The Independent recently interviewed Kristin Scott Thomas and she talks a bit about her character and why she wanted to do ‘Bel Ami':
The actress has also got her fair share of English-language roles coming up. As Virginie Walters in Bel Ami she plays against type. Her character starts off as a Scott Thomas archetype, cold and ruthless, but then goes gaga over Robert Pattinson, behaving like a teenage fan of Twilight.
I ask if she wanted to play against type. “Not really; I wasn’t aware of doing that,” comes the initial reply. Yet she soon talks herself around to my way of thinking. “I know people think that I always play these characters who are in control and can chop someone’s head off with a look. Maybe you are right in a way; that part was particularly enticing to me because she’s a woman who loses all her dignity. But I also wanted to do the film because Nick Ormerod and Declan Donnellan were directing. I’d met Declan on many occasions and we’d tried to make theatre together, but it had never really worked out; so this was an opportunity.”
She then reveals that she had agreed to star in an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s Bel Ami years ago, when Vincent Cassel was cast in the lead role and she was to play the controlling female Madeleine Forestier. SOURCE