"At several screenings in the U.S., we had incredible audiences. Unlike French audiences, Americans don't know what they're going to see. They were very moved by the story. In San Francisco, one person said, 'I never knew I could laugh so much reading subtitles.'" Michele Laroque
First appearing on television in the late 1980s, French actress Michele Laroque received a César nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1993 for her performance in Coline Serreau's musical comedy "Crise, La" ("The Crisis") and in 1997 for her role in Gabriel Aghion's comedy film "Pédale douce" (1996).
Michele also displayed her acting talent in such films as "Mari de la coiffeuse, Le" (1990), "Max & Jeremie" (1992), "Tango" (1993), "Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud" (1995), "Aveux de l'innocent, Les" (1996), "Passage à l'acte" (1996), "Fallait pas!..." (1996), "Plus beau métier du monde, Le" (1996), "Ma vie en rose" (1997), "Serial Lover" (1998), "Mur, Le" (1998), "Doggy Bag" (1999), "Épouse-moi" (2000), "Placard, Le" (2001), "J'ai faim!!!" (2001), "Malabar Princess" (2004), "Enfin veuve" (2007) and "The Neighbor" (2007). She will next be seen in the upcoming film "Oscar et la dame rose."
Baby of Freedom
Childhood and Family:
"(My mother) was a Romanian dancer. She was on a tour and she met my father in Nice. She escaped a year later in London and he came to marry her. When I was born, there were newspapers articles saying, 'The Baby of Freedom is born today.'" Michele Laroque
In Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France, Michele Laroque was born on June 15, 1960, to a Romanian dancer. She is the niece of Pierre Laroque, the creator of Social Security in France. At the age of 18, she survived a car accident that resulted in a coma and made the decision of becoming an actress after waking-up.
"As a student, I was in a bad car accident. While lying in the hospital, I wondered if I was a good or a bad actress. I knew I had to find out." Michele Laroque
Laroque was briefly married to theatre director Dominique Deschamps and has one daughter with him, Oriane. Laroque is a gay rights activist and a friend of Claude Chirac, the daughter of French President Jacques Chirac.
"I feel grateful to the United States. When I was a student, I had several scholarships, especially one in Austin, Texas, where I had the opportunity to attend drama classes. Before the theater program at the University of Texas, I studied economics in Albany, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and Austin." Michele Laroque
In the late 1980s, Michele Laroque appeared on television in the comedic "Vivement lundi" (1988) and the dramatic "Tribunal" (1989). She also guest starred in an episode of the novel-based thriller "Retour d'Arsène Lupin, Le" and HBO's fictional thriller "The Hitchhiker." She made her film debut in "Suivez cet avion" (1989), which was directed and co-written by Patrice Ambard and starred Lambert Wilson.
Entering the 1990s, Laroque appeared in the cult comedy TV series "Télé des inconnus, La" and guest starred in an episode of "Imogène." She was also cast in Patrice Leconte's BAFTA-nominated romantic film "Mari de la coiffeuse, Le" ("The Hairdresser's Husband"), which starred Jean Rochefort and Anna Galiena.
Afterward, Laroque starred in the made-for-television movies "Bébé express" (1991) and "Cravates léopards, Les" (1992), as well as the miniseries "C'est quoi ce petit boulot?" (1991). Returning to the big screen, she could be seen in Gérard Jugnot's comedy "Une époque formidable..." (1991; "Wonderful Times"), Claire Devers' gangster movie "Max & Jeremie" (1992; starring Philippe Noiret and Christopher Lambert), and Coline Serreau's musical comedy "Crise, La" (1992; "The Crisis"), which earned her a César nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared in Frédéric Forestier and Stéphane Gateau's 11-minute short gangster film "Paranoïa" (1993; starring Jean Reno), Patrice Leconte's entertaining dark comedy "Tango" (1993; with Philippe Noiret, Richard Bohringer, and Thierry Lhermitte), and Roger Planchon's historical drama "Louis, enfant roi" (1993; "Louis, the Child King").
After guest starring in an episode of the drama TV series "Navarro" and acting in the TV movie "B comme Bolo" (1994), Laroque returned to the big screen to star in Michel Deville's "Aux petits bonheurs" (1994; "Life's Little Treasures"), Jean-Michel Ribes' comedy "Chacun pour toi" (1994; "Every Man for Yourself"