Matthias Schoenaerts

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Matthias Schoenaerts
Matthias Schoenaerts Cannes 2015.jpg
Schoenaerts at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Born (1977-12-08) 8 December 1977 (age 38)
Antwerp, Belgium
Other names Zenith
Occupation Actor, producer
Years active 1992–present
Parent(s) Julien Schoenaerts (father)
Dominique Wiche (mother)
Relatives Bruno Schoenaerts (half brother)

Matthias Schoenaerts (Dutch: [ˈmɑtjɑs ˈsçunaːrts]; born 8 December 1977) is a Belgian actor, producer and graffiti artist.[1] He made his film debut at the age of 13 in Daens (1992), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He is best known for his roles as Filip in Loft (2008), Jacky Vanmarsenille in the Oscar-nominated Bullhead (2011), Ali in Rust and Bone (2012), Eric Deeds in The Drop (2014), Bruno von Falk in Suite Française (2015), Gabriel Oak in Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) and Hans Axgil in The Danish Girl.

In 2013, he won the César Award for Most Promising Actor for Rust and Bone.

In 2015, he was named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Schoenaerts was born in Antwerp, Belgium. He is the son of actor Julien Schoenaerts and costume designer Dominique Wiche. He has an older half brother, Bruno Schoenaerts (born 1953),[2] who is a lawyer.[3]

In 1987, at nine years old, he appeared on a stage production of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince opposite his father;[4] his mother was the costume designer of the play.[5]

Schoenaerts grew up bilingual[6] speaking Flemish/Dutch and French. He is also fluent in English,[7] which he learned by watching American movies.[8]

He started producing graffiti as a teenager under the pseudonym "Zenith",[9] even going to New York to collaborate with the Bronx group TATS CRU.[10] It is possible to watch some videos of Schoenaerts doing graffiti in Belgium on YouTube.[11]

He was close to becoming a professional soccer player and was on the books of Belgian team Beerschot AC, but gave up when he was 16 years old.[12][13]


Early work in Belgium and Netherlands (1992–2011)[edit]

At the age of 13, Schoenaerts made his film debut with a small role in the 1992 Belgian film Daens, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. His father also starred in the film.

In 2003, Schoenaerts was named one of "Europe's Shooting Stars" by the European Film Promotion.[14]

After completing studies at The Academy of Dramatic Arts in Antwerp, he featured in several shorts and feature films, like Dorothée Van Den Berghe's Meisje (Girl)[15] in 2002; Tom Barman's Any Way the Wind Blows in 2003; Rudolf Mestdagh's Ellektra[16] and Roel Mondelaers & Raf Reyntjens's sci-fi short film A Message from Outer Space,[17] which he also produced in 2004.

In 2006, Schoenaerts played Dennis in Hilde Van Mieghem's Love Belongs to Everyone, and appeared in Paul Verhoeven's Black Book.

In 2007, he starred in Ben van Lieshout's De Muze[18] and in Erik Bruyn's Nadine.

In 2008, he played Bob in Pieter van Hees's horror film Left Bank, and most notably played the role of Filip in Erik Van Looy's Loft, which became the most successful Flemish film at the Belgian box-office, earning over $7,075,161.[19][20] In the same year, Schoenaerts also starred in the mini-series The Emperor of Taste (De smaak van De Keyser), playing a Belgian soldier in World War II.[21]

In 2009, he starred in Dorothée Van Den Berghe's My Queen Karo, in which he played the hippie Raven in 1970's Amsterdam.[22]

In 2010, he appeared in Alex Stockman's Techno-thriller Pulsar and had a cameo in Franck Richard's La Meute (The Pack).

In 2011, Schoenaerts starred in the Dutch films The Gang of Oss[23] and The President.[24]

Breakthrough: Bullhead and Rust and Bone (2011–2013)[edit]

In 2011, Schoenaerts played the lead role in Bullhead, directed by Michaël R. Roskam, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. His performance in the film was well received and won him the FIPRESCI Award for best actor at Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2012. The jury praised the actor's "superb portrayal of an innocent and sensitive man trapped in a truculent body."[25][26] He also won the Magritte Award for Best Actor.

Schoenaerts next to Marion Cotillard, Armand Verdure and Jacques Audiard during the premiere of Rust and Bone at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.

In 2012, he starred in Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os) alongside Marion Cotillard.[27][28] The film premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was a critical and box office hit in France.[29][30] On 22 February 2013, Matthias won the César Award for Most Promising Actor for his role in Rust and Bone.[31][32]

Schoenaerts also starred in and produced the Belgian short film Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)[33] of director Tom Van Avermaet. On 10 January 2013, the short film was nominated for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.[34][35]

In 2013, he narrated the Flemish version of the Disneynature documentary Chimpanzee.[36]

International career[edit]

In 2014, Schoenaerts appeared alongside Clive Owen, Billy Crudup and again Marion Cotillard in the thriller Blood Ties, in which he played Anthony Scarfo.[37][38] The film premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He also played Eric Deeds in The Drop, his second film with Michael R. Roskam, starring opposite Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini.[39] In the same year, he was cast as Roy Cady in the film adaptation of Nic Pizzolatto's novel Galveston, directed by Janus Metz Pedersen.[40]

Schoenaerts was the face of Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring/Summer 2014.[41]

Schoenaerts holding his award at the 2013 César Awards ceremony.

