Léa Seydoux

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Léa Seydoux
Léa Seydoux Cannes 2016.jpg
Born
Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne[1]

(1985-07-01) 1 July 1985 (age 36)
OccupationActress
Years active2005–present
Partner(s)André Meyer
Children1

Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne (French: [le.a sɛ.du] (About this soundlisten); born 1 July 1985) is a French actress. She began her acting career in French cinema, appearing in films such as The Last Mistress (2007) and On War (2008). Seydoux first came to attention after she won the Trophée Chopard and received her first César Award nomination, for her performance in The Beautiful Person (2008).

Since then, Seydoux has appeared in major Hollywood films including Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009), Ridley Scott's Robin Hood (2010), Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (2011) and the action film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011). In French cinema, she was nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress for a second time for her role in Belle Épine (2010) and was nominated for the César Award for Best Actress for her role as a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette in the film Farewell, My Queen (2012).

In 2013, Seydoux came to widespread attention when she was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her role as a lesbian art student in the critically acclaimed film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, along with its film director Abdellatif Kechiche and her co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos. That same year, she also received the Lumières Award for Best Actress for the film Grand Central and, in 2014, she was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and starred in the films Beauty and the Beast, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Saint Laurent. She gained further international attention for her appearance as Bond girl Madeleine Swann in Spectre (2015), and reprised the role in No Time to Die (2021).[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Born on 1 July 1985,[5][6] Seydoux is the daughter of businessman Henri Jérôme Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne and Valérie Schlumberger. She was born in Passy, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, and grew up in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement.[7] She had a strict Protestant upbringing,[8] but she is not religious.[9] Seydoux is one of seven children. She has three older half-siblings (Marine Bramly, Noé Saglio and Ondine Saglio) from her mother's first marriage, an older sister, stylist Camille Seydoux from her parents' marriage, and a further two paternal half-brothers, Ismaël Seydoux and Omer Seydoux, from her father's marriage to model Farida Khelfa.[10]

Seydoux's parents are both partly of Alsatian descent. Her father is a great-grandson of businessman and inventor Marcel Schlumberger, while her mother is a granddaughter of Marcel's brother, Maurice Schlumberger.[11][12] The family name came to exist in 1902,[13] when Seydoux's great-great-grandfather Charles-Louis-Auguste-Jacques Seydoux (1870–1929) married Mathilde, daughter of Languedoc aristocrat François Fornier de Clausonne de Lédenon, whose family held the titles of Baron de Lédenon and seigneur de Clausonne, de Laugnac et de la Bastide d'Albe.[13][14][15][16][17] The Seydoux family is widely known in France. Her grandfather, Jérôme Seydoux, is the chairman of Pathé;[18] her granduncle, Nicolas Seydoux, is the chairman of Gaumont Film Company;[18] her other granduncle, Michel Seydoux, also a cinema producer, is the chairman of the Lille-based football club Lille OSC; and her father is the founder and CEO of the French wireless company Parrot.[19] Despite Seydoux's connections, her family initially took no interest in her film career and did not help her; she has said she and her influential grandfather were not close.[19][20][21] As a child, she had no desire to act. She instead wanted to be an opera singer,[9][22] studying music at the Conservatoire de Paris.[23]

Seydoux's parents divorced when she was three years old and they were often away,[20] her mother in Africa and her father on business, which, combined with her large family, meant that she "felt lost in the crowd... I was very lonely as a kid. Really I always had the feeling I was an orphan."[19] Through her family involvement in media and entertainment, Seydoux grew up acquainted with prominent artists such as photographer Nan Goldin, musicians Lou Reed and Mick Jagger and footwear designer Christian Louboutin.[19] For six years, Seydoux went to summer camp in the United States, at the behest of her father, who wanted her to learn to speak English.[24][25]

"My grandfather Jérôme has never felt the slightest interest in my career. [My family] have never lifted a finger to help me. Nor have I asked for anything, ever."

