Asia Argento: “They were afraid of me, so we couldn’t see how hurt I was”

Today, the one that Italy has nicknamed the “Dark Lady” takes the pen. In “Anatomy of a Wild Heart”, Asia Argento spares no one: neither her parents nor the big cinema family. She receives us, in Rome, and delivers her truth to us, without filter or tweezers.

Paris Match. Harvey Weinstein is the common thread of your book. After raping you twice, he shows up on your birthday and comes uninvited to your premieres… Why has he followed you all these years?
Asia Argento. I thought he was in love with me, but no. He’s just sick. He’s a serial predator. This is his modus operandi. He wants to dominate the victim, to steal something precious and intimate from him. He needs to feel powerful. Besides, it is said less, but he was just as horrible with the directors. He was omnipresent, re-edited films, stole the creativity of others. People were afraid of it. He’s an ogre, like those in fairy tales.

Without the phone call from Ronan Farrow, the “New Yorker” reporter who was investigating Weinstein, I would not have denounced him…

At the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, when you take the stage to deliver a speech against him, you write that women are glaring at you …
At the time, I wondered why I was doing this. I am too instinctive. He was on the loose, I had the impression that the fact that all these women had spoken had served no purpose. After my little speech, I became the junk. I already was, but it got worse. Unfortunately, there is not really a female bond in the profession. Too much jealousy …

Italy did not give you a gift when you denounced Weinstein. Did you regret having spoken?
Yes and no. When I was on the front page every day, it wasn’t easy. On TV, they held a platform with, on one side, those who were for me and, on the other, those who were against. It was surreal. But I know it has helped women, so I don’t regret it. Without the phone call from Ronan Farrow, the “New Yorker” reporter who was investigating Weinstein, I wouldn’t have denounced him… I would have found it hard to look at myself in a mirror knowing he was doing the same thing. to others. I didn’t do it for me, I was the easiest to destroy. To people, I was a whore… and you don’t rape a whore, do you? It was not a victory to speak. The only victory is that he’s in prison. Now the concern is the deviation of the #MeToo movement.

I’ve had tough roles and sometimes you have to dive into a nightmare to get the truth.

Are you talking about excess?
Let us say rather the false puritanism which it engendered. We can no longer shoot a sex scene in Hollywood without the presence of a specialist who ensures that everything is in order! I didn’t think it would become so American. People are even afraid to flirt! I love flirtation, I am a flirt! Catherine Deneuve says there is a fine line between seduction and rape. For me, it is very clear!

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Before you go to join Weinstein, the night he first raped you, Leos Carax tells you: “Go sell your soul to the devil!”
He was right. I wanted to act in Hollywood movies, to meet stars. I was 21, I didn’t know. If I had stayed with him that night …

The directors who made you shoot all seem tyrannical …
I’ve had tough roles and sometimes you have to dive into a nightmare to get the truth. Working with Nanni Moretti has been hell. I apologize because it was necessary. I used this method as a director. And I’m not proud of it… But it’s my job and it’s better than going to the bank every day. I chose to tell the story of the community, not to denounce them but to allow people to understand the image I gave of myself.

Before making a film, I knew I was going to have to stop for two years; so I chained the turnips!

The famous “Dark Lady”?
The Italians created this label for me and it served me well for a while. They were scared of me, so we couldn’t see how hurt I was. I thought that’s what they expected of me, that I bite. In the end, it cost me dearly. By multiplying these crazy characters, prostitutes, I no longer knew who I was: the indestructible woman or the fragile girl left on the street.

Your rewards serve as doorstops. Why do you reject the ceremonial that surrounds your profession?
Only work counts. That’s what saved my life when I was so lonely. The rewards, the reviews can drive you crazy. My dad doesn’t care too. When I had my first Volpi [César italien], he laughed: “Who cares?” Everything is ephemeral in this profession.

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Is that why you take on the food side of your job?
I’ve been in a lot of embarrassing movies that no one believed in, not even the director! Everyone was there for the money. It’s important to break this myth of the actor who does this just for the love of art. It is above all a job. I had to feed my two children well. Look at my filmography: before making a film, I knew I was going to have to stop for two years; so I chained the turnips!

I had a special life, not as glamorous as you might imagine!

You say that it was to please your father that you made films …
My relationship with him has long been based on cinema. This is still the case, except that now we are also telling each other about our lives. He’s a mentor. When I got pregnant, there was a break between us. I was 25, he thought I wouldn’t be able to be a mom and have a career. And when my second arrived, I preferred to concentrate on my role as a mother. My parents did not make the same decision, their three children were left with nannies.

Nannies you used to smoke joints with …
I had a special life, not as glamorous as you might imagine! But it suited me, I never envied that of others. Even though I have always felt different. We have a false idea of ​​the life of artists. I dismantled the prejudices around my family …

You start with the violence of your mother, Daria Nicolodi, and you end with her disappearance. Why open and close the book with her?
The mother is the origin. When she got sick, I had already written the beginning. She died when I was almost done. But I would have published it no matter what. I had to go beyond the suffering, turn the poison into an antidote.

How did your loved ones react to the reading?
They haven’t read it. I warned them and they didn’t want to relive it, especially my sister’s death.

I’ve learned two things from my experience: when you’re negative, you attract them, and you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be.

Are you a survivor?
I like that word. More than that of “victim”. No one ever protected me, so I protected myself. Part of me always wanted to hurt myself while the other pulled me up.

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Where did your addiction to drugs and alcohol come from?
It’s my self-destructive side, it allowed me to forget about the pain… until it didn’t work anymore. I played with death a lot. Maybe I didn’t want to live, but I didn’t want to die either. For a few years, I stopped everything. I never knew how to drink like the others. One drink is too much, and forty not enough!

You have chained toxic relationships …
I trusted too easily. Now I am suspicious. Too much. However, I have learned two things from my experience: when you are in the negative, you attract them, and you cannot save someone who does not want to be.

You refer to your companion Anthony Bourdain [qui s’est suicidé en juin 2018] ?
I dreamed about him a month ago, it was the first time. He came to see me to explain to me why he had done that. I still feel incredible pain. I’m sure the moment he came out of his body he was like, “What did I do?” I accept what I cannot change. Life is also death.

I’m producing my father’s next film and writing my new feature film.

You come back to the rape accusations against you made by Jimmy Bennett, which ended your contract with the show “XFactor”. Do you consider that you have suffered the conviction of the media tribunal?
Yes, there was no complaint, no evidence, just a “New York Times” article. My friend Marilyn Manson went through the same situation. When a fan made a nasty social media post, his record company and manager fired him. But I don’t mean Bennett any harm. He wanted money. I saw lots of child-actors who did not become what they had been promised and who went wild.

The Weinstein affair took you away from movie sets. Is it a form of double punishment?
In 2013, I decided to stop everything. And then, last year, I got a script that I loved. That of a bizarre French film, by Jérôme Dassier, “Seule”, whose main character is alone on screen most of the time. I just finished filming. At the same time, I am producing my father’s next film and writing my new feature film. It will be very different from anything I have done. It’s romantic, it’s not just dark. But I remain me, do not expect a comedy either! [Elle rit.]

“Anatomy of a wild heart”, by Asia Argento, ed. Hors Collection, 320 pages, 19.90 euros.

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