Mélanie Laurent

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Mélanie Laurent
Laurent at the premiere of Inglourious Basterds
Born (1983-02-21) 21 February 1983 (age 32)
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Nationality French
Occupation Actress, Model, Singer, Writer, Director
Years active 1998–present
Religion Jewish
Partner(s) Julien Boisselier
(m. c. 2012/2013)[1]
Children 1

Mélanie Laurent (born 21 February 1983) is a French actress, model, director, singer and writer. She initially rose to prominence for her performance in the 2006 French drama film Don't Worry, I'm Fine for which she later won the César Award for Most Promising Actress and the Prix Romy Schneider as well. Laurent further became known to international audiences for her starring role as Shosanna Dreyfus in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, for which she won Best Actress from the Online Film Critics Society and the Austin Film Critics Association and then also starred in one of 2013's top-grossing Hollywood films, Now You See Me.

Laurent's other notable works include Dikkenek (2006), a Franco-Belgian comedy film for which she won Étoiles d'Or for Best Female Newcomer, French war film Days of Glory (2006), Cédric Klapisch's Paris (2008) with an ensemble cast, The Round Up (2010), a French movie depicting the true story of a Jewish boy amidst the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, Mike Mills' comedy drama Beginners (2011) for which was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress category at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, comedy drama Et soudain, tout le monde me manque (2011) which won her the Best Actress Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival , French-American nature documentary Wings of Life (2011) serving as narrator, Night Train to Lisbon (2013), Canadian-Spanish psycho thriller Enemy (2013) an adaptation of José Saramago's novel The Double, and drama film Aloft (2014). In addition she has acted in a number of French movies receiving numerous accolades including the Étoiles d'or du cinéma français (Gold Star of French Cinema).

In her first theater appearance Laurent teamed up with French theatre director Nicolas Bedos and shared the stage with actor Jérôme Kircher in 2010 for Promenade de santé. Apart from her acting career, she has also directed French movies such X Femmes, a short-film series, and Respire, an adaptation of Anne-Sophie Brasme's novel of the same name that screened in the International Critics' Week section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. She made her singing debut with a studio album En t'attendant in May 2011, the album contains twelve songs, five of which are co-written and co-produced by Irish folk musician Damien Rice. The album peaked at no. 22 and no. 35 at the Belgian Albums Charts and French Albums Charts respectively.

Early life[edit]

Laurent was born in Paris, the daughter of Annick, a ballerina,[2] and Pierre Laurent, a voiceover actor (who dubs the character Ned Flanders in the French version of The Simpsons).[3][4] She is Jewish, of both Ashkenazi (from Poland) and Sephardic (from Tunisia) ancestry.[5][6][7] Her grandfather survived deportation by the Nazis.[7] Her maternal grandparents were film poster editors.[2] She grew up in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, and was immersed in the arts from birth.[2]

Laurent's acting career began when actor Gérard Depardieu, seeing her while she watched her best friend's father working on the set of Asterix and Obelix, asked her if she wanted to be in films. Laurent replied, "Why not?" and the next week his assistant called her. He strongly advised her not to take drama classes because, according to him, she already had the necessary skills. When Laurent was 16, Depardieu gave her a part in The Bridge, a drama he starred in and co-directed with Fréderic Auburtin.[8] She only played a small role, but it was enough to further Mélanie's interest in acting.[9]


Early years[edit]

Laurent in December 2008.

Laurent appeared in 20 films between 1999 and 2009. She played minor roles in a number of movies until 2006 including Michel Blanc's drama Summer Things, Jackie Chan's co-produced Rice Rhapsody, Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped and war film Days of Glory centering Free French Forces.

Playing a depressed 19-year-old who longed for her lost twin brother, she starred in Philippe Lioret's I'm Fine, Don't Worry (2006), for which she won a César Award for Most Promising Actress as well as the Prix Romy Schneider her first major breakthrough. In 2006, Laurent and Belgian actor Jérémie Renier were awarded France's Romy Schneider and Jean Gabin Prizes for "most promising actor and actress."[10] She also starred in Franco-Belgian cult film Dikkenek, a comedy film directed by Olivier Van Hoofstadt for which she received Étoiles d'Or for Best Female Newcomer.

