Before One Îthe, the public discovered you in Ava by Léa Mysius (2017). What made you want to make films?
Noée Abita: I always dreamed of being an actress a bit like a fantasy, but I had no plans at all to go to school or to theater. It was just a slightly vague dream of wanting to become a cosmonaut, it was not a career plan. But I was very bored in high school, and I had a friend who was an actor; I got the name of her agency, and I just showed up there to find out how to get in, what the procedure was … And the lady who received me immediately put me on a casting , and it was Ava’s. At that time I rather saw it as an opportunity to do a different activity! The idea of having a casting excited me, and it made me think of something other than school. I hadn’t imagined that I would be taken at all, it was a total chance and an incredible chance.
An Island is a fantastic author series, but the genre is rather rare in television. What seduced or intrigued you about this proposal?
At first, I found this project very funny around a story about a mermaid – even if it really isn’t at all! But I had never done a genre, and I was really attracted by the idea of playing a mermaid, it made me laugh – and what is more is not stupid. There is a feminist side to the script! And then a shoot in Corsica, it cannot be refused …
How important is it to remake the myth of the mermaid today, at a time when we are appropriating female stories? Can this have an effect on the public?
I think yes. There are a few blunders in the series that can make one not understand this idea of feminism. It is very ambiguous because the character of Théa (Laetitia Casta) constantly tries to destroy the men she does not like, because they destroy everything in their path or because they are stupid – which is a little the case in the society, but it concerns all human beings! This is what we must not forget, and Chloe, she refuses to kill men because she wants to believe in the human race. Afterwards, we should not dwell too much on this either. It is above all a story, a fiction, and if the subject is perceived as feminist, so much the better!
Precisely, at the beginning of the series, Chloé is the victim of an attempted sexual assault during a party on the beach, and it is at this moment that she discovers her powers.
Yes, it’s interesting to see that through this power the character says no and takes over the situation. Basically, the powers [des sirènes] symbolize what we are: women who have strength. And this force, we can use it to do harm, but also to do good, to counter what we can be done – contrary to what Théa does.
Do you feel like you are part of a new “wave” of young French actors today? Is there a form of renewal?
I have very few elements of comparison because I land in this environment, I did not know how it was before. I don’t have any perspective yet, but it’s true that I have the impression that in this new generation of actors and actresses there is a certain kindness and a certain force. Thanks to the #MeToo movement and the fight led by the actresses against abuse, we young people who arrive in this environment, I have the impression that we feel a little more legitimate, and better surrounded.
What is your first memory as a spectator?
Many films have marked me small; but it was at the theater that I had the feeling of wanting to become an actress. I was in First in high school, and I had just passed the casting for Ava. And it was shortly after, I was at the theater to see Six characters in search of an author of Jean Giono with my class. And it was a revelation; I said to myself “that’s what I want to do”, I discovered where I wanted to be. It was after this play that I announced to my family that I had a casting because I had done it in secret.
If tomorrow everything stopped, what would you do?
If I had to stop acting, I would want to start a school, with a different type of pedagogy, to work with children. School was very difficult for me, I was not particularly a bad student but it was very painful, I do not have good memories of it. I have long wanted to be a school teacher, now I would like to change the system. (laughs)
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