Smellavision: New Chanel No.5 Film Train de Nuit (quotes, stills, casting and more)

Chanel No.5 Film Train de Nuit

Chanel has just released their latest promotional film (shown at the end of this loooong post) for their classic fragrance, Chanel No. 5.

This is the third in a series of films for Chanel Fragrances. The two previous were Baz Luhrmann’s starring Nicole Kidman in 2004 and Joe Wright’s starring Keira Knightly in 2007. The two and a half minute film (shown at the end of this post) will soon air in edited versions as tv commercials.

Chanel No.5 Film Train de Nuit

above: Not so coincidentally Audrey Tautou plays Coco Chanel in Anne Fontiane’s 2009 movie Coco Avant Chanel.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who has shot 40-50 previous advertisements as well as films like Delicatessen and Amélie, talks about his experience filming the latest Chanel No.5 film with 33 year old French actress Audrey Tautou, which also stars model turned actor Travis Davenport.

Here’s the upshot:
The 2 minute and 20 second film (Jeunet says it’s “not an ad”) for Chanel No. 5 is about chance meetings, fate, romance and more. In the behind the scenes interviews, the director makes it clear that he loved working for Chanel, he was given a great deal of freedom on the script, he knew he wanted to cast Audrey Tautou (Jean Pierre and Audrey have made 2 previous movies together) and Audrey helped him to choose the male lead from several actors in the running; Travis Davenport.

above: Chanel No. 5 bottles through the years.

The director had always wanted to shoot on a sleeper train, so when he got the brief from Chanel, he was surprised at how well it fit with what he’d always wanted to do. They wanted black dark images with reflections of light and emotion.

The film was shot in Istanbul.

If you’re like most people, you don’t really have the time to fully investigate the depth of the nice site where Chanel posts the film, along with many interviews, behind the scenes stills and more. So, I’ve abbreviated the info for you here. By choosing particular screen grabs and comments (albeit truncated and out of context), I can share with you the basic gist of the project.

Below are screen grabs and visual sound bites that sum up the experience as shared by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and actress Audrey Tautou.

“It’s a real film, it’s cinema. It’s not really an ad.”

“It’s like patronage: a short movie financed by Chanel.”

“…the emotions induced by a scent is an interesting challenge”

“I love stories of fate and chance”

“so I wrote in missed encounters and regrets”

because “years later you say, I should have taken a chance.”

“the editing was a nightmare…

..because there were so many great moments.”

On casting Audrey:
“It was obvious Audrey would be my first choice”

“I needed an extremely expressive actress for very the short shots”

“just her eyes, which I know so I suggested her to Chanel”

On casting Travis Davenport (apparently Audrey chose him):
“we wanted a young man with a certain femininity and also sincerity.”

“Travis, the young man in the movie with me,

isn’t an actor, but he’s wonderful in the film.”

“He had to look like he’d fallen head over heels in love…

under the perfume’s spell”

“He portrayed it beautifully.”

On the set design of the sleeper train:
drawings of the sleeper train compartment

” all the components were brought in from Venice”

“we recast them and did the chrome and inlay”

“Real luxury craftsmen’s work.”

On product placement and branding:
The director says it was his idea to actually put the bottle in the film because it worked so well in producing light and reflections.

“I won’t use (the word) ‘product’ as it sounds very commercial…”

“…but I put the bottle in the story since it was on a sleeper train..

… and used it to cast light and reflections.”

The bottle did create lovely reflections and according to Audrey, this was her favorite scene to shoot:

Of the ending of the mosaic of the 2 Cs in the Chanel logo (shown below in drawing and final shot) , Jeunet says, “ideas like that immediately won over the House of Chanel.”

On filming in Istanbul:
Did you choose Istanbul because Venice was too obvious?

“I wanted to discover Istanbul and this was a great chance.”

The director describes the city as “hard to film, not always a graphic city”

“we filmed on the Bosphorus amid billion ton tankers”

Stills from the set:

and earlier this month, Sassybella shared these storyboard frames with us:

The 2 and a half minute film:

To see the complete interviews, the film in HD and lots more video of the making of, visit the official site here.