In 2007, she appeared in films including Le tueur and Hidden Love. She received a nomination at Lumières Award for Best Actress for her performance in La Chambre des morts.

In 2008, Laurent appeared in Paris, a multi-star French film by Cédric Klapisch concerning a diverse group of people. The movie has an ensemble cast including Laurent, Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini and François Cluzet.[11]

In the same year Laurent directed and wrote De moins en moins, which was nominated for Best Short Film at the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival. It is a 7-minute film about a patient who, in front of her psychiatrist, "remembers less and less".[12] Laurent also directed À ses pieds,[13] an erotic short film aired on the French television channel Canal+ on 25–26 October 2008, as part of a series of such shorts, called X Femmes, shot by female directors with the goal of producing erotica from a female point of view.[13]

2009 Hollywood debut with Inglorious Basterds[edit]

Laurent was scheduled to direct her first play, Mi-cuit cœur pistache (the name of a dessert she particularly likes) in January 2009 at the Théâtre Marigny in Paris. She had to abandon the project during the preparations and rehearsals when she was cast as Shosanna Dreyfus in the Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds alongside Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger and Christoph Waltz. It was a French-language role for which she learnt to speak English for a few scenes.[14] The film was a huge commercial success, grossing over $321 million in theaters worldwide, and critical success as well.

Laurent's performance was also praised by several critics. Movieline wrote, "Mélanie Laurent provides Inglourious Basterds its heart and soul. It falls to the 26-year-old French actress to anchor some of the World War II film's most challenging scenes as Shosanna, the Parisian theater owner who's seen her entire family slaughtered by Nazi Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) and seizes the opportunity to lure the S.S. into her theater for murderous revenge."[15]

Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent, and producer Lawrence Bender at a premiere of Inglourious Basterds in August 2009.

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Laurent should have received the nomination at the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards saying, "In drawing attention to one performer, in particular, whom they left out of the Best Supporting Actress category, I solemnly promise you that I won’t exploit the s-word. What I will note is that this particular omission is worth talking about, if only because I flat-out adore this performance and I suspect that many others do too," and lauding her performance added, "Laurent is radiant and, in a unique Tarantino way, heartbreaking. Sexy and luminous in the heat of her valor. Putting out fire – and setting it. It becomes an anthem of noirish dread and excitement, a sign that Laurent, as Shosanna, has found her destiny."[16]

In an interview Laurent said that she went into Inglourious Basterds with an adoration for Quentin Tarantino. "[The French] don't see him like an independent director; we just see him as the best director, ever, [from the United States]." About the process of auditioning, Mélanie said that she knew right from the start that not only was this a movie she had to be in but that she was Shosanna. "I am strong and I just had that dream to kill Adolf Hitler. I am Jewish so it was like an obsession for me." But Quentin played hard to get. "I had to wait 4 days. Then he called, and he said. 'Hey Honey, how are you?' And I was like, 'I am not fine. Give me a yes or give me a no. Just tell me something.' And he said, 'Would you be my Shosanna?' And I was like, 'What? Oh yeah, yeah.'"[17]

In addition Laurent won a number of accolades for her portrayal of Shosana including Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress and Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress and nominations at the Detroit Film Critics Society Awards, Empire Award for Best Actress and Saturn Award for Best Actress among others. The highly anticipated movie, which had been in development since 1998, marked Laurent's first major role in an American film and Laurent found herself pushed into mainstream success in North America.[18]

Her then-partner Julien Boisselier, as well as Marie Denarnaud, Mélanie Doutey and Louise Monot were to act in the production while short movie clips were to be projected on stage, some of them shot at the nightclub Le Baron, which Laurent used to frequent during the writing period.[19]

In 2010 Laurent starred in The Round Up, a French film directed by Roselyne Bosch and produced by Alain Goldman alongside Jean Reno, Sylvie Testud and Gad Elmaleh. Based on the true story of a young Jewish boy, the film depicts the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, the mass arrest of Jews by French police who were Nazi accomplices in Paris in July 1942.[20]


