Not the first pretty Gallic actress to make it out of France and onto our screens; not the first crush we have had a modern-day Lolita. But Lea Seydoux somewhat gives us the feeling there is more than meets the eye.
At first girls pretty much hated her: a not-so-subtle blend of green-eyed envy, jealousy and pure jealousy. This would be why: a first lead role alongside international object of lust Louis Garrel in La Belle Personne, as his teenage love interest no less. Guys, well, they just fancied her.
La Belle Personne featured more than a highly lusted after moody Frenchman; as Junie, the quiet student whose beauty causes a storm, Lea Seydoux reached a dramatic intensity that good looks alone cannot account for. Granted, Lea has been involved in the odd modelling job (here's one for the boys, vintage American Apparel Lea) but with editorials that feel like film stills it is obvious that her exceptional screen presence wasn't made to take pretty pictures alone.
La nouvelle Lolita: Lea in American Apparel circa a few years ago.
La nouvelle Belle de Jour: things get a little racier in the woods for last May's Jalouse.
First signs of Lea reaching the big time came with Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds last year; her performance may have been more of a cameo than a supporting role but glorious debuts can start with the briefest of appearances.
Then came Venice, and Lea dazzled on what felt like a red carpet first. The role she was there for was notably less glamourous than her elegant cream dress but there was something of the mystical and strangely alluring to Lea's religious character as a self-effacing nurse in Lourdes.
And then there will be Cannes. This year's festival is due to open with Ridley Scott's Robin Hood and while we are somewhat impatient to discover Russell Crowe's take on the green tunic; it is Lea's rendition of the French princess turned queen of England that is the real thrill. The half a second glimpse of her naked back shall do for now however.
How lucky she ended up on our screens then; what with her childhood dreams of being an opera singer; we have a feel she could have become something of the new Callas. Call it her je-ne-sais-quoi!
Credits: American Apparel, Interview, Jalouse