What preparation did you undertake for the role of a woman who makes chocolate?
I went to see a master of chocolate-making that I knew. When I used to go to my dentist in Paris, his shop was just round the corner. I remember getting in that shop and being fulfilled by that wonderful chocolate smell. I went to see him a few months before we shot the movie and asked if I could spend some time in the kitchen. It was just before Easter and he said "Come after Easter, I have so much work" and I said "No, I'd rather come before because I'd like to see the process."
What did you learn?
One of the most amazing things was that he made me try different cocoa chocolate from different continents. I tried the Venezuelan one that for me was the best because it was so fruity. It's like a smell in a way, there are so many layers. I tried the African one which was very spicy and there was something earthy about the cocoa. I was just amazed to see how you can travel through different countries.
Your character lives a nomadic existence taking her daughter from town to town. Do you relate to that, being a mother yourself?
I relate to that completely as I travelled as a child. At the same time, my character in "Chocolat" Vianne has a need to settle down, even though she can't do it by herself.
Read an an interview with Lasse Hallström, director of "Chocolat".