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The epic French drama Blue is the Warmest Color is hitting select theaters in the U.S. this weekend, following a triumphant Cannes Film Festival screening and other appearances on the film festival circuit. It has earned plenty of publicity, thanks to its graphic sex scene and NC-17 rating. But there’s another controversy that’s been brewing in the press between star Léa Seydoux and director Abdellatif Kechiche.
Kechiche wrote an open letter to Rue89, in which he criticized critics and his star, who had previously talked about how hard it was to make the movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kechiche called Seydoux an “arrogant, spoiled child.”
He notes that Seydoux has repeatedly thanked him for casting her in the film, but she has completely changed her attitude suddenly.
“Thus after having been celebrated and glorified thanks to the Palme d’Or won by Blue Is the Warmest Color, she started to drag me through the mud with lies and exaggerations,” Kechiche wrote. He speculated that the entire controversy has come up just to keep her in the media.
He continues, calling her words “perverse fraud and manipulation” and threatens legal action if she continues. “I will come back. It is for her to explain in court,” he wrote.
As The Wrap notes, Kechiche’s comments come months after Seydoux and co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos spoke with The Daily Beast. Their comments on how hard it was to make the sex scene in the three-hour film attracted the film even more controversy. It reportedly took 10 days to complete.
“Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act,” Exarchopoulos said.
“He was using three cameras, and when you have to fake your orgasm for six hours ... I can't say that it was nothing,” she said. “But for me it is more difficult to show my feelings than my body.”
Exarchopoulos also shot down rumors that the sex scenes weren’t simulated in a GQ interview.
Sundance Selects is releasing the film in the U.S. on Friday in select theaters. It is being released with an NC-17 rating and uncut.
image: festival-cannes.fr/WILD BUNCH/QUAT’SOUS FILMS