My France – Joan Collins
British acting icon Joan Collins first visited France as a teenager, and has been a regular visitor ever since. Here the glamorous star talks about her love of France with friend, fellow actor and writer, Carol Drinkwater
British acting icon Joan Collins first visited France as a teenager, and has been a regular visitor ever since. Here the glamorous star talks about her love of France with friend, fellow actor and writer, Carol DrinkwaterWhat are your earliest memories of France?My earliest memories are when I was 14. I came over from England to Dinard, then a pretty fishing village near Saint-Malo in the north of France. I spent all my time on the beach and it was unlike any seaside resort I had ever known in England. I had great fun practising my schoolgirl French. The following summer my parents sent me to my uncle and aunt’s for my holidays. They lived in an apartment next to the Carlton Hotel overlooking the famous promenade, the Croisette, in Cannes. I could see the Carlton plage through the windows and whenever I was able I was down there, sunbathing.
How else did you spend your time?The rest of my time I spent window-shopping in the Rue d’Antibes. I certainly could not afford any of the beautiful clothes but I had great fun looking. I also discovered the nightlife in Juan-les-Pins too. People were talking about Saint-Tropez (pictured below) as an up and coming resort but Brigitte Bardot had yet to put it on the map. Juan-les-Pins seemed very lively to me.
What was the highlight of that visit?One of my most thrilling memories of that summer was the arrival of a telegram from my parents in England. A telegram, imagine it! It told me that a letter had arrived at home from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art confirming that I had been offered a place as a student for the following year. I was 15 years old, very young, but my future had just opened up for me.
How much time do you spend in France now and what do you most enjoy doing?I have a lovely house not too far from Saint-Tropez. Percy [Joan’s husband] and I spend about four months a year here. I love it. I do nothing, just laze by the pool, reading, sunbathing. I love entertaining and we have many guests who come to visit. We enjoy going out to restaurants. I write here too, always in longhand. At present I am at work on several articles that need to be delivered.
How’s your French? Do you get the opportunity to speak it frequently?Oh, I can string a few sentences together but I lack the vocabulary. I do not have a head for languages. I have a sharp, bright mind for learning lines. However, when I do speak in French, I have an excellent accent.
Which of your films/television series have proved most popular in France?Dynasty is without question the television series that I am most know for here. Also, a film I made quite a long time ago called The Land of the Pharaohs still seems to be quite popular. People remember it.
Which French actors or films are you a fan of?My favourite French actors are Jean Reno – I really like him – and Marion Cotillard. I don’t read French books and not many French films reach us in the United States.
What do you think abut the news that Carla Bruni might well appear in the next Woody Allen film?I applaud her decision to accept the offer of a role in a Woody Allen film. Just because she is a First Lady does not mean that she cannot have a career of her own. I would love to play in a Woody Allen film.
What are you working on at the moment?I have plenty of irons in the fire and I am at work on a new book, but like all of us actors, Carol, I am very superstitious about announcing anything before it is signed and delivered. Let us say that I am very busy at present.
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