NICE, France — For more than 30 years, no one got the better of actress Béatrice Dalle, the notorious French badass and femme fatale so seductive that even openly gay Rupert Everett briefly succumbed to her charms.
During a lengthy career that began when she starred in the 1986 cult French erotic drama Betty Blue, the heavy-lidded, luscious-lipped, gap-toothed Dalle (watch Serge Gainsbourg try to keep his composure when he interviews her in 1989) led a scandalous private life that rivaled her controversial but often-acclaimed films.
She later co-starred in films by Jim Jarmusch (Night on Earth), Abel Ferrara (The Blackout) and Claire Denis (Trouble Every Day) among many others but her punk-shock vibe kept her in French headlines.
Marry a rapist she met in prison? Check. Praise Jesus Christ because “he invented bondage” and eat the ear off a cadaver while tripping on acid in a city morgue? Done.
Dalle also delighted in embarrassing journalists, whether on live TV or one-on-one, like the time a reporter stopped her on a Paris street after she’d been convicted of cocaine possession in the mid-1990s.
“Why don’t you just go home,” Dalle told him, “and fuck your mother. If I wanted to talk to a dickhead, what makes you think I’d choose you?”
But when Dalle, now 53, took to Instagram to cheer on France’s biggest gangster, Redoine Faid, after he broke out of prison last week, the ultimate French bad girl finally got spanked—hard.
After an immediate outcry, Dalle’s post which read, in part, “May God protect you, Bravo Redoine Faid, all of France is with you, at least I am” and mentioned how she planned “to dance the Mia” to celebrate his escape—was deleted.
But the president of the police union still clapped back with a blistering open letter titled “Chère Béatrice Dalle,” shaming her for glorifying a bank robber whose most recent heist resulted in the death of a 26-year-old policewoman, Aurélie Fouquet, who left behind a young son.
“I wonder if you’re a mother because I wonder if you even have the heart of a mother,” Cedric Michel wrote. “While you’re dancing, a little boy is growing up with his only memory (of his mother) in photos. Eight years ago, a very little boy did not see his mother coming home from work. He did not know anything about life at that time, just that his mom was everything to him. No, France is not behind this monstrosity.”
The dead policewoman’s mother, Elisabeth Fouquet, told Europe 1 she was “revolted” by Faid’s escape and said that Dalle could not imagine what it was like to lose a loved one the way she lost her daughter.
In a first for Dalle, she called in to France’s RTL radio network to offer a mea culpa of sorts. “It was just a post on Instagram that was misinterpreted,” she said. “But if I hurt anyone I’m really sorry. (His) escape was incredible, without violence. That’s what impressed me.”
Faid remained at large with a massive manhunt underway since his escape from the prison at Réau last Sunday. He broke out with the help of three accomplices who landed a helicopter in one of the prison courtyards and flew out with him in it.
And Faid is just the latest in a series of bad or troubled guys that Dalle has said have always impressed her.
“Most of my liaisons have been dangerous,” she told the Guardian last month.
Her first husband, the artist Jean-Francois Dalle, committed suicide three months after their break-up, the Guardian said. She met her second husband, Guénael Meziani, when he was an inmate serving time for rape in a prison where she was filming a movie. She also had an affair with the rapper Joey Starr who once hit a monkey on a TV show.
Her nicest ex-boyfriend might be Rupert Everett, who she met after becoming an overnight sensation in Betty Blue in 1986. Everett was living in Paris having just starred opposite Bob Dylan in Hearts of Fire.
“Rupert is gay but I am… Béatrice Dalle,” she told the Guardian. “I’ve never been beautiful, but I have a power of attraction.”
Dalle is now co-starring with Everett in his directorial debut, The Happy Prince, in which he plays Oscar Wilde during the Irish writer’s late period in Paris and she plays the manager of his favorite café. The film opens in France in October.
Dalle said she and Everett have remained lifelong friends since their early fling.
“I knew I would never find another girl as good as Béa,” Everett wrote in his 2006 memoir Red Carpets And Other Banana Skins.
“She was perfect. When she was with you, she was with you. She had faith and you could do no wrong; until... that attention would be switched off, like an electric light. It had happened to her husband. It would happen to me. No one left Béa.”