Aurelie Meriel was born on June 24 in Vernon, France (an hour from Paris) and made her debut in 1996 as Sarah in the tv-series “Papa Revient Demain”. In 1997 she had a role in the tv-movie ‘Nini’ and in 1999 she starred as Loulou in the Dutch movie ‘The Delivery’. Aurelie made her theater debut in 2000 with a role in the show Le Grain De Sable, in Paris. Aurelie had roles in the tv-movie ‘L’affaire Kergalen’ from 2001 and the movie ‘Le Papillon’ in 2002. In 2004, Aurelie acted in the play La Revue Genevoise, in Switzerland. In 2005 she had a role in the film ‘L'empire des loups’, she also started studying painting that same year. In 2006 Aurelie performed in the play Toutes les Couleurs in France, while she garnered attention in the play Love's Labor Lost in 2007 in France, Italy and Portugal. In 2011 Aurelie could be admired in the movie ‘Le diable dans la peau’. Aurelie made numerous guest appearances in several television series including, “Studio sud”, “Un homme en colere”, “Femmes de loi”, “Les Cordier, juge et flic”, “R.I.S. Police scientifique”, “Cellule identite”, “Brigade Navarro” and “Section de recherches”.
In 2011 Aurelie moved to Los Angeles in America. That same year she worked on the movie ‘Sick’. Aurelie further had guestappearances in that time in the France tv-series “Le juge est une femme”, “Falco” and “The Elisabeth Show” and had roles in the short France movies ‘La cage de Faraday’ and ‘Sick’. In 2014 Aurelie could be seen as Zoe Jelani in the American movie ‘Seal Team Eight: Behind Enemy Lines’. She shared the screen with Hollywoodstars like Jean Reno (‘Leon’) and Tom Sizemore (‘Saving Private Ryan’). Perry of Moov.nl was given the opportunity to interview the very sympathetic and friendly Aurelie Meriel for the website during her lightning visit to the Netherlands.
001.What is your favorite CD and why?
I would say ‘In Rainbows’ by the English alternative rock band Radiohead. I love Thom Yorke’s voice, it’s
002.What is your favorite song and when do you usually listen to it?
Probably “Reckoner” from the same album. I was listening to this song a lot when I moved to Los Angeles. I still listen
to it during moments of meditation and relaxation. But the single "J'arrive a la ville" by the Mexican-American female
singer Lhasa de Sela has also a special place in my heart.
003.Do you ever listen music just before filming?
Yes, sometimes. When I need to be in a certain mood or focus. That can really help me grab the emotion for a scene. I
like to find a quiet spot on set and observe what’s going on while listening to what I want to hear. Listening to music
energizes me, it also brings back memories or feelings.
004.How important is music in your private life?
Music is big in my life. With my parents I grew up listening to Georges Brassens, Jimi Hendrix, Claude Nougaro,
Amalia Rodrigues, The Rolling Stones and Sade. In addition I trained and worked as a dancer, so music was with me all
the time. Now I mostly listen to music while driving (which is a lot in Los Angeles, haha) and I love to sing in the car.
005.Who is your favorite singer (male or female) or group?
It’s very difficult to name just one, but some of my favorites male singers are David Bowie and Stevie Wonder. My
favorite female singers are Lauryn Hill and Nina Simone. Groups I like to listen are Radiohead and Sade.
006.With who would you ever want to sing a duet?
I would have loved to sing a duet with the French singer Serge Gainsbourg. Unfortunately, this is not possible anymore
because he died in 1991. Anyway I am not a very good singer.
007.What is your favorite sport? And do you practice yourself also a sport?
I'm not a big fan of watching sports. I trained and worked for many years as a dancer. Now I practice Savate. This is also
known as French boxing and it’s an European martial arts based on various types of kick techniques. I also do yoga.
008.In 1999 you played the role of Loulou in the Dutch movie 'The Delivery'. How do you look back on this time?
That was an amazing experience. The film has been very important for me as an actress. It was my first lead in a feature
film. At that time I was so young and inexperienced. It was the first time I had to act in a foreign language and I found
that quite difficult. The crew was speaking Dutch and the film was in English. At the time of 'The Delivery' my English
was very limited and my Dutch was and still is totally nonexistant haha. Emotions and words naturally don’t resonate the
same in you when you’re acting in a foreign language as opposed to your native tongue. So I had more work to do to get
there! That the film eventually won the Golden Calf was fantastic.