In 2015, he appeared in 7 films: The Loft, the American remake of the Belgian Loft, in which he played the same character; in Saul Dibb's Suite Française, playing German soldier Bruno von Falk opposite Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas;[42] in Thomas Vinterberg's Far from the Madding Crowd as Gabriel Oak,[43] one of Carey Mulligan's three love interests;[44][45] in Alan Rickman's period drama A Little Chaos, as French landscape architect André Le Nôtre, opposite Kate Winslet.[46] Schoenaerts also starred in Alice Winocour's French thriller Disorder (Maryland), as an ex-soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder;[47] played Paul in Luca Guadagnino's thriller A Bigger Splash, starring opposite Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Dakota Johnson[48][49] and will team up with Johnson again in the film "The Sound of Metal".[50] He also played the art-dealer Hans Axgil in Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl.[51][52] A Bigger Splash and The Danish Girl made their world premieres at the 2015 Venice Film Festival, both were screened in the official competition.[53][54]

Schoenaerts will play William Clark on HBO's miniseries Lewis and Clark, co-starring Casey Affleck as Meriwether Lewis. Production is slated to begin Summer 2015 on the six-hour miniseries executive produced by Tom Hanks, Edward Norton, and Brad Pitt.[55]

On 28 July 2015, Schoenaerts was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France. This distinction is awarded by the French Ministry of Culture to people "who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the artistic or literary field or the contribution they have made to the influence of the arts and literature in France and in the world".[56]

On 24 August 2015, it was announced that Schoenaerts became the co-owner of the Belgian casting agency Hakuna Casting,[57] which focuses on people of ethnic origin. The agency collaborated on the casting of films like Black by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and Belgica by Felix Van Groeningen.[58]

Directorial debut[edit]

His directorial debut, Franky, is a documentary about a one-legged childhood friend of his who became a MMA fighter, Franky van Hove.[59] The documentary is currently in post-production.[60]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Daens Wannes Scholliers
2001 Flikken Jens Goossens TV series
1 episode
2002 De blauwe roos Minnaar Short
2002 Waternimf Short
2002 Stille waters Rechercheur TV series
1 episode
2002 Girl Oskar
2003 Zien Man Short
2003 Any Way the Wind Blows Chouki
2004 Je veux quelque chose et je ne sais pas quoi Jaap Short
2004 A Message from Outer Space Frits Short
2004 Ellektra DJ Cosmonaut X
2004 Gender Short
2005 Another Day Short
2005 Einde van de rit Short
2005 Dochter Mattias Short
2005 Exit Anthony Short
2005 Une seule chose à faire Short
2006 Love Belongs to Everyone Dennis
2006 Black Book Joop
2007 De muze
2007 Nadine Cornee
2008 Left Bank Bob
2008 Tunnelrat John Atkins Short
2008 Loft Filip Willems
2008 De smaak van De Keyser Alfred Lenaerts TV series
Nominated—Monte-Carlo Television Festival's Golden Nymph for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series
2009 Afterday Jef Short
2009 Los zand Vincent Vandeweghe TV series
2009 My Queen Karo Raven
2010 The Pack Le Gothique en toc
2010 Pulsar Samuel Verbist
2010 Duts TV series
2010 Injury Time Van Dessel short
2011 Bullhead Jacky Vanmarsenille Austin Fantastic Fest's Next Wave Award for Best Actor
Les Arcs European Film Festival Award for Best Actor
AFI Fest's New Auteurs Award for Best Actor
Magritte Award for Best Actor
Palm Springs International Film Festival's FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actor
Flanders Film Award for Best Actor
Film Festival Oostende's Ensor Award for Best Actor
2-in-1 International Film Festival's Heroes Award for Best Actor
Saint-Jean-de-Luz Young Filmmakers Festival's Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated—International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actor
2011 De president Krasimir
2011 The Gang of Oss Ties van Heesch
2012 Rust and Bone Ali Valladolid International Film Festival's Award for Best Actor
César Award for Most Promising Actor
Étoiles d'Or Award for Best Male Newcomer
Nominated—Magritte Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
2012 Death of a Shadow Nathan Rijckx Short
2013 Chimpanzee Narrator Documentary
2013 Blood Ties Anthony Scarfo
2014 The Drop Eric Deeds
2015 The Loft Philip Williams
2015 Suite Française Bruno von Falk
2015 A Little Chaos André Le Nôtre
2015 Far from the Madding Crowd Gabriel Oak
2015 Disorder Vincent
2015 A Bigger Splash Paul
2015 The Danish Girl Hans Axgil Capri-Hollywood International Film Festival's Award for Revelation of the Year[61][62]
2016 Lewis and Clark William Clark Filming; HBO mini-series
2016 The Faithful
2016 Galveston Roy Cady On hold

