Cassel in 2011
23 November 1966
|Residence||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
(m. 1999; div. 2013)
|Relatives||Mathias Crochon (brother)|
Cécile Cassel (half-sister)
Vincent Cassel (French pronunciation: [vɛ̃sɑ̃ kasɛl]; born Vincent Crochon, 23 November 1966) is a French actor. He first achieved recognition for his performance as a troubled French Jewish youth, in Matthieu Kassovitz's 1995 film La Haine (Hate), for which he received two César Award nominations. He garnered wide recognition with English-speaking audiences for his performances in Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007), as well as Eastern Promises (2007), Black Swan (2010), and Jason Bourne (2016). Cassel is also renowned for playing the infamous French bank-robber Jacques Mesrine in Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One (both in 2008).
Early life and family
Cassel was born in Paris, France, to journalist Sabine Litique and actor Jean-Pierre Cassel (born Jean-Pierre Crochon). Cassel's brother, Mathias, is a rapper with the group Assassin under the name "Rockin' Squat". His half-sister, Cécile Cassel, is an actress.
Early work in France (1990s)
Cassel's breakthrough role was in Mathieu Kassovitz's critically acclaimed film La Haine (1995), in which he portrayed a troubled youth living in the deprived outskirts of Paris. For his role in La Haine, Cassel was nominated for two César Awards, for Best Actor and Most Promising Actor.
Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, Cassel performed in a string of French films. In 1996, he starred opposite Monica Bellucci (before they married) in the moody French film L'Appartement. The film was a critical success, winning a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and the first British Independent Film Award for the Best Film in a Foreign Language. The film was also a modest hit in France gaining 55,565 admissions its opening weekend and 152,714 admissions total. Although the film was never released theatrically in the United States, it was released on DVD on August 22, 2006.
In 1998, he portrayed Henry, Duc d'Anjou in Elizabeth. In 1999, he portrayed Gilles de Rais in Luc Besson's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. Other notable roles during this period of his career include the violent film Dobermann (1997), the genre-bending Le Pacte des Loups (2001), and the highly controversial Irréversible (2002), where he appears fully nude (with Monica Bellucci, after they married).
Transition into English films (2000s)
Since the early 2000s, Cassel has also appeared in a number of English-language films, such as Shrek (as the voice of Monsieur Hood) and Birthday Girl (both 2001) Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen (2004, 2007), and Derailed (2005).
In 2007, Cassel attracted significant critical acclaim for his performance in David Cronenberg's thriller film Eastern Promises, in which he starred opposite Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. The film premiered September 8, 2007 at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Audience Prize for best film on September 15, 2007. Film Journal International critic Doris Toumarkine dubbed Cassel's performance "particularly delicious". J. Hoberman of The Village Voice wrote that "Cassel literally flings himself into [his role]".
In October 2008, Cassel was signed to be the face of a new Yves Saint Laurent men's fragrance. The new fragrance, La Nuit de l'Homme, was launched worldwide in 2009. Cassel appeared in a two-part film about Jacques Mesrine, who was France's "public enemy number one" in the seventies. He won the César Award for Best Actor for his performance as Mesrine. Also that year, he starred in the Portuguese-language, Brazilian film Adrift (À Deriva), and made his debut as a singer on Zap Mama's album ReCreation, singing alongside them on the singles "Paroles, Paroles" and "Non, Non, Non".
Later work (2010s)
The following year, in 2010, Cassel played Thomas Leroy in Darren Aronofsky's critically acclaimed Black Swan (2010), alongside Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, which attracted considerable acclaim. For his performance in Black Swan, was nominated alongside his cast for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
In 2011, Cassel played the lead role in the French-Spanish thriller-drama film The Monk, directed by Dominik Moll. Screen Daily praised his performance, writing that "Cassel exudes otherworldly gravitas and his singular looks are perfect for the role." That year, he also starred in the German-Canadian historical film A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg; in the latter, he starred opposite Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, and Mortensen (marking their second film together). The film premiered at the 68th Venice Film Festival and was also featured at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
In 2014, he portrayed The Beast opposite Léa Seydoux as Belle in the French-language adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The film was screened out of competition at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. It was released in France on in February 2014 to positive reviews, becoming a box office success. In Japan, the film topped the box office on its release, making it the first non-English-language foreign film to top the Japanese box office since Red Cliff II in 2009, and the first French film to top the Japanese box office since Mathieu Kassovitz's The Crimson Rivers in 2001.
In 2016, Cassel was featured in American action thriller film Jason Bourne, directed by Paul Greengrass; the film is the fifth installment of the Bourne film series and a direct sequel to The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing more than $400 million worldwide. That year, he also attracted critical acclaim for his performance as Antoine in Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. For his work in the film, Cassel won the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role; he also received nominations for the César Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actor, and the Jury Prize for Best Actor at the Riviera International Film Festival.
Cassel met Italian actress Monica Bellucci on the set of their 1996 film The Apartment. They married in 1999, and have two daughters, Deva (born 12 September 2004) and Léonie (born 21 May 2010). Cassel and Bellucci announced their divorce on 26 August 2013.
Besides his native French, Cassel speaks English, Portuguese, Italian, and basic conversational Russian, which he learned for his role in Eastern Promises. Since 2013, he lives in Rio de Janeiro, initially in Arpoador (with ex-wife Monica Bellucci), and in Morro do Vidigal after their divorce. Cassel is known for having a great identification with Brazil, being a practitioner of the martial art of capoeira; he displayed this talent in the movie Ocean's Twelve. He also trains in wing chun.
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