OSCAR winner Juliette Binoche has admitted she will be preparing for around three hours a day for her starring role at the Edinburgh International Festival.
The French actress, who will make her debut at the festival tomorrow in the classic Greek tragedy Antigone, does not think she will have time to see any other shows during her stay in the city.
We are going to be playing in the evening, and I like to prepare for quite a long time, so I will have no time to see showsJuliette Binoche
Binoche also admitted she had not previously heard of the festival before being booked to appear in the title role of Antigone, Sophocles’ play that is almost 2500 years old.
But speaking to the media at the King’s Theatre, the star - whose play is one of the biggest sellers in the EIF line-up - has pledged to “definitely come back”.
She said: “It’s my first time in Edinburgh. I know the Avignon Festival (in France) very well because my father was in theatre for many years.
“As a young girl I used to wander around and go with friends to see plays, but I never came here because I just never had occasion to, so I’m thrilled to be here - not that I will have a lot of time.
“While I’m here I have to prepare for a movie that I’m doing right after I leave here, so it’s going to be non-stop for me.
“We are going to be playing in the evening, and I like to prepare for quite a long time, so I will have no time to see shows.
“Now that I am aware that there is a festival here - I wasn’t aware before - I will definitely come back.
“It depends on the day how long I prepare for, but if I am really taking my time I would say three hours. As an actor, you also have to train physically to have your body ready.
“You cannot escape from the intensity of Sophocles.”
Binoche, who described Sophocles’ play as “genius,” offered her support to financially-stricken Greece, and said Antigone would have a modern-day relevance for audiences in Edinburgh.
She said: “The play is very political. My feeling, playing Sophocles, and having this heritage of 2500 years ago, is that we should give Greece a break. They gave us so much, with their thinkers, genius and poets.
“I think we have to save Greece no matter what, because what they gave us was immense. I think we have to take care of them.”