Laurent also had planned another feature film, Putain de pluie!, whose script she co-wrote with Morgan Perez and which she intended to direct, produced by Alain Attal's Productions du Trésor. Originally set for filming in the spring of 2009, it was postponed because of her work on Inglourious Basterds.[19][21] Knowing that she could speak French and had already acted in French in one of the short films in Paris, je t'aime, she offered the first role to Natalie Portman, who declined because of the language of the script.[12] Laurent played the part of the violinist in Radu Mihăileanu's Le Concert—she called it "a smart movie and a popular movie, and I'm glad because French people wanted to watch a movie with classical music."

Laurent promotes Aloft in Berlin.

Laurent was the hostess of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 64th Cannes Film Festival.[22] In 2011 Laurent teamed with Mike Mills, appearing opposite Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer in Beginners, a dramedy that marks the director’s sophomore narrative feature and the actress’ second English-speaking role in an American film. Beginners tells the story of Oliver (McGregor), a sensitive yet romantically challenged graphic designer who meets Anna (Laurent), an irreverent and beautiful French actress, only months after losing his father (Plummer) to cancer. Loosely based on Mills’ own life, most notably the part about a father coming out of the closet at the age of 75 after the passing of his wife of 45 years, this is a personal project.[23]

In 2013 she appeared in the caper film Now You See Me as a French Interpol agent who investigates the bank theft alongside Mark Ruffalo and an ensemble cast. The movie was a major commercial success, receiving mixed reviews but praise for the performances of the entire cast.[24] Laurent then starred in Night Train to Lisbon, a 2013 drama film based on the novel of the same name directed by Bille August opposite Jeremy Irons.[25]

Laurent then co-starred in the 2013 Canadian-Spanish psychological thriller film Enemy, directed by Denis Villeneuve, loosely adapted by Javier Gullón from José Saramago's 2002 novel The Double. The film starred Jake Gyllenhaal as two men who are physically identical, but different in terms of personality. Laurent and Sarah Gadon co-star as the romantic partners of the men. It was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[26]

In 2014, Laurent appeared in Aloft, a 2014 drama film written and directed by Claudia Llosa, alongside Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy. The film premiered in competition at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Laurent next co-starred in Angelina Jolie's By the Sea, an American drama film, directed and written by Jolie. The movie also stars Jolie and Brad Pitt, and was released on November 13, 2015, by Universal Pictures.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Laurent was in a long-term relationship with fellow French actor Julien Boisselier which ended in 2009. She describes recording artist Damien Rice and filmographer Quentin Tarantino as two "masters" in terms of their art.[28] With Rice, she recorded her first album, living between Woodstock, New York and his home in Ireland. Spending time in his home in Ireland inspired her to maintain a compost heap and eat organic food.[2][29]

Her first child by her companion, a son named Léo, was born in September 2013.[30][31]

Laurent has visited a Climate Defenders Camp in the peatlands of the Indonesian Rainforest with Greenpeace activists. She is one of the Climate Ambassadors for Kofi Annan's Global Humanitarian Forum "Tck Tck Tck" Campaign.[32] Laurent has also joined the campaign against overfishing on the invitation of the Blue Marine Foundation, and was cast for the voice-over of documentary The End of the Line. She was one of the leading celebrities of the campaign Fish Fight France, which aimed (and succeeded) at citizens asking for a new European law lowering the level of fish discards in European seas.[33]

Laurent explained in 2009 that she doesn’t have ambitions to be a crossover actress. She loves France, her street, her café, and not having to use a car. Rather than go on to work on a big budget American movie after Inglourious Basterds, her next role was in a small theater piece in France.[17]

Laurent has written and directed movies and in an interview with Indiewire admitted she loves writing: “[Writing is] especially super exciting because you have everything to do and most of your ideas come from that first part… you just imagine things, and you imagine actors.” She described the shooting process as “the fun part” because of “working with people I love—it’s always a great human moment because we’re sharing things and it’s good to see people who are here for you and your story, to tell your story. It’s really beautiful, it’s why I love making movies.” She also mentioned that as a writer-director she enjoys that “you don’t wait for the desire of someone else”.[34]


