Given her druthers, French actress Hélène de Fougerolles would prefer to work in warm locales such as Mauritius and the South of France, where she vacations with beau Antoine Arnault. But while filming Jean-Paul Guyon’s thriller “Sommeil blanc” (“White Sleep”), which is now in theaters throughout France, she had to swap her bikinis for heavy sweaters and bulky down jackets. “I hate mountains and cold,” says the actress, who endured a freezing-cold shoot in snowy Ardèche. She was never without a thermos of hot green tea and a tube of homeoplasmine, a lip moisturizer.

This story first appeared in the December 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In the movie, de Fougerolles plays Camille, a woman grieving the death of her son who overcomes her depression through an encounter with a strange and disturbing teen. The somber role is a departure from the comedic parts for which she’s best known. She has appeared in more than 40 film and television projects since getting her big break in 1994 in French director Cédric Klapisch’s “Le péril jeune” (“Good Old Daze”). Her most recent hits include last summer’s “Tricheuse” (“So Woman!”) and Jacques Rivettes’ 2001 “Va savoir” (“Who Knows?”).

Up next, the 36-year-old plans to direct her first short film in the spring. “I need those light roles where I’m having fun,” she says.