—Seydoux dismissing suggestions that her family connections have helped her career[26]

Her mother Valérie Schlumberger is a former actress-turned-philanthropist and the founder of the boutique Compagnie d'Afrique du Sénégal et de l'Afrique de l'ouest (CSAO), which promotes the work of African artists. Seydoux once worked as a model for their jewellery line Jokko. Schlumberger, who lived in Senegal as a teenager, is also the founder of the charitable organisations Association pour le Sénégal et l'Afrique de l'Ouest (ASAO) and Empire des enfants, a centre for homeless children in Dakar, of which Seydoux is the "godmother".[9][19]

Seydoux describes her youthful self as short-haired, slightly disheveled, and widely viewed as a bit strange: "People liked me, but I always felt like a misfit."[8] Still concerned for her shyness in adulthood, Seydoux has admitted to having had an anxiety crisis during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.[27]

Career[edit]

2005–2007: Career beginnings[edit]

Seydoux says that as a child she wanted to become an opera singer, studying music at the Conservatoire de Paris, but eventually her shyness compelled her to drop the idea.[28][29] It was not until the age of eighteen that she decided to become an actress.[30] One of her friends was an actor, and Seydoux has said: "I found his life wonderful, I thought, 'Oh my god, you can travel, you're free, you can do what you want, you're the boss.'"[24][31] She fell in love with an actor and decided to become an actress to impress him.[24] She took acting classes at French drama school Les Enfants Terribles,[18] and in 2007 she took further training at New York's Actors Studio with Corinne Blue.

In 2005, Seydoux appeared in the music video for Raphaël's single "Ne partons pas fâchés". The following year, Seydoux played her first major screen role as one of the main characters in Sylvie Ayme's Girlfriends (Mes copines). She starred in Nicolas Klotz's short film La Consolation, which was exhibited at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.[32]

In these years, she also did her first work as a model for American Apparel, posing for their Pantytime campaign,[33] and had a role in the films 13 French Street and The Last Mistress.[28]

2008–2012: French cinema and Hollywood expansion[edit]

Seydoux came to widespread attention in 2008,[34] when she appeared in Christophe Honoré's The Beautiful Person, a role that earned her the 2009 Chopard Award at the Cannes Film Festival for "Best Upcoming Actress" and a César Award nomination for Most Promising Actress.[28]

In 2009, she had a major part in Jessica Hausner's Lourdes,[28] and a small role in her first Hollywood film, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. In 2010 she starred alongside Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, playing Isabella of Angoulême. That same year she appeared in Louis Garrel's Petit Tailleur,[35] Rebecca Zlotowski's Belle Épine,[36] which earned her a second César nomination of Most Promising Actress, and Raúl Ruiz's Mysteries of Lisbon.[37] Seydoux auditioned to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but the part ultimately went to actress Rooney Mara.[29] Seydoux recalled in an interview: "I got upset, but I don't think I'd be able to do anything to get that part. It was totally against my nature. I worked hard, but Lisbeth was almost anorexic. I wasn't like that".[8][18]

In 2011, she played Gabrielle in the romantic comedy Midnight in Paris.[38] She later participated in another Hollywood production, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, in which she played the assassin Sabine Moreau alongside stars Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner. She also played Elle in the short film Time Doesn't Stand Still by Benjamin Millepied and Asa Mader .[39] After Mission: Impossible, Seydoux returned to French cinema, starring in My Wife's Romance (Le Roman de ma femme) and Roses à crédit.

In 2012, she starred in Farewell, My Queen. The film opened the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival where it was met with critical acclaim.[40][41] Critics praised director Benoît Jacquot's decision to cast Seydoux in the key role of Sidonie, stating "her luminous but watchful eyes suggest a soul wise beyond her years."[42] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Seydoux was an excellent choice for the part calling her a remarkably versatile young actress and pointed to the stark difference in her characters from her previous roles in Midnight in Paris and Mission: Impossible.[43] That same year she appeared in the Swiss drama film, Sister. The film competed in competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Special Award, the Silver Bear, and was selected as the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.[44][45][46] Critics again praised Seydoux for bringing a strong array of emotions to a highly unsympathetic part and called her performance intensely moving.[47][48] That year, Seydoux also filmed Blue Is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche, and Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski, both exhibited at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.

