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by Susan Royal

Elsa Zylberstein and Andy Garcia star in Modigliani
In Mick Davis’ Modigliani, Andy Garcia stars as the Italian Modernist artist and French actress Elsa Zylberstein stars as his muse. Zylberstein, who has a major career in French films, says she was thrilled to star in another English-language film -- having previously appeared in Jefferson in Paris and the British drama Metroland, starring Christian Bale and Emily Watson. (She also stars in an English-language film with Dianne Wiest in Dublin, which has yet to be released.) Says Zylberstein, “ I studied acting in New York and have traveled to the U.S. and England throughout my life. I’d love to do more English-speaking roles and to work with great directors such as Soderberg, Spielberg, Ron Howard and PT Anderson.”

Recently Zylberstein traveled to Florida to promote Modigliani at the Miami International Film Festival. She enjoyed seeing the reaction of fans to Andy Garcia there. “Andy Garcia in Miami is like the Pope at the Vatican,” she laughs. From that festival she traveled to Mexico where the film was screening at the Mexico City Film Festival. According to Zylberstein, the best perk of attending film festivals is in meeting other filmmakers. “Yesterday I hung out with Todd Solondz and the writer of 21 Grams [Guillermo Arriago]. It’s a great way to meet new people and share our experiences in making films.”

And her experience working with Andy Garcia? “He was generous. The first minute we met he took me in his arms and told me how lucky he was to work with me. We had an immediate connection.”

Zylberstein says she was attracted to the part of Jeanne Hebuterne -- the young Catholic art student who inspired the passionate, but self-destructive Modigliani -- because she was such a powerful character. “I was very moved by the character and understood her and her love for him at a very deep level. I loved how unreasonable she was. Every day I played her I was flying like a bird.”

Modigliani will open in June.

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