PARIS — Alice Taglioni, 29, may have dedicated nearly two decades of her life to playing the piano, but with her movie-star looks, there was little chance of her staying hunched over the ivories forever. Now she’s appearing on-screen, as a model no less, in French director Francis Veber’s “The Valet,” opening on Friday in New York.
“I was flattered to be called to play a top model, and more so, a really cool, beautiful woman,” she says.
In the film, a business tycoon (Daniel Auteuil) is caught by paparazzi on the street with his mistress, Taglioni’s character, Elena. When the photo is splashed across the front pages of Paris’ tabloids, it understandably angers his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas). But, conveniently, a passerby is also visible in the frame and so, to avoid a scandal, Auteuil’s character convinces the man, a humble valet, to fake a relationship with Taglioni as if they were the ones canoodling on the sidewalk.
The lighthearted comedy also features Virginie Ledoyen, who plays the valet’s true love interest, and a cameo by Karl Lagerfeld, who casts Elena in a Chanel couture show (the scene was shot during the couture collections).
Taglioni may play the ingenue in “The Valet,” but she isn’t entirely green when it comes to acting. The blonde beauty got her first break in 2002’s “Dandy,” and in October, will appear as the villain in “Détrompez-vous,” Bruno Dega’s first film. “It’s a different register,” she says of her role. “I play a very sad woman.”
Fortunately, sad is not an emotion that can describe Taglioni these days, based on all the jobs she’s booking. She’s also in Léa Frazer’s latest comedy, “Notre univers impitoyable,” in which she portrays a lawyer opposite her real-life sweetheart, Jocelyn Quivrin, and this summer she’ll begin shooting “Cash,” a film about a massive bank heist in Nice.
Between gigs, Taglioni’s life has been imitating art. She just signed a two-year contract to model in ad campaigns for leather goods brand Lancel. “It’s a very pretty picture,” Taglioni confesses.