2013–2018: Blue Is the Warmest Colour and critical acclaim[edit]

In 2013, Seydoux was nominated for Best Actress at the 38th César Awards for her role as Sidonie Laborde in Benoît Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen. Later that year at Cannes, Blue Is the Warmest Colour won the Palme d'Or and the jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, took the unusual move of awarding the prize not just to the director Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to the film's two stars, Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.[30][49]

In 2014, Seydoux won the Best Actress award at the 19th Lumières Awards for her role in Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Grand Central. She was also nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and the César Award for Best Actress in the same year. Her role in Blue Is the Warmest Colour earned her rave reviews, numerous accolades and international attention.[50]

Seydoux co-starred with Vincent Cassel in Beauty and the Beast, a Franco-German romantic fantasy film directed by Christophe Gans. Her other 2014 films were The Grand Budapest Hotel, a Wes Anderson film in which she played Clotilde; and Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent, in which she played the role of the titular designer's muse Loulou de la Falaise.

In 2015, Seydoux starred with Vincent Lindon in Diary of a Chambermaid, a period piece based on Octave Mirbeau's novel Le Journal d'une femme de chambre. The film, whose script was written specifically for Seydoux, marked her second collaboration with Benoît Jacquot, following the 2012 film Farewell, My Queen.[51] Although the film was screened in competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival to mixed reviews, critics were generally receptive to Seydoux's performance. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said that it was "a fine central performance from Seydoux",[52] while critic Jordan Mintzer wrote that her performance is "robust and engaging throughout [the film]".[53]

Seydoux appeared alongside Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in Yorgos Lanthimos's English-language debut The Lobster (2015), in which she played the ruthless leader of a group of rebels, the loners, who live in the woods. The film had its premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize.[54] She also appears as Madeleine Swann, the Bond girl in the 2015 Spectre, the 24th James Bond film.[3]

In 2016, Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin made her a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres).[55] Seydoux later appeared in Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World, based on Jean-Luc Lagarce's play Juste la fin du monde.[56]

In 2018, Seydoux co-starred alongside Ewan McGregor in Zoe, a sci-fi romance by Drake Doremus.[57] The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on 21 April.[58] She also appeared in Thomas Vinterberg's Kursk, a drama film about the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster. In May 2018, she served as a member of the jury at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.[59] She was also invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences within the same year.[60]

2019–present[edit]

During the trade event E3 2018, it was revealed that Seydoux would star in Hideo Kojima's video game Death Stranding. She provided the voice, performance and her likeness to the character Fragile, the head of Fragile Express.[61][62] Death Stranding released in November 2019 to positive reviews in which critics called her a "marvel", and described her performance as being among some of the "most nuanced performance capture ever seen in the medium".[63][64] She also appeared in Oh Mercy!, a French crime drama by director Arnaud Desplechin. The film premiered at Cannes and was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or.[65] Seydoux has reprised her role as Madeleine Swann in the James Bond film No Time to Die.[66] The film was postponed worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upcoming projects[edit]

She will also star in Wes Anderson's ensemble comedy-drama The French Dispatch.[67] She will then play Lizzy in Ildikó Enyedi's The Story of My Wife,[68] and star in the film France by Bruno Dumont.[69] In June 2020, it was announced that Seydoux would be headlining the French period thriller Party of Fools.[70] In September 2020, it was announced that Seydoux would be starring in Mia Hansen-Love's next film Un beau matin.[71] On 9 December 2020 it was reported that Seydoux will once again collaborate with Arnaud Desplechin on his next film Deception.[72]

On 20 January 2021 it was revealed that Seydoux would star opposite Gaspard Ulliel in Bertrand Bonello's sci-fi melodrama La Bête,[73] and on 29 April 2021 Deadline reported that Seydoux would star alongside Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg's sci-fi thriller Crimes of the Future.[74] Seydoux said she plays a surgeon in a dystopian future "where people eat plastic."[75]

Advertising and endorsements[edit]

Seydoux has modelled for numerous magazines and brands, but sees herself "always as an actress",[23] not as a model.[22][76] She participated in the Levi's television advert "Dangerous Liaison", and has been seen in several photo editorials, including for Vogue Paris, American Vogue, Numéro, L'Officiel, CRASH, Another Magazine and W magazine. She fronted the 2013 campaign for French jewellery line Didier Dubot and appeared in Rag & Bone's Fall 2013 campaign with Michael Pitt.[77][78]

She also appeared in a nude pictorial for French men's magazine Lui.[20] In addition, Seydoux and her Blue Is the Warmest Colour co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos were featured in Miu Miu's 2014 resort ad campaign.[79] Seydoux advertised for Prada's 2012 Resort line; and is the face of its 2013 campaign for the fragrances Prada Candy (shot by Jean-Paul Goude) and Prada Candy L'Eau (directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola),[18][80][81] and the 2014 campaign for Prada Candy Florale perfume.[82]

