After a devious ascent to success, the angel-faced actor has conquered his status as the darling of French cinema
An actor who refuses to own a television ?! How’s that for the sullen face of French cinema? Hailed as the beacon of the new generation of young actors, Gaspard Ulliel is a refreshing strangeness. An avowed old soul (hidden under cherubic beauty), the shameless stranger avoids social media, among other things – quite a feat in a tech-obsessed age where every man and his dog discover the minutiae of their breakfast in line. And despite all his fashion congratulations – he was the face of Chanel – he is a confirmed hermit.
It’s a career in spurts, marked by promising highs and maddening plateaus (until recently, that is). After touching television as a child, he made his breakthrough at just 20, as Audrey Tautou’s shocked lover in Jean-Pierre Jeunet A long engagement Sunday – for which he won the coveted Rising Star Caesar. Pushed to the dizzying heights of stardom, he rode the wave of his new Hollywood cachet to star in the horror prequel Hannibal’s Rise. Sadly, his stab in a career in the United States has been cut short by bad reviews.
For a moment, it seemed his influence had waned. Until after a series of intermediate passes, a realistic turning point as Yves Saint Laurent in 2014 announced his lasting return to the big screen and put him back at the top of the food chain. He narrowly missed the award for best actor to Pierre Niney; who, in a bewildering twist of fate, played the role of the fashion designer in a rival biopic. What are the chances? His stellar portrayal of an HIV-positive man in Xavier Dolan’s speckled film Just the end of the world ultimately earned him the Elusive Best Actor gong earlier this year. Finally omnipresent, the 32-year-old is making up for lost time with no less than three award-winning films in preparation.
Slowly but surely, we succeed …
CV in 10 seconds: the life of a movie star in one take
Name: Gaspard ulliel
Born: November 25, 1984 in Boulogne-Billancourt
Carrier start: After having played in telefilms as a child, he enrolled in the prestigious theater program Cours Florent where he was discovered by The Lost director André Téchiné. His main role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet A long engagement Sunday launched his career and earned him the Rising Star distinction at the César.
I know the face … If you missed his turn as a shocked soldier in Jeunet’s WWI epic, you may have spotted him as legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent in Bertrand Bonello’s hailed biopic.
Where will we see it next? He’s set to play the role of a playwright thrown in the path of a mysterious woman (played by acting royalty Isabelle Huppert) during a severe blizzard in the award-winning film. Eva.
It’s not true ! Gaspard speaks impeccable English. Yes really. He could even pass for a native. No wonder: he studied at the Jeannine Manuel International School in Paris.
From France Today magazine
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