Self-proclaimed chocolate junkie Juliette Binoche was reaching for the barf bag the first time she read the script for her new cocoa-inspired film, Chocolat. "I was pregnant, and it got me sick each time I was reading the 'chocolate word,'" the English Patient Oscar winner tells TV Guide Online. "It was like, 'Ugh!'"
Luckily, by the time shooting on the film commenced, Binoche had given birth and was able to enjoy working opposite the scene-stealing treats. The same can't be said for her leading man, Johnny Depp, however. "He had this chocolate cluster a very dark chocolate with almonds and when I gave it to him [during a scene], he said, 'Blech... ,' because it was so dark and he probably preferred some milk chocolate or something softer."
In Chocolat (opening today), Binoche plays Vianne, a mysterious traveler who moves to a small French village and opens a chocolate shop and, subsequently, the narrow minds of the townsfolk. To research the role, the actress journeyed to several French chocolateries and shadowed specialist Walter Bienz. "He was making his own chocolates in his kitchen a very little one," she marvels. "I explained to him that I had a film to make and he shared some of his recipes with me."
Well, Binoche's method acting apparently has paid off. Critics are savoring her performance in the Lasse Hallström-directed comic fable, and there's even talk of another gold statue in her future. For her part, Binoche admits she's still not completely convinced she won her first Academy Award never mind nabbing a second.
"For me, it was impossible," she says of her chances of taking home the 1997 Best Supporting Actress Oscar. "So, when I heard people screaming around me [after her name was announced], I thought, 'Oh, I have to go [up on stage]. So, for me it was like a dream. I didn't believe in it because for me, it was a mistake."