Kruger Confidential


Kruger Confidential
From a muse for Karl Lagerfeld to master of ceremonies at Cannes, Diane Kruger makes sense of a very stylish career
 

It always bothers me when people say that I’m famous,” laughs Diane Kruger via phone from L.A. “I’m not Angelina Jolie, you know?” Perhaps not, but Academy Award-winning Québécois director Denys Arcand cast her in the part of Véronica Star (an Angelina Jolie-esque celebrity) in his next film, L’Age des Ténèbres (due for release this fall).

That’s not to say Kruger’s heavenly good looks (golden-blond hair, gorgeous 5’7 1/2″ figure, to-die-for blue eyes) and talent (15 films and counting) don’t incite any major media attention, though. After all, her most recognizable acting role, as Helen “the face that launched a thousand ships” of Troy in the Cleopatra-esque epic Troy in 2004, landed Mlle. K on “most beautiful people” lists in magazines such as Maxim and People. Kruger’s red-carpet savvy and all around good taste has supported the claims, too. Opting to choose elegant yet a typical party outfits during awards-show season (an eggplant-coloured Alberta Ferretti dress recently worn at the Vanity Fair Oscar party made a slew of fashion bloggers go gaga), she knows how to look and act the part of a star.

Add to that the fact that the board of directors for the Cannes Film Festival has chosen Kruger to be the master of ceremonies this month at the 60th annual event and it’s clear that her unique allure is well in demand. But that didn’t happen without a little help from her friends.

Before Arcand or Cannes clamoured for her, Kruger was a catwalk star, modeling for top design houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Armani. But despite landing multiple magazine covers such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue (as well as FLARE in 2000), she discovered that becoming a top model wasn’t a fulfilling full-time job: “You’re getting all dolled up and just holding crazy poses for hours at a time. It takes forever [and] it’s just boring.” Today, her focus is on acting, although she cherry-picks modeling jobs for select fashion-related campaigns. For example, she is now the face – and muse – of Chanel’s Paris-Biarritz handbag collection, a collaboration she was happy to participate in due to a famous longstanding friendship.

 

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“I met Karl [Lagerfeld] when I was around 17 years old,” she says of the legendary Chanel designer. “When I had my first big première for Troy at the Cannes Film Festival, he designed an haute couture dress for me. I actually still have the drawing, which says, For my beautiful Helen, your friend Karl. His designs are stunning and I wear them all the time.” In fact, the two German expats are neighbours in Paris and their street served as the backdrop for the Paris-Biarritz bag campaign. Kruger says she “walked down one morning and we started shooting and it was done in two hours.”

These days, Kruger, whom In Style called one of 2006’s “most spectacularly clad women,” is more likely dressing for the red carpet than a photo shoot. “Finding the right dress is madness in Hollywood,” she says. “As a model, you never really do red carpet. It’s very different to dress for events than it is to dress to be fashionable. Some dresses just don’t work for photographic purposes. I learned that the hard way.”

The strong-willed Kruger pushes the envelope with her choice of film roles, too, balancing her work in Hollywood blockbusters with smaller independent and foreign films. “It’s a personal reward that you get out of [smaller films]. Maybe fewer people will go see this movie, but this way I can push my boundaries and push myself as an actor to new limits,” she says.

Her ever-expanding résumé has certainly been bolstered by her enviable ability to act in no less than three differ-ent languages: English, French and German. In her most recent French foray, she collaborates with Arcand in a poignant black comedy. “I’m a huge fan of Denys Arcand. He’s very well known and very respected in France. I’ve seen all of his movies, so when he called to ask if I wanted to come meet him and speak about a project, I didn’t have the script, but I immediately said yes.” In the film, Kruger plays an imagined movie star who appears in the fantasies of a hapless Quebec bureaucrat. “I show up in his living room, in the suburbs, dressed in evening gowns all of the time. It’s really funny.”

 

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More serious was Kruger’s growing admiration for Arcand on set: “I was a little nervous going in, but surprised. I worked the shortest days I’ve ever worked on any movie that I’ve made. He lets actors run free. I just think that it is a really fun way of working. I mean, I’ve never laughed more or harder.”

Most recently, Kruger has enjoyed a somewhat cozier collaboration with the North in the form of a new beau, doe-eyed Canadian actor Joshua Jackson, known for his roles on Dawson’s Creek and in his recent tour-de-force performance in the critically acclaimed film Bobby. “We’ve known each other for years,” says Kruger shyly of her boyfriend. “We were great friends before we started dating.” And while the relationship is still in its first blush, Kruger admits that dating an actor isn’t always easy. “It’s extremely difficult because, obviously, my marriage failed,” she says, referring to her five-year marriage to French actor/director Guillaume Canet. So how do Canadian men compare to those of her adopted home, Paris? “They’re definitely very outdoorsy. They love to hike and go camping and that sort of thing. Very much a nature boy, and I like that because I’m from the countryside.”

To read the full article, pick up the May 2007 issue of FLARE

 

Love Diane’s look? Click here for makeup tips from Chanel makeup artist Gérald Bélanger

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