How Lily-Rose Depp is harnessing her fame and going on her way
It’s tough being a teenager much less growing up under the spotlight when you’re the daughter of Hollywood star Johnny Depp and cult French pop star Vanessa Paradis. But Lily-Rose Depp has seemingly mastered the art of being cool in both English and French. She uses her bilingual skills to full advantage in two new films – PLANETARIUM, co-starring Natalie Portman – and LA DANSUESE (The Dancer) – co-starring Gaspard Ulliel and Soko.
The 17-year-old Depp is also a budding fashionista who dazzled crowds at the recent Venice and Toronto film festivals in a variety of designer outfits including a brilliant canary yellow Chanel dress (Venice) and a shimmering violet vintage flapper-style mini-dress (Toronto).
In Planetarium, an English-language production directed by French auteur filmmaker Rebecca Zlotowski (Grand Central), Depp teams up with Portman to play Kate and Laura Barlow, a pair of American sisters working as mediums in 1930s Paris. During the course of the shoot the two actresses became the best of friends and Lily-Rose acknowledges the mentoring affect Portman had on her.
“Natalie is not only an incredibly gifted actress but she’s also very sweet, funny and smart,” Depp says. “She’s an extraordinary woman who made me feel very welcome and was supportive of me the entire time we worked on the film. I couldn’t have asked to work with anyone more generous.”
Q: Lily-Rose, so much of Planetarium relies on the chemistry between you and your character’s sister, played by Natalie Portman. What was she like to work with?
LRD: Natalie is every bit as talented as I imagined she would be from having seen her in so many of her films. She has an incredible ability to immediately immerse herself in the moment and find the emotional core of her character. I learned a lot from watching her and I was so lucky to also get to know her. We became friends from the first moment we met which happened to be at a spa. We didn’t know each other at all and suddenly we were at a spa getting massages side by side together. It was kind of funny and beautiful to meet that way and once we got onto the set we felt like sisters just like the characters we were playing. We didn’t have to pretend to have that connection or feeling of closeness that sisters have.
Q: Do you feel more French or more American?
LRD: I’m a product of both cultures. I feel both American and French and when I was younger I would spend almost half the year living in France so it’s still very much home to me. My mother lives there and I still love the feeling I have whenever I’m in Paris and being part of that world. But there’s also a very American side to me because I went to school there and I’m also a product of American culture.
Q: How much time did you spend training to dance?
LRD: I only had about two months to prepare which really isn’t enough to even begin to reach that kind of level which takes years and years of training and discipline. I worked as hard as I could though with a choreographer and there are a lot of scenes where I’m doing the dancing although for the more complicated scenes I had this amazing dancer who was my double.
Q: As an actress, you’re following in the steps of your very famous father and mother although your mother is more famous as a singer. Did you always want to get into acting?
LRD: At first I wanted to become a singer like my mother but then I discovered I didn’t like to sing in front of other people! (Laughs) I became interested in acting almost by accident because a friend of mine (Harley Quinn Smith) I’ve known since kindergarten is the daughter of Kevin Smith and I got to play a small role in his film Tusk when I was 14. Then I was able to work with Harley in her father’s film Yoga Hosers which was a much bigger role for me. That’s when I decided that acting was what I wanted to do because of how free and happy it made me feel. I discovered how much I enjoyed losing myself in a character. Now I just want to keep working as much as I can. It’s the most liberating job in the world!