In “Le Train”, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Romy Schneider play two characters who fall madly in love during the Second World War, as they flee the German offensive. A bond that went beyond fiction, since the actors became inseparable during filming.
The train : a meeting in the middle of war
After The Battle on the Island and before The BankerRomy Schneider and Jean-Louis Trintignant share the poster in 1973 in The train. Adaptation of the eponymous novel by Georges Simenon, the film by Pierre Granier-Deferre (The Cat, The Widow Couderc) takes place in 1940. The German offensive having begun in Belgium, the exodus begins in France.
Repairman of radio sets, Julien Maroyeur (Jean-Louis Trintignant) flees a village in the North of France with his partner Monique (Nike Arrighi), pregnant, and their daughter. Inside a train, the family finds themselves separated. Forced to travel in a van in the back, Julien discovers Anna (Romy Schneider), a German of Jewish origin who intrigues him, and with whom he falls madly in love.
The two characters go fall into each other’s arms on a dangerous journey, marked by gunfire and shelling. Maurice Biraud, Régine and Anne Wiazemsky complete the cast of the feature film. During the production of the drama, the two main actors live, like Anna and Julien, an impossible love.
A romance that echoes that of the film
The passionate romance between Romy Schneider and Jean-Louis Trintignant lasts for three months. While the second is married to Nadine Trintignant, the first has just separated from Harry Meyen. According to Sarah Briand, who painted her portrait in the book Romy, a long night of silence, the actress would have done everything to get closer of his partner from the first days of filming. Quoted by France Sundaythe journalist says on this subject:
On the occasion of a scene, she absolutely wants to play bare chest. The director opposes it. (…) He manages to persuade her with an argument: one of her breasts seems lower than the other depending on how he films her.
Quickly, the film team understands that the two headliners are more than just colleagues. If they try to keep a low profile first, Romy Schneider and Jean-Louis Trintignant gradually stop hiding. The actress is obsessed with this idyll according to Sarah Briand:
All she thinks about is this intense passion that haunts her and the moments after the director says ‘Cut!’
Sweetness and feelings then give way to a bitter parting. Not wanting to give up his family life, the actor puts an end to this affair. Aware of this relationship, Nadine Trintignant had returned to it during her visit to It’s up to you in November 2021, stating in particular:
I had an early affair with Alain Corneau, whom I married later, and I didn’t see him afterwards, for almost a year. (…) First of all, I liked Romy a lot. She was truly a very beautiful, intelligent, charming woman. And I said to him (to Jean-Louis Trintignant, editor’s note): ‘She, she will perhaps manage to make you happy’.
Despite this, the love story between Romy Schneider and Jean-Louis Trintignant will not go beyond this filming in the summer of 1972.