imprinted by her. Or if she is imprinted
by me. We are like a mix. That was strange,” Chaneac says, showing how she
continued to move her five fingers like the three-fingered Dren.
So you are back to being you? “Yes, thank you! And I’m there,” Chaneac says with a grin.
Check out Chaneac as Dren in “Splice,” which opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, June 4.
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