Benoît Magimel

Active - 1989 - 2012  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Nathan Southern

The impossibly slick and suave, fair-haired Gallic actor Benoît Magimel grew up as the son of a Parisian banker and entered the ranks of show business at age 12, when he responded to a casting call for director Étienne Chatiliez's offbeat comedy La Vie est Une Longue Fleuve Tranquille (1988). He promptly landed the lead in that smash, and his performance as one of two little boys switched at birth put him on the international map; in subsequent years, he grew into one of the most prolific French performers of his generation, enjoying collaborations with top-tiered directors including André Téchiné (Les Voleurs, 1996), Mathieu Kassovitz (La haine, 1995), and Michael Haneke (La Pianiste, 2001). The said Téchiné role, in particular, further ensured his stardom, placing him alongside heavyweights Daniel Auteuil and Catherine Deneuve and proving that he could more than hold his own (in fact, he netted a César Award for it -- the French Oscar -- as the most promising actor). Magimel's many additional projects included the lead in the racially themed drama Lisa (2001) opposite Jeanne Moreau, another lead in director Olivier Dahan's supernaturally charged detective drama The Crimson Rivers II (2006) opposite Jean Reno, and a four-barreled portrayal of an unstable pharmaceutical heir in director Claude Chabrol's acerbic black comedy thriller La Fille Coupée en Deux (2007).