009.Besides an actress you’ve been painting canvasses since 2005. How did this happen?
I’ve always been fascinated by art and paintings. As long as I remember I’ve always been drawing. I took classes in Paris
for three years. I love the work of painters Pierre Bonnard, Edward Hopper and Egon Schiele to name a few. Sometimes
I do sketches on set. But most of the time I work from a photo that I took to start a painting. The final painting is never
exactly like the picture, I like to change colors, details, characters. The paintings are an expression of how I feel.
I haven’t done an exhibition yet but that’s part of my plans for 2015. Once I get together a collection of work that I’m
happy with, I would take the step into that. I would love to exhibit here in Los Angeles and Paris. Until now, people can
only see my paintings through my website.
010.You sometimes hear that each character an actor or actress plays contains something of themselves. Can you tell
an similarity and a difference in character between you and Zoe Jelani from 'Seal Team Eight: Behind Enemy
I agree with that, every role I take on I channel myself into the character. Zoe and I have similarities, like determination,
some might call it stubborness. When we want something, we won’t give up. Before we started shooting, we had a
bootcamp training, fight rehearsal and also weapon training. That’s another similarity that I share with Zoe, I was
comfortable with weapons. It was tough, very intense but exciting and we were surrounded with very good trainers and
instructors. But the difference between us is that Zoe is more evil than I am, haha!
011.So far you have been working on three films by Dutch director Roel Reine. The first film was ‘The Delivery’ from
1999 and most recently ‘The Admiral’ (in Dutch the movie has called ‘Michiel de Ruyter’) from 2015. To what
extent can you outline the differences between these two movies?
The film 'The Delivery' was a much smaller budget. We also had a real family feeling. ‘The Admiral’ is a much bigger
production, a bigger crew, with action and stunts being many times bigger. Even at the time of making 'The Delivery', I
think Roel probably had the desire to make movies on the scale of what he achieved with ‘The Admiral’. If you look at
the end result of this film, I think that Roel proved big action movies don’t just come out of Hollywood. During 'The
Delivery' it felt Roel concentrated more on the technical aspects, while my experience of him on ‘Seal Team Eight:
Behind Enemey Lines’ and ‘The Admiral’ was that he was also much more involved in drawing out the exact
performances he wanted from the actors. A the times of 'The Delivery' I was so young. I hadn’t had a lot of acting
training. I played Loulou from the position of who I was at the time; I had no real experience of building a character.
Today, my process is different. With the experience I have now, I would have played Loulou in 'The Delivery'
differently. Yet, I am satisfied with the result at the time.
012.Michiel de Ruyter was a Dutch admiral. To what extent were you familiar with who he was before you join the
I had never heard of Michiel de Ruyter before. Roel (Reine, the director of the film) and I had a lunch in Los Angeles
where he told me that he had plans to make a film in the Netherlands again and he was very excited about it. He told me
the story around this historical character. A few months later I was delighted to get a call from Roel offering me the role
013.In the film 'The Admiral’ you work with "Game of Thrones" - actor Charles Dance. How was this?
That's right. Charles Dance plays the role of King Charles II of England and I play Louise, his mistress who
manipulates him a little. I was watching season four of "Game of Thrones", when I heard that I would be acting
alongside him. The first fifteen minutes with him on the set I was very nervous, but then he’s such a great actor that my
image of him as Tywin Lannister was immediately replaced by his interpration of the King of England. Charles Dance is
a very gracious person, and even though our collaboration was brief I learned a lot from watching him.
014.What can we expect of you at showbiz area in the future?
Since Thursday 29 January 2015 I could be seen as Louise in cinemas in the Dutch film 'The Admiral’. A side from a
movie called ‘8th House’ which I’m set to shoot in July 2015. In 2015 I’ll start the production and filming of my own
webseries and can be seen in the short film ‘Mute’. I have a number of projects on the horizon that I cannot reveal yet but
they include everything from film, shorts and a videogame! And of course as always, I’ll continue painting!
Look for more information about Aurelie Meriel on www.aureliemeriel.com.
Follow Aurelie Meriel also through https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aurelie-Meriel/640825729338880?ref=hl and https://twitter.com/AurelieMeriel.
Photographer: Christine Ledroit-Perrin
Interview: Perry Krootjes