Since 2016, she has been a brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton.[83][84]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2016, Seydoux revealed that she and her boyfriend André Meyer were expecting their first child.[85][86][19] On 18 January 2017, she gave birth to a son, Georges.[87]

Seydoux has said that the filming of Blue Is the Warmest Colour made her question her sexuality: "Of course I did [question it]. Me as a person, as a human being ... It's not nothing, making those scenes. Of course I question myself. But, I did not have any revelations."[19]

In July 2021, Seydoux tested positive for COVID-19, was asymptomatic and isolating at her Paris home. The diagnosis caused her to skip the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.[88]

Filmography[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Girlfriends Aurore
2007 La Consolation Camille Short film
2007 The Last Mistress Olivia
2007 13 French Street Jenny
2008 On War Marie
2008 Les Vacances de Clémence Jackie Tele film
2008 Des poupées et des anges Gisèle
2008 The Beautiful Person Junie
2009 Lourdes Maria
2009 Des illusions The subway girl
2009 Inglourious Basterds Charlotte LaPadite
2009 Going South Léa
2010 Robin Hood Isabella of Angoulême
2010 Petit tailleur Marie–Julie Short film
2010 Sans laisser de traces Fleur
2010 Belle Épine Prudence Friedmann
2010 Roses à crédit Marjoline
2010 Mysteries of Lisbon Blanche de Montfort
2011 Midnight in Paris Gabrielle
2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Sabine Moreau
2011 Time Doesn't Stand Still Elle Short film
2011 My Wife's Romance Eve
2012 Farewell, My Queen Agathe-Sidonie Laborde
2012 Sister Louise
2013 Blue Is the Warmest Colour Emma
2013 Grand Central Karole
2014 Beauty and the Beast Belle
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Clotilde
2014 Saint Laurent Loulou de la Falaise
2015 Diary of a Chambermaid Célestine
2015 The Lobster Loner Leader
2015 Spectre Madeleine Swann
2016 It's Only the End of the World Suzanne
2018 Zoe Zoe
2018 Kursk Tanya
2019 Oh Mercy! Claude [89]
2021 The French Dispatch Simone
2021 Deception The English Lover
2021 The Story of My Wife[90] Lizzy
2021 France France de Meurs
2021 No Time to Die Madeleine Swann
TBA One Fine Morning Post-production
TBA Crimes of the Future Post-production

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2019 Death Stranding[91] Fragile Voice, 3D model, and motion capture

Accolades[edit]

In 2016, Seydoux was honored with the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.[92] In 2018, Seydoux was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[93]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2009 César Award Most Promising Actress The Beautiful Person Nominated
Étoiles d'or du cinéma français Female Revelation Nominated
Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur Best Actress Won
Lumières Award Most Promising Actress Nominated
Trophée Chopard Award Female Revelation of the Year Won
2010 César Award Most Promising Actress
Belle Épine
Nominated
2011 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Performance by an Ensemble
Midnight in Paris
Nominated
Prix Romy Schneider Award Prix Romy Schneider
My Wife's Romance
Nominated
2013 Lumières Award Best Actress
Grand Central
Won
César Award Best Actress Farewell, My Queen Nominated
Cabourg Film Festival Awards Best Actress Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actress Blue Is the Warmest Colour Nominated
Glamour Awards Next Breakthrough Nominated
Hamptons International Film Festival Award Breakthrough Performer Won
International Cinephile Society Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
Lumières Award Best Actress Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Cannes Film Festival Award Palme d'Or Won
Prix Romy Schneider Award Prix Romy Schneider Nominated
Portuguese Online Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actress Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Village Voice Film Poll Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2014 BAFTA Award Rising Star Award Nominated
César Award Best Actress Nominated
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Acting Ensemble The Grand Budapest Hotel Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Acting Ensemble Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Award Best Cast Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Performance by an Ensemble Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Nominated
2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Action
Spectre
Nominated
2017 Riviera International Film Festival Best Actress
It's Only the End of the World
Nominated
2020 British Academy Games Awards Performer in a Supporting Role
Death Stranding
Nominated[94]

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