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Vanessa Paradis brings "Heartbreaker" act to U.S.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - She is known as the significant other to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but Vanessa Paradis is a triple threat in France, where she has been singing, modeling and acting since her teenage years.

French singer Vanessa Paradis attends German designer Karl Lagerfeld's Fall/Winter 2010/11 women's ready-to-wear fashion show for French fashion house Chanel during Paris Fashion Week March 9, 2010. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

These days, her partner Johnny Depp is shooting yet another installment in the smash hit “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies while the 37 year-old Paradis is busy promoting her French film, “Heartbreaker.”

The romantic comedy has already raked in more than 30 million euros at theaters in France and will open in the United States on Friday. It stars French actor Romain Duris as Alex Lippi, who runs a business that breaks-up relationships.

Alex is hired by a rich man to seduce his daughter, Juliette (Paradis), and stop her wedding plans. With only one week before Juliette is set to walk down the aisle, Alex has to break up the seemingly happy couple.

However, for the first time on the job, Alex starts falling for his prey, which begins to impact his work.

The film boasts some English-language pop culture references that are sure to resonate with U.S. audiences. Most notably, Juliette is a big fan of the movie “Dirty Dancing”, and Alex must spend time secretly learning actor Patrick Swayze’s moves to seduce Juliette.

“The ‘Dirty Dancing’ was such a plus,” said Paradis, “Learning that dance was something I was looking forward to when I read the script. Although I wasn’t as big a fan of ‘Dirty Dancing’ as Juliette is, the film was so much part of my generation and my childhood.”

Paradis was 15 years-old when “Dirty Dancing” was released in 1987 starring Swayze and Jennifer Grey as a young woman on summer holiday who is seduced by Swayze’s character.

FRENCH STAR

If Paradis wasn’t as obsessed with the “Dirty Dancing” as were Juliette and teenagers worldwide, it is probably because in real life Paradis was already busy being a star. By the time she was 14, Paradis had found international fame as a singer with the hit song, “Joe le taxi.”

She made her acting debut in the 1989 French film “Noce Blanche” which promptly earned her a most promising actress award at the Ceasars, France’s equivalent of the Oscars.

In 1991, she began modeling for Chanel, forming a tight bond with the fashion company that continues to this day.

While other French actresses like Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tatou and Juliette Binoche have actively pursued careers in the U.S., Paradis never felt a burning desire to do so.

“I totally understand people who are going to give it their all to get where they want to get,” Paradis said, but added that her own goals never included having to rise to the top of any particular creative endeavor.

“I was less looking for recognition and was just more cool about (my success),” said Paradis. “I do a lot of different things and want to be there fully for each one of them.

Today, that also includes raising her two children, Lily-Rose, 11, and Jack, 8, with Depp, who has been her companion since 1998.

“Being a mom is what matters the most,” she said.

Still, Paradis finds time to indulge in her artistic pursuits and says music still takes up a great deal of time. A recent acoustic tour with a stop at L’Opera of the Palace of Versailles was recorded for an album due out in November.

“I love to tour and usually that’s in France,” she said.

She also has signed on for another film, “Cafe de flore,” where she plays a mother to a child with Down syndrome.

“I don’t think in terms of a career, I just like to do what I do,” said Paradis. “The work I get to do fulfills me so much that I’m really, really happy.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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