Just Back: Charlotte Gainsbourg and Yvan Attal
Published: May 2009
By Kristin Hohenadel
OCCUPATIONS: Actor; actor-writer-director
HOME BASE: Paris
ON THE ROAD: The couple recently stopped in New York at the Museum of Modern Art's New Directors/New Films festival to present My Wife Is an Actress, Attal's directorial debut. The loosely autobiographical comedy follows a jealous sportswriter (Attal) who doesn't understand how his spouse (Gainsbourg) can kiss other men for a living. It opens in the United States next month.
HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE HALL? "I've been to New York twenty times, but I have a very bad sense of direction," Gainsbourg says. "I still can't tell you which way is uptown. We really only know New York through Woody Allen films."
INCOGNITO: "We're anonymous here," says Gainsbourg, the daughter of actor Jane Birkin and French pop icon Serge Gainsbourg. "It's nice." Attal agrees: "In New York, I can argue with Charlotte in public without worrying that it's going to be in the papers."
NO MORE SOUVENIRS: "Twenty years ago we could find things in New York that we couldn't find in Paris," Attal says. "But now we have everything in both cities." Still, he admits, the one thing you can't export is the Manhattan skyline. "When we're in SoHo, where the buildings are about the same height as the ones in Paris, we say to ourselves, 'We're in St.-Germain-des-Prés.' Uptown, where there are 200-story buildings, we say, 'We're in New York.' "