Sunday, March 2, 2008

PARIS (London Sunday Telegraph) — Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard’s nascent Hollywood career is under threat after she backed conspiracy theories over the September 11 attacks.

The 32-year-old French star has swept this year’s best actress awards, also receiving a British Academy award, the Golden Globe and the French Academy’s Cesar Award for her performance as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose.

Miss Cotillard’s success was expected to multiply her earning power by at least 10, and she is due to start filming “Public Enemies” with Johnny Depp.

But the actress faces a backlash in the United States over comments she made in an interview in France.

Footage that surfaced on the Internet showed her questioning the New York terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the 1969 moon landing.

“I think we’re lied to about a number of things,” she said, singling out September 11.

Referring to the two passenger jetliners flown into the World Trade Center, Miss Cotillard said: “We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned? There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours. It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [in New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed.”

Miss Cotillard suggested that the towers, planned in the early 1960s, were an outdated “money sucker,” which would have cost so much to modernize that it was easier to destroy them.

Turning to America’s space program, she said: “Did a man really walk on the moon? I saw plenty of documentaries on it, and I really wondered. And in any case I don’t believe all they tell me, that’s for sure.”

Miss Cotillard, who was born and brought up in Paris, made the comments on Paris Premiere-Paris Derniere (Paris First-Paris Last), a program first broadcast a year ago.

They were largely ignored at the time, but appeared yesterday on a French Web site.

Miss Cotillard’s film career began in Luc Besson’s 1998 film “Taxi,” which was a huge hit in France but less successful around the world.

She is an environmental activist, who once worked as a spokeswoman for Greenpeace.

Miss Cotillard’s comments surfaced at a time when Franco-American relations appear to be thawing, following Paris’ refusal to support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, elected in May, calls himself pro-American, supporting so-called Anglo-Saxon economic reforms and vacationing in the U.S.

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