As actress[edit]

Laurent at the premiere of Django Unchained.
Year Film Role Director Notes
1998 Les Malheurs de Sophie Young Madeleine de Fleurville TV Series (1 Episode: "Retour en France")
1999 Un pont entre deux rives Lisbeth Frédéric Auburtin
Gérard Depardieu
2000 Route de nuit Francesca Laurent Dussaux TV film
2001 Ceci est mon corps Clara Rodolphe Marconi
2002 Summer Things Carole Michel Blanc
2003 La Faucheuse Isabelle Vincenzo Marano
Patrick Timsit
Jean Moulin, une affaire française Young Alice Arguel Pierre Aknine TV film
Snowboarder Célia Olias Barco
2004 Une vie à t'attendre The girl at the factory Thierry Klifa
Rice Rhapsody Sabine Kenneth Bi
The Last Day Louise Rodolphe Marconi
2005 The Beat That My Heart Skipped Minskov's Girlfriend Jacques Audiard
Les Visages d'Alice Alice David Ungaro Short
2006 Days of Glory Marguerite Rachid Bouchareb
Dikkenek Natacha Olivier Van Hoofstadt Étoiles d'Or for Best Female Newcomer
Don't Worry, I'm Fine Élise "Lili" Tellier Philippe Lioret César Award for Most Promising Actress
Lumières Award for Most Promising Actress
Étoiles d'Or for Best Female Newcomer
Nominated—Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actress
Nominated—NRJ Ciné Award for Best Young Talent in a Debut Film
2007 Hidden Love Sophie Alessandro Capone
Le Tueur Stella Cédric Anger
Beluga Jean-Marc Fabre
Room of Death Lucie Hennebelle Alfred Lot Nominated—Lumières Award for Best Actress
2008 Paris Laetitia Cédric Klapisch
Voyage d'affaires Hotel receptionist Sean Ellis Short
2009 Jusqu'à toi Chloé Jennifer Devoldère
Inglourious Basterds Shosanna Dreyfus Quentin Tarantino Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Empire Award for Best Actress
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated— St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Le Concert Anne-Marie Jacquet Radu Mihăileanu
2010 The Round Up Annette Monod Rose Bosch
2011 Beginners Anna Mike Mills Gotham Awards for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress; First English-language role
Pollen Narrator Louis Schwartzberg
Requiem for a Killer Lucrèce Jérôme Le Gris
The Day I Saw Your Heart Justine Dhrey Jennifer Devoldère Newport Beach Film Festival for Best Actress
The Adopted Lisa Mélanie Laurent
2013 Night Train to Lisbon Young Estefania Bille August
Now You See Me Alma Dray Louis Leterrier
Epic Mary Katherine (voice) Chris Wedge French dub
2014 Aloft Jannia Ressmore Claudia Llosa
Enemy Mary Denis Villeneuve
2015 Inside Out Disgust (voice) Pete Docter French dub
Boomerang Agathe Rey François Favrat
By the Sea Lea Angelina Jolie
2016 Éternité Tran Anh Hung
Mon nom à Pigalle Hamé and Ekoué
Mike Dr. Bauer Eytan Fox

As filmmaker[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Screenwriter
2008 De moins en moins Yes Yes Short film
Nominated—2008 Cannes Film Festival - Short Film Palme d'Or
2008 X Femmes Yes Yes Short film (season 1, episode 6)
2011 The Adopted Yes Yes
2012 Surpêche Yes Yes Short documentary film (also as cinematographer, editor and producer)
2014 Respire Yes Yes Nominated—Stockholm International Film Festival - Bronze Horse for Best Film
2015 Demain Yes Documentary film
2016 Plonger Yes Yes



