Paris Match, March 2012. Photos by Karine Belouaar. Scans by Rianon. Translation by Jacqueline.
Givenchy's muse has returned to film and has launched into a music video for the perfume.
Her ambition: to build a normal life. She was disgusted by the nightlife, alcohol, sex and drugs as a child. Daughter of Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, and former model Bebe Buell, icon of the 70s, high in the pop songwriter Todd Rundgren, Liv was fed to rock.
Propelled onto the catwalk at 14, she was revealed on the silver screen when she was 19 years old in Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty and then was the Princess of the Elves in The Lord of the Rings. "I have spent my whole life dreaming of getting married and having a family"
Now with her 7 year old son, Milo, she has returned to work with Ti West in The Side Affect.
Above all, she is the voice of a new version of Givenchy's Very Irresistible perfume. A beautiful girl that nobody asked to be quiet.
In a world where starlets are having a multiple unexpected turn of events, Liv is being considered "a good girl".
Sitting on the thick carpet in the corridor of the hotel, with a computer on her lap, Liv walks to the room where the photo shoot will take place: the room is crowded and no one hears her knocking. So she waits. Quietly. And when the door finally opens ajar, it is the simple girl that we had just described that comes in "I waited in the hallway for ten minutes" she says before kissing James warmly, the hairdresser she knows well.
Wearing pearl gray leggings under a long cotton t-shirt with long sleeves together with a great cashmere sweater, slippers and a towel to her feet, Liv cultivates spontaneity naturally. She puts her laptop on a chair where does pop, before making the turn after. When she discovers the old Triumph motorcycle hoisted onto the bed of the room where there are dozens of 33-laps vinyl records arranged under a poster of Jimi Hendrix, she laughs: "I feel like being with my parents!"
Raised to the sound of feedback and electric guitars strummed day and night, Liv is a child of the "sex, drugs and rock n 'roll" era. Daughter of Bebe Buell, supermodel groupie of the 70s, she was adopted at birth and raised by her mother's companion, the lyricist, composer and rock star Todd Rundgren. It is only 11 years she learns he is not his real father. Liv is actually the daughter of Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler. "I had a loving family around me, she declared in 2008. "But it wasn't the typical 'mom and dad scenario'"
Liv grew up in Portland, Maine, far from Hollywood, in a house always filled to capacity, where you squat, where you create, where one indulges in the excesses of which her mother tried to protect her from: "she raised me in a rather strict and traditional way," she said. No wonder the album covers, posters, and bike give her an air of deja-vu. Liv didn't think that it was very original, nor very rock'n'roll. "That's really rock'n'roll," she laughs when entering the bathtub fully clothed, wearing the motorcycle helmet "old school" on her head, with the shower head in hand before being sprayed with water.
Liv mistrusts this "rock'n'roll attitude". She has seen and heard too much. After a few appearances in her father's music videos, she became an actress at the sheer beauty of it, the brunette with porcelain skin that plays both in blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings and independent films such as Empire Records and Lonesome Jim. Stealing Beauty by Bernardo Bertolucci remains one of her finest roles. She was just 19 years old. This year it will be a thriller, The Ledge, by Matthew Chapman.
In search of balance, Liv was Royston Langdon's, (the lead singer of Spacehog) companion for a decade, in which she separated from four years ago. From this union was born a little Milo, now 7 years old. Her son has followed her on several movie sets and has been carted backstage of concerts in nocturnal outings. "My son always tells me 'Mom, you're so complicated!' I don't know if I really am that simple... I just like ordinary pleasures. But they don't define me."
Under an apparent freshness, a woman can feel overwhelmed and complicated more than the most trivial matters of their identity. Her home could be summarized briefly. Until we get to the music she listens to on her ipod: "I could give you a list of songs" she says. Milo is right: his mother is not so "simple". This "normality" is the credo of Liv, her image: in a world where we often are passing impulses and extravagances, Liv is considered "a good girl" because she does no such thing. Yet beneath the veneer of this apparent docility conceals a discrete authoritarian, which is just what she wants, she knows how to impose and enforce on others, without even having to touch them, with her killer smile and her big mouth. The same as that of her father's, Steven.
Although the music is a sequence of it's DNA, Liv had never sung, if not as a chorister for her friends or "in the shower". Until the launch in December, Very Irresistible Electric Rose, the new fragrance by Givenchy. She agreed to be reshaped in a curved Perfecto black, tousled hair and makeup with a stroke of kohl in promoting the new fragrance with covering the song I Need You Tonight by INXS. A revised version by American, David Andrew Sitek, is a member of TV on the Radio who has also collaborated with David Bowie, Beck, and Scarlett Johansson.
"I gave him enough confidence to allow me the liberty to do what I wanted," she said. "But only when I found myself actually singing into the microphone, with all my soul, I thought I heard the voice of my mother." For the clip, the beginners are trained professionals with dancers choreographed by Blanca Li from child to woman alluring, one would expect a thin voice, very soft, almost a whisper to Jane Birkin. "But she has a very powerful voice," said David Sitek. "Our collaboration was very pleasant because Liv had nothing prior. So we were able to make a new version that was captivating, fun, and a little crazy and I don't have to justify myself to anyone: neither to her father nor her stepfather before! Liv was guided only by the excitement and curiosity, not by ambition."
If it proved on this title, Liv doesn't have enough confidence to song on a stage. At Shoreditch Studios in north London, where Givenchy organized a concert, the young, anxious woman answered some questions, but didn't sing. The music video was shown instead. Even if it compares to the scent it embodies, - "That of an incredibly strong, courageous woman, but also very sweet and sensitive" - she doesn't dare to get wild on guitar chords before an audience. The singers and musicians in the family are her father and stepfather. Her son also, who can already play a few tunes on the piano and guitar, and she's never tired of listening to the voice so crystalline. "When he sings," she said, "I can do nothing other than listen. I don't move, I don't interrupt. I'm in love with this naturally beautiful voice." A son that she says she "can not wait to see" because it seems to want to flee back into its cocoon.
"At times like yesterday," she says "I take a bubble bath while listening to Keith Richards's book read by Johnny Depp, until my fingers shrivel and become like prunes."