François Berléand

Active - 1938 - 2020  |   Born - Apr 22, 1952 in Paris, France  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Nathan Southern

One of the sturdiest supporting players in French cinema for decades and an instantly recognizable face onscreen, François Berléand seemed as comfortable in genteel, laid-back slice-of-lifers as he did in saucy, edgy erotic dramas; throughout his career (unlike some of his Gallic colleagues), this distinguished performer remained squarely in France and seldom, if ever, worked internationally. Berléand accepted one of his earliest roles in director Bob Swaim's violent and cynical 1982 police thriller La Balance (an arthouse hit in its day), then subsequently worked for directors including Caroline Huppert (Signe Charlotte, 1986), Nicole Garcia (Place Vendôme, 1998), and Benoît Jacquot (Seventh Heaven, 1997).

American arthouse audiences may most commonly associate the thespian, however, with a pair of collaborations: his two-film association with the eminent Louis Malle (for whom he played a priest in Au Revoir les Enfants and a bourgeois family member in May Fools) and his sizzling work for Catherine Breillat as a sadomasochistic professor in the director's groundbreaking, feminist-infused erotic drama Romance (1999). In 2006, Berléand teamed up with the celebrated Guillaume Canet for a supporting role in the psychological thriller Tell No One. In addition, Berléand appeared as Inspector Tarconi in the action-packed Transporter movies and portrayed Gilles Triquet, the equivalent of David Brent (Ricky Gervais) and Michael Scott (Steve Carell), on Le Bureau (2006), the French version of The Office.

Movie Highlights

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  • À 11 ans, son père lui dit qu'il est "le fils de l'homme invisible". Cette simple boutade, allusion au célèbre feuilleton, le rend presque fou. Il raconte son traumatisme dans une autobiographie, "Le fils de l'homme invisible", en 2006.
  • Pendant ses études de commerce, il s'inscrit à un groupe de théâtre, sans conviction.
  • Il a fréquenté la troupe du Splendid mais a refusé de les rejoindre.
  • Il travaille à neuf reprises sous la direction de Pierre Jolivet, qui lui permet d'obtenir le César du Meilleur second rôle dans "Ma petite entreprise" (1999).
  • Son premier grand rôle populaire, c'est Guillaume Canet qui le lui offre dans "Mon idole" en 2000.
  • Son physique froid et son humour distancié ont fait de lui un abonné aux rôles de salaud et de râleur pathétique.