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (1 March 2013). "Melanie Laurent: Quentin Tarantino star is on the right track". The Independent. 
  2. ^ a b c d Le Vaillant, Luc (2009-06-08). "Mélanie Laurent : coup de fougue". Libération.fr. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  3. ^ "Mélanie Laurent – Director, Screenwriter, Actress". French movies professional directory. uniFrance. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  4. ^ Mélanie Laurent : Rétrospective. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1hkh3_melanie-laurent-retrospective_people: Dailymotion. 2009. 
  5. ^ WENN (2009-08-14). "Laurent is happy to be the 'face of Jewish vengeance'". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  6. ^ Gorov, Lynda (2009-08-16). "Glorious women". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  7. ^ a b Frétard, Dominique (2007-12-05). "Elles s’appellent toutes Mélanie". Le Monde. pp. 50–53. Retrieved 2010-03-26. 
  8. ^ "Laurent interview with Kaleem Aftab, 'In it for the drama and the danger'" (2 July 2010) The Independent
  9. ^ http://m.imdb.com/name/nm0491259/bio?ref_=m_mn_ov_bio
  10. ^ James, Alison (2006-10-17). "Renier, Laurent win thesp kudos, Pair appear in police thriller 'La Chambre des morts'". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  11. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/film/2008/jul/25/drama
  12. ^ a b Antheaume, Alice (2008-05-20). "Mélanie Laurent: "Je vais demander à Natalie Portman de tenir le premier rôle de mon film"". Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  13. ^ a b "X Femmes" à minuit sur C+ (−18)". le blog TV News (in French). tvnews.over-blog.com. 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  14. ^ Inglourious Basterds Movie Special with Alex Zane, Channel 4
  15. ^ http://movieline.com/2009/08/19/inglourious-basterds-melanie-laurent/
  16. ^ http://www.ew.com/article/2009/12/19/the-wrong-actress-from-basterds
  17. ^ a b http://www.cinemablend.com/new/M-lanie-Laurent-Interview-On-Inglourious-Basterds-And-Loving-France-14478.html
  18. ^ http://www.tribute.ca/people/melanie-laurent/11567/
  19. ^ a b Reygner, Laureline (2008-09-25). "La sublime et talentueuse Mélanie Laurent est sur tous les fronts !". Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  20. ^ http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/afm/alain-goldman-mounts-french-holocaust-epic-with-gaumont/5007642.article
  21. ^ "Hommage au Producteur Alain Attal en sa présence" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  22. ^ "Cannes 2011 : Carla Bruni, Mélanie Laurent et les films attendus!". Yahoo. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  23. ^ http://anthemmagazine.com/a-conversation-with-mike-mills-and-melanie-laurent/
  24. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/now_you_see_me/
  25. ^ http://www.berlinale.de/en/presse/pressemitteilungen/alle/Alle-Detail_16724.html
  26. ^ http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/festival/2013/enemy
  27. ^ http://www.thewrap.com/angelina-jolie-brad-pitt-movie-by-the-sea-lands-awards-season-release-date/
  28. ^ "Interview: Melanie Laurent for Inglourious Basterds". ScreenCrave. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "La vie en vert de Mélanie Laurent". Elle. Retrieved 2009-11-13.  (interview)
  30. ^ http://www.lanouvellerepublique.fr/Toute-zone/Loisirs/Cinema/n/Contenus/Articles/2013/05/19/Melanie-Laurent-bientot-le-plus-beau-des-roles-1471529 (interview)
  31. ^ Xavière Laffont - Figaro Madame (1 October 2013). "Mélanie Laurent a accouché". Madame Figaro. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  32. ^ "Inglourious treehuggers dam climate change!". Greenpeace International. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  33. ^ Jérémi Michaux. "Des vedettes pour mobiliser contre les dérives de la pêche industrielle". Le Monde.fr. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  34. ^ http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/interview-melanie-laurent-talks-directing-being-impressed-by-mommy-and-working-with-brad-pitt-angelina-jolie-20141215
  35. ^ "Promenade de santé – Mélanie Laurent" (in French), Artistik Rezo, Mathilde Degorce. 2010-02-22.
  36. ^ Mélanie Laurent Enlists Damien Rice for Debut Album Twenty Four Bit. 6 March 2011

External links[edit]