• by director Pierre Salvadori
What happens when you meet the right person at the wrong time?
The idea of this puzzle came to me as I was touring the United States
for my film Après-Vous. I envisioned Irène as
a beautiful woman who uses her power of seduction in order to find financial
security. For the male lead, I saw Jean as a shy, bewildered people-pleaser
who cannot believe his luck when such a gorgeous woman pays attention
to him. The premise—a comical misunderstanding of their first
encounter—was a good opportunity to explore some interesting world
views in the context of a lighthearted romantic farce.
For Irène, love is not a solution—it’s a problem!
It weakens her, frightens her, confuses her. I could only picture Audrey
Tautou playing Irène. America knows Audrey from Amélie
and similar, charming characters she has played; in Priceless,
she is irresistibly compelling and seductive, but, also a tough and
There is a moment in the film when you can see on Audrey’s face
that everything has changed for Irène—all of a sudden,
everything she once thought would make her happy becomes meaningless.
For Jean, I knew Gad Elmaleh as a gifted comedian and actor from his
work in theater. I wanted an actor who starts out as a man who could
be almost invisible, neutral—and then progressively acquires an
elegance and confidence about him. And, of course, I wanted someone
who not only knows how to do physical comedy, but, who could also convince
the audience that he is truly in love with Irène, despite her
fixation on acquiring material things. He never judges her—instead,
he becomes her ally.
I hope you will enjoy Priceless. I had a great deal of fun
exploring this relationship in the midst of the world of luxury, high
fashion, and privilege on the French Riviera. True love is never the
solution to all our problems, but, in the end, it is the most endearing
and truthful characteristic of what makes us human.