Top French Actors – Part 1

Sixty-Nine-year-old Gérard Depardieu is likely the most common French face seen on the big screen, mainly due to his long and fruitful career. With over one hundred and seventy films under his belt as an actor this powerhouse of film has graced screens generation after generation in his forty-year career in film. Beginning his path in performance at Café de la Gare in Paris where he did theatrical comedy, Depardieu took off in one of his early roles when he featured in the 1976 erotic comedy and drama Les Valseuses by Bertrand Blier.

Two years later he was taking starring roles and standing side by side with famed actors like Donald Sutherland and Robert De Niro in 1900. In 1980 he won a Cesar Best Actor Award for his performance in The Last Metro which gave rise to his international acclaim. From then he has been on a non-stop streak of films in all manner of roles that range from the clumsy but loveable Obelix in the Asterix films adapted from the popular French comics, to Porthos in the Hollywood telling of The Man In The Iron Mask where he shared the screen with superstar Leonardo DiCaprio. With five films in post production for a 2019 release, this prolific actor’s career is nowhere near finished.

Parisian Vincent Cassel is recognised by English audiences for his many high profile roles in recent years. Recognisable not just for his seductive French tongue but also his on-screen intensity. Often cast as a man with questionable motives, Cassel manages to constantly keep audiences on their toes as his acting skills allow him to execute both charm and unquestionable threat with ease. Taking roles in highly acclaimed roles by mega directors, Cassel has accelerated his career in the last decade with some astonishing credits like taking up a regular role in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s franchise. Other notable collaborations include his work as a French art expert in Danny Boyle’s Trance and the somewhat sleazy theatre director in Darren Aronofsky’s dark tale of ballet – Black Swan. Fans of action and drama can no doubt expect to see more of Cassel in the coming months.

Stand up comedian turned movie star Jean Dujardin, began pleasing audiences in the mid 90’s with cabaret shows around Paris. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the handsome entertainer took his craft on screen. But after roles in shorts and lesser known titles he reached his breakout role as the lead in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, a French spy film akin to older James Bond titles. Then in 2011 he hit the big time as he played the lead in The Artist which was showered with praise and awards, landing him an Oscar for best actor. This iconic role in such an unexpectedly applauded film made him irresistible for casting. Since then he has worked with renowned actor turned director George Clooney and legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, with unquestionably more stellar roles to come.

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