PROFILE
Name:
Lambert Wilson
Birth Date:
August 3, 1958
Birth Place:
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Nationality:
French
BIOGRAPHY
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Matrix Villain

Background:

French actor Lambert Wilson, the son of celebrated actor Georges Wilson, has created a reputation for himself as a productive leading man in his native country with more than 60 movies under his belt, including his César nominated performances in “Femme publique, La” (1984), “Rendez-vous” (1985), “Hiver 54, l'abbé Pierre/Winter of '54: Father Pierre” (1989), “On connaît la chanson/Same Old Song” (1997) and “Jetset” (2000). However, the good looking actor did not enjoy huge popularity in America until he was cast in the role of evil Merovingian in “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (both 2003). He also appeared in “Timeline” (2003), “Catwoman” (2004, earned a Razzie nomination), “Sahara” (2005) and “Flawless” (2007). Other notable credits include “Five Days One Summer” (1982), “The Belly of an Architect” (1987), “The Possessed” (1988), “El Dorado” (1988), “Jefferson in Paris” (1995), “Marquise” (1997), “The Last September” (1999), “Pas sur la Bouche” (2003) and “Coeurs” (2006). Wilson has also appeared in many TV productions and on the stage. Outside of acting, he is an accomplished singer and recorded the albums “Musicals” (1989) and “Demon e & Merveilles” (1996).

Recently starring in “Dante 01” (2008), Wilson portrayed roles in the films “The Lazarus Project (2008, with Paul Walker), “Babylon A.D. (2008) and “Victor” (2009). He will soon appear in “Imogene McCarthery,” “The Princess of Montpensier” and “Of Gods and Men” (all 2010).


Son of an Actor

Childhood and Family:

Lambert Wilson was born on August 3, 1958, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. He is the son of renowned French actor Georges Wilson and Nicole, a former photo model. He graduated from London's Drama Center in 1977.


Five Days One Summer

Career:

Lambert Wilson made his first film appearance in director Fred Zinnemann's “Julia” (1977), which starred Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. He returned to France after graduating from London's Drama Center and appeared in several French television dramas and feature films, including the miniseries “Gaston Phébus” (1978) and the Jean-Pierre Lowf Legoff directed “New Generation” (1979), which marked his film acting debut. It was not until 1982 that Wilson got his first leading role in the drama “Five Days One Summer,” directed by Zinnemann. In his English language debut, the actor held his own against screen heavy Sean Connery.

After the performance, Wilson's film career took off. From 1982 to 1989, he made no less than 18 films and had the opportunity to work with such noted filmmakers as Claude Chabrol, Carlos Saura and Andrzej Wajda. Some of his credits include “The Blood of Others” (1984, with Jodie Foster), Vera Belmont's “Rouge baiser/Red Kiss” (1985), Peter Greenaway’s “The Belly of an Architect” (1987), director Andre Techine's “Possédés, Les/The Possessed” (1988) and “El Dorado” (1988). Wilson also netted a Best Supporting César nomination for his performance in “Femme publique, La” (1984) and Best Actor César nominations for “Rendez-vous” (1985), opposite Juliette Binoche, and “Hiver 54, l'abbé Pierre/Winter of '54: Father Pierre” (1989).

Throughout the 1990s, Wilson continued to build a strong reputation by appearing in both French and international productions. He supported Patrick Bergin, Randy Quaid and John Mills in the British TV film “Frankenstein” (1992), playing Clerval, memorably portrayed Marquis de Lafayette in James Ivory’s acclaimed “Jefferson in Paris” (1995), costarred with Jon Bon Jovi and Anna Galiena in John Duigan’s “The Leading Man” (1996), was reunited with filmmaker Vera Belmont for the Sophie Marceau vehicle “Marquise” (1997), in which he was cast as the celebrated lover Racine, and appeared with Michael Gambon in Deborah Warner’s “The Last September” (1999). The talented actor received his fourth César nomination in the Alain Resnais directed “Same Old Song” (1997), where he played the supporting role of Marc Duveyrier.

Meanwhile, Wilson gradually increased his stage persona through notable performances in such plays as “La Machine Infernale,” with Maggie Smith, “A Little Night Music,” with Judi Dench, and “Eurydice,” alongside his father. He also directed himself in a production of Musset's “Les Caprices de Marianne” (1994), which after a successful run in Paris went on to tour throughout France.

Entering the new millennium, Wilson further proved he was one of France's most acclaimed actors with his César nominated role of Arthus de Poulignac in Fabian Onteniente’s comedy “Jetset” (2000), opposite Samuel Le Bihan. He followed it up with performances in such films as Raul Ruiz’s “Combat d’amour en Songe/Love Torn in Dream” (2000), “Far from China” (2001) and “Tombales, Les” (2002).

Wilson went on to gain ground in Hollywood in the TV miniseries “Don Quixote” (2000), where he portrayed the Duke. Finally, he gained his greatest exposure to mainstream viewers when he played villain Merovingian in the final two installments of the blockbuster “Matrix” franchise “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (both 2003). His increasing international status was further confirmed with roles in Richard Donner's “Timeline” (2003), “Catwoman” (2004), in which he played Sharon Stone's husband George Hedare, and “Sahara” (2005). He returned to his roots by appearing in Alain Resnais' “Pas sur la Bouche” (2003), with Audrey Tatou, Nadine Trintignant's miniseries “Colette” (2003), Valérie Lemercier's comedy “Palais royal” (2005) and “Gentille” (2005).

Recently starring in “Dante 01” (2008), Wilson portrayed roles in the films “The Lazarus Project (2008, with Paul Walker), “Babylon A.D. (2008) and “Victor” (2009). He will soon appear in “Imogene McCarthery,” “The Princess of Montpensier” and “Of Gods and Men” (all 2010).

Apart from his flourishing acting career, Wilson is also a singer and narrator. In 1989, he recorded an album of songs called “Musicals,” which was produced by John McGlinn and released by EMI. He also released “Demon et Merveilles” in 1996, a collection of classic songs from the golden age of French cinema. Wilson has toured throughout France and in such countries as Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. As a narrator, he has collaborated with several of the world's greatest conductors, including Rostropovitch, Pretre Mazur, Dutoit and Ozawana. Some of his credits include “Debussy’s Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien,” “Berlioz’s Lelio,” “Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soledat” and “Schuman’s Manfred.”


Awards:

  • Prix Jean Gabin: 1990

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