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John Malkovich on the dark times and hard choices made in Apple TV’s ‘The New Look’

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The fifth episode of Apple TV+’s star-studded drama The New Look dropped on Wednesday. The series explores what life was like in Paris during the Nazi occupation, and especially what choices designers like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior made at the time. 

Chanel cast her lot with the Nazi high command and had personal relationships with high-ranking officers.

Dior and his mentor Lucien Lelong plied their craft for the spouses and girlfriends of Nazi party members, as distasteful as it may have been to them — indeed, Dior’s sister was tortured by the Gestapo for her membership in the French Resistance.

Oscar-nominated actor John Malkovich plays Lelong in the project, and he explained to ABC Audio, “I really knew nothing about this backstory.”

The fluent French speaker continued, “The French, the occupation in Paris and of a large part of France I knew about, and had read books about it and seen movies about it, etcetera. But I didn’t know anything of Chanel’s backstory or Dior’s backstory.”

The series centers on the choices these icons made during what the actor called “one of the darkest times in human history.”

“I don’t think French waiters loved Nazi clients,” Malkovich insists.  

“I don’t think French news vendors loved Nazi clients. And I don’t think Lucien Lelong loved Nazi clients. People made accommodations. People are programed to survive, both genetically and psychologically. They make accommodation and they survive to live and maybe to fight another day.”  

 

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