Personal life[edit]

Schoenaerts lives in Antwerp, Belgium and is currently single.[63][64][65]


  1. ^ Matthias Schoenarts in IMDB
  2. ^ "Bruno Schoenaerts op Netlog". (in Dutch). Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts interview: 'I think cautious is boring. I want to be bad'". The Sunday Telegraph. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Julien and Matthias Schoenaerts rehearsing 'The Little Prince' (1987)". YouTube. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "VTi – Producties – De kleine prins (1987–1988)". Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "They're Antiheroes: Matthias Schoenaerts on Rust and Bone". 21 November 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts Looking for His Next Crush". 20 March 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Talking love and movies with 'Belgian Brando' Matthias Schoenaerts". EW. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
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  12. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts: 'I have a very interesting problem with authority'". The Irish Times. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Rundskop is een Rat". (in Flemish). 25 January 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts – Shooting Star 2003". Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "Meisje/Girl (2002) – Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "eLLektra -Rudolf Mestdagh". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  17. ^ "A Message From Outer Space (2004) Trailer – Matthias Schoenaerts". YouTube. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  18. ^ "De Muze/The Muse (2007) – Trailer with Matthias Schoenaerts". YouTube. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "'Loft' breekt record van 'Koko Flanel'". De Standaard (in Dutch). 19 February 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
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  21. ^ "The Emperor of Taste tailer". YouTube. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  22. ^ "Trailer My Queen Karo". YouTube. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  23. ^ "The Gang of Oss – Mountain Road". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  24. ^ "DE PRESIDENT trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
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  33. ^ "Death of a Shadow – Trailer". YouTube. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  34. ^ "Death of a Shadow nominated for Best Live Action Short Oscar". 10 January 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  35. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (23 February 2013). "Interview: César Winner Matthias Schoenaerts Talks Oscar Nominated Short 'Death Of A Shadow'". IndieWire. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  36. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts in Disneynature's "Chimpanzee"". 
  37. ^ De Becker, Annelies (12 April 2012). "Schoenaerts speelt met Mila Kunis in 'Blood Ties'" (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  38. ^ Dang, Simon (16 April 2012). "Lili Taylor & 'The Wire' Star Domenick Lombardozzi Join 'Blood Ties'; 'Bullhead' & 'Rust & Bone' Star Matthias Schoenaerts Confirmed". IndieWire. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  39. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (23 February 2013). "Exclusive: Matthias Schoenaerts Joins 'Animal Rescue' With Tom Hardy & Noomi Rapace". IndieWire. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  40. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts To Star In 'Galveston' From 'True Detective' Writer Nic Pizzolatto". Indiewire. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  41. ^ "Actor Matthias Schoenaerts Is The New Face of Louis Vuitton". Bello Mag. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  42. ^ Bustos, Kristina (25 November 2012). "Matthias Schoenaerts joins Michelle Williams in 'Suite Française'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  43. ^ "Carey Mulligan handpicked Matthias Schoenaerts for 'Far from the Madding Crowd'". YouTube. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  44. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (11 April 2013). "BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Carey Mulligan's the new face in the Madding Crowd". Daily Mail. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  45. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (17 May 2013). "Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts Set For Searchlight's 'Far From The Madding Crowd'". PMC. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  46. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (17 January 2013). "Kate Winslet & Matthias Schoenaerts To Star in Alan Rickman Directed Period Drama 'A Little Chaos'". IndieWire. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  47. ^ "Indie Sales Nabs Int'l Rights to Thriller 'Close Protection' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  48. ^ "Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Margot Robbie & Matthias Schoenaerts Team For Luca Guadagnino's Sexy Thriller". Indiewire. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  49. ^ "First still of "A Bigger Splash": Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes". 27 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts joins Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl". Empire. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  52. ^ "A lover not a fighter". The Herald. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  53. ^ "Two Matthias Schoenaerts' movies at Venice Film Festival". 30 July 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  54. ^ "Venice Festival: Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts to Pull Double Duty". The Hollywood Reporter. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  55. ^ "'Lewis And Clark' Miniseries Gets Formal Greenlight By HBO; Matthias Schoenaerts To Star With Casey Affleck". 30 January 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  56. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts fait Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres en France". (in French). 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  57. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts prend une participation dans un bureau de casting" (in French). 24 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  58. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts à la recherche d'acteurs d'origine étrangère" (in French). 25 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  59. ^ "Schoenaerts to helm 'Franky'". Variety. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  60. ^ "Franky". Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  61. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts con il suo Danish girl oggi a CapriHollywod". (in Italian). 29 December 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  62. ^ "'The Hateful Eight' Sweeps Capri-Hollywood Film Fest Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  63. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts gets Gabriel's appeal". USA Today. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  64. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts: "Je me suis séparé de ma copine... et de mes chats"". (in French). 25 September 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  65. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts: 'Loyalty is everything'". 5 January 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 

External links[edit]