Published October 30, 2012
Vanessa Paradis'longtime relationship with Johnny Depp might be done and dusted, but her career is on the upswing.
The French singer/actress is preparing for the U.S. debut of the drama “Café de Flore,” in which she plays a working class woman in 1960’s Paris who is abandoned by her husband after giving birth to a son with Down Syndrome. Brushing off the prejudices and cultural stereotypes of the era, Jacqueline seeks to give her son Laurent as normal a life as possible.
“I was completely taken by the script, it was impossible to say no. Those roles just don’t come often, a beauty and a monster in one person,” Paradis told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column.
The emotional role also gave the 39-year-old a deeper appreciation and affection toward those with disabilities.
“He was so smart and charismatic, we had such a strong connection and there was so much intensity, generosity and grace,” she said of Marin Gerrier, the young co-star with Down Syndrome."He is such a beautiful little boy, really quick and sharp.”
And although her character develops a somewhat unhealthy love and obsession with her child, Paradis – who has a daughter Lily Rose, 13, and a son Jack, 10, with Depp – was able to bring her own intense mothering instincts into the role.
“It’s a very natural thing (to develop an obsession with your children),” she said. “Some people are better at holding back than others.”
And Paradis has just one hope for audiences as they leave the theater.
“Hug your loved ones,” she stressed.
Hailed for its unique storyline, “Café de Flore” has attracted mostly positive reviews at movie aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with Paradis’s acting chops praised by critics. Yet despite her growing list of accolades, rave reviews and the 14 years she spent in the spotlight as the partner of one of the entertainment industry’s biggest names, the very famous French face has so far resisted a cross over to the Hollywood arena.
“I have never done a Hollywood film,” she said simply. “I can imagine the budgets are much bigger than in France, but I’ve never made one.”
Yet she does have a very clear vision of what she looks for in roles these days, and won’t sign on to just anything.
“I need to be swept off my feet, something that makes me dream and vibrate,” she added. “Roles that do that don’t come often. When I read the script, I need to be passionate about it.”
“Café de Flore” opens in select theaters in November.