PARIS — When Sandrine Kiberlain arrives at the Lutetia bar slightly out of breath, it is not for the usual harried-actress reasons. “I couldn’t find my kitten before leaving home,” she says, explaining the drama that would have ensued for her five-year-old daughter if the cat had gone missing.

At 37, the tall, blonde actress has kept her teenage figure and healthy glow — and a youthful, laissez-faire attitude to go with them.

“I’m not one who forces her way in. I was lucky directors wrote roles for me,” says Kiberlain of her unambitious manner. In spite of her gentler approach to role-snagging, she has certainly fared well, having collected a number of Cesars (the French equivalent of an Oscar) over the years: for best new actress in Laetitia Masson’s 1995 “To Have (or Not)”; a best supporting actress award for Jacques Audiard’s “A Self-Made Hero” in 1996, and best actress in 1997 for her part in her favorite movie, “Seventh Heaven,” and for “For Sale” in 1998.

Her latest role is in Pierre Salvadori’s popular comedy “After You,” which recently opened in New York and in which she stars opposite Daniel Auteuil and Jose Garcia. The premise is a romantic farce that turns into a love triangle when Antoine (Auteuil), who saves Louis (Garcia) from committing suicide, falls in love with Blanche (Kiberlain), Louis’ ex-girlfriend, while the latter tries to get Blanche back.

But if Kiberlain claims to be relaxed about her career, she is rabidly loyal to the projects she likes, such as this one. “I really enjoyed making this movie,” Kiberlain says, sipping her tea. “For sure, I’ll be watching how it’s doing in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, the actress has been keeping an eye on other figures: sales of her first album, “That’s All I Needed.” She sold 500,000 copies of the acoustic pop endeavor in the first two months after its release in March, garnering rave reviews. And it is perhaps her gutsiest move yet. Kiberlain, who is interested in all creative forms, including fashion — she is a Christian Lacroix fan because “it’s so spectacular” — admits that she feels more vulnerable when singing than when acting.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Unlike a number of her French counterparts, the reserved actress has not made it to Hollywood — at least not yet. “If Woody Allen wanted a blonde freckled face in one of his movies, I would be crazy not to do it,” she says.

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