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Léa Seydoux

Photographed by Gwenaëlle Trannoy. Styled by Jessica Skeete-Cross.

From the most daring art-house films to the biggest Hollywood blockbusters, the French star can do it all. So why exactly does she feel ‘life is tragic’? As she nears the end of her busiest year yet, the actor talks to Tom Ellen about 007, parenthood and the difficulty of being understood

‘I need more frivolity in my life,’ declares Léa Seydoux. ‘I feel very insecure right now.’
This statement is delivered roughly two minutes after we first meet, in the hangar-sized lobby of an Athens hotel and about 30 seconds after the French actor — and Louis Vuitton ambassador — has suggested sacking off said lobby to find a more interesting interview location. Seydoux, it seems, is not one for small talk.

So, as we step out on to the sun-baked Greek seafront, why the insecurity? ‘Maybe “insecure” is the wrong word,’ she shrugs. ‘I feel... vulnerable. I was fearless when I was younger — maybe because I had to struggle. Now I struggle less but bizarrely I’m more scared than I used to be. Maybe unconsciously I need to struggle. I don’t know. It’s exhausting.’ She pauses outside a quaint taverna a stone’s throw from the gently lapping Mediterranean. ‘Here is good, no?’

We settle at the corner table, two glasses of fresh watermelon juice plonked before us. Spend an hour in Seydoux’s company and you’ll learn that this kind of straight-off-the-bat existentialist soul-searching is very much the 36-year-old’s default setting. During the course of our chat, she will throw out comments such as, ‘Life is a game which in the end you always lose,’ as casually as others might remark on M25 tailbacks. On paper, this may come across as slightly pretentious (or at the very least, exceedingly French) but in person, nothing could be further from the truth.

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LOUIS VUITTON dress, POA; Fornasetti Pochette tête bag, £1,870
LOUIS VUITTON coat, £4,700; T-shirt dress, £1,300; hood, £500
LOUIS VUITTON sleeveless
jacket, £5,500; knit top, £1,610. CHOPARD earrings, £14,200
LOUIS VUITTON shirt, £2,010
LOUIS VUITTON coat, £4,100; dress, POA. CHOPARD earrings, £27,000