On the challenge of adaptation:
Marjane Satrapi: "The greatest risk was to try to do it just like the graphic novel. People thought we'd just film every panel, and that would make a film. A comic book is not a film storyboard: it's a narrative form in and of itself. We had to come up with a filmic language for the story."
Vincent Paronnaud: "In the beginning, I was walking on eggs, because I could see that Marjane was still smarting from certain events, but she was kind enough to give me creative leeway on the film."
Catherine Deneuve on her participation in the project: "The thing that charmed me is Marjane's world, which I was already familiar with. In fact, a few years ago, I asked her to make a small comic strip for a special issue of "Vogue." She talks about very serious matters in a way that is simultaneously lighthearted and serious. I love the humor and emotion in her stories, and also the fact that all the characters are real. When I read the adaptation, I found that it really was a film screenplay. The voice-taping sessions were pleasant: lighthearted and easy. Marjane played all the other characters. That's the only thing I found a bit frustrating: we taped all the voices separately. But I think that was the best thing for the film."
Chiara Mastroianni on getting to know Marjane Satrapi : "Aside from my admiration for her work, I wanted to know who she was. These days, it's rare to meet a personality like her. I love her freedom, her non-judgmental attitude, her integrity, and her sense of humor."
Marjane Satrapi on her ties to Iran: "I no longer go to Iran, because the rule of law does not exist there, so anything might happen to you. But I still have very deep ties to the country, in terms of the geography, the style of expression, the humor... It's a large part of myself which I've been forced to stifle, because you can't continually be telling other people about your past. So I do feel nostalgic, but, basically, I don't have the right to complain. For one thing, it would be immodest, but it would also be grotesque and unhealthy. I live in the city I choose, I do the work that I like, I live with the person I love… My duty is to smile and make people laugh. Laughter is the most subversive weapon there is."
Kathleen Kennedy on the project's universal appeal: “I was so taken when I saw Marjane's books. And I thought this is a universal story and not one necessarily confined to a story of Iran, but obviously to any oppressed society. I also think that in the United States, for instance, looking at a country that is defined by extremism is unfair, and I think that’s what Marjane has done, opened up a channel of communication.”
Photo Copyright AFP