LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Hollywood insiders are scratching their heads over comments by French Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, with some asking whether her questioning of the events of September 11 will damage her international career.
"I think we're lied to about a lot of things," Cotillard said during a television program first broadcast last year which has resurfaced on the Internet.
The actress who picked up the award for playing Edith Piaf in the French film "La vie en rose" cited the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 as one example, adding: "I tend to believe in the conspiracy theory."
In the video, the 32-year-old Parisian talks about watching films on the Internet which challenge the official version of the September 11 attacks, saying "it's fascinating, even addictive".
She continues: "Did man really walk on the moon? Me, I've seen a fair few documentaries on the subject. That, really, I question. In any case, I don't believe everything people tell me, that's for sure."
Cotillard's lawyer Vincent Toledano told AFP she had "never intended to contest nor question the attacks of September 11, 2001, and regrets the way old remarks have been taken out of context."
The comments reverberated in Hollywood.
"Only a week after picking up her best actress Oscar, Marion Cotillard's unconventional views on the September 11 terrorist attacks have come to light," wrote the Hollywood journal, Variety.
"It remains to be seen what effect the revelation of her beliefs will have on her future in US films," it said.
In its entertainment supplement, The Envelope, the Los Angeles Times wrote:
"Normally, it takes Oscar winners at least a few months or years to land in trouble, but Marion Cotillard could set a new record thanks to some bizarre comments she made last year that are now triggering a hubbub just days after her best-actress victory."
Prior to snatching the coveted gold statuette, the French beauty signed up for two other Hollywood films: police flick "Public Enemies" and a film version of the musical "Nine".
A spokesman for Universal Studios, distributor of "Public Enemies", did not immediately return AFP's calling seeking a reaction, while Cotillard's spokesman in Hollywood referred to Toledano's statement.
For Tom O'Neil, a critic with The Envelope, her comments are not harmless.
Had they come to light earlier, "she probably would have lost the Oscar," he said.
"This crosses the line. You can say crazy things -- they all do in Hollywood all the time -- but she's a foreigner who is perceived to be saying things anti-American."
Other commentators were less harsh.
"This is an old conspiracy, it's been rehearsed by other people and other actresses," said Robert Thompson, a professor of television at Syracuse University in New York.
"It will play for a while, some people will be infuriated, and it may just end," he said.
"I don't think by any means that this makes her persona non grata in Hollywood. A lot of people in Hollywood agree with her. She's becoming one of us! She not only win the awards, but behaves in odd and unpredictable ways!"
"Everybody in America has a conspiracy theory," echoed Joel Stratte McClure, gossip columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News, adding: "Nobody is castigated or shunned" because of it.
"There's so much doubt with George Bush's policy today, that you could say that he planned it and people wouldn't get upset," he said of the 9/11 attacks.
"By voicing her opinions, she hasn't hurt herself at all," said Elizabeth Snead, another commentator for The Envelope.
"I don't think it will hurt her career," Snead said, noting that the director Oliver Stone has built a career out of films exploring conspiracies surrounding former presidents Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy.
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