Age & Hometown: 30; Meudon, France
Current Role: Beguiling beauty Roxane, a French noblewoman who is oblivious to the love of her long-nosed cousin Cyrano in Roundabout’s Theatre Company's revival of Cyrano de Bergerac.
A Cyrano Childhood: Long before being tapped to make her Broadway debut in Cyrano de Bergerac, French actress Clemence Poesy was a fan of the Edmond Rostand play. “It’s a national treasure, and it’s a story that my sister and I certainly grew up with and adored,” recalls the actress, citing the 1990 Gerard Depardieu film as one she watched “about 1,000 times.” Poesy was especially enamored by Anne Brochet’s portrayal of Roxane, even thinking, “Wow, one day maybe I’ll get to do that job.” In a case of being in the right place at the right time, Poesy was asked to audition for the role in May, days before she was scheduled to leave New York City. She got the part after reading just two scenes. “[Cyrano]’s got everything you want a story to be,” says Poesy. “It’s probably very good that I’m doing it in English, because I’ve got [Brochet’s] voice so clearly in my head in French. It’s easier somehow to make Roxane my own in English.”
Harry Potter’s High Stakes: While acting primarily in French movies, Poesy gained international recognition when she won the role of the beautiful (do we sense a theme here?) Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter film franchise. “On paper, my part in Potter is so small, and in the film too, really, but because of the scale of the movie, it makes everything bigger.” The young actress had to choose between taking the pivotal role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and attending France’s prestigious dramatic academy Conservatoire de Paris. “The director of the Conservatoire allowed me one year off to do that film, but then I started working a lot. I couldn’t go back after that." She adds: “I never realized how much Potter would change my life.” Years later, Poesy cites her co-stars as her fondest memory of shooting the films, but she never asked the many theater vets she worked with (including Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith) for Broadway advice. “Oh, I didn’t tell them,” she laughs. “They have no idea!”
Like Father, Like Daughter: “I’ve always felt lucky because my parents included my sister and I in their cultural life,” says Poesy, whose father, Etienne Guichard, is an accomplished actor, director and playwright in France. Guichard gave his daughters their first walk-on stage roles, which inspired young Clemence to get involved in the arts—though not necessarily as an actress. “I wanted to draw and do costumes. I was prepared to train for that, but I needed something to do on my time off from high school, so I called an agent without telling anyone and started working with her.” Her parents were supportive, and Poesy has since found a successful career in film, television (including playing Chuck Bass' French girlfriend on Gossip Girl) and stage—but don't expect to see her burst into song on stage. “I don’t think I can do the musical musical thing,” she laughs. “I can do the French whisper thing. When I told my French friends I was coming to Broadway, they asked, ‘Are they turning [Cyrano] into a musical?’ I was like, ‘I f**king hope not, because that would be a disaster.’”