Juliette Binoche has spoken of her "surprise" and confusion following stinging criticism from fellow French actor Gerard Depardieu, insisting she can't "understand" why he targeted her in a bitter rant.
Depardieu hit headlines last week (ends28Aug10) for blasting the Oscar-winner in an interview with Austrian magazine Profil, saying, "I would really like to know why she has been so esteemed for so many years. She has nothing. Absolutely nothing! She is nothing... Binoche? What has she ever had going for her?"
The actress has now responded to Depardieu's verbal attack, insisting she has no idea why he would say such hurtful things.
She tells BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme, "(I was) surprised. I don't know him and I don't know what I did to him... I understand you don't have to like everyone and you dislike someone's work. But I don't understand the violence (of his words), in a way. But I think it has to do with himself - there's something going on."
Binoche also reveals the pair once had dinner together and Depardieu told her, "You always do beautiful films" - and the actress now wonders whether that statement was really meant as a compliment.
She adds, "I didn't have any answers to that because I didn't completely understand what he meant by that. And then, after that, I thought, 'Ah so it means that - are you supposed to do not-beautiful films'. I provoked him without knowing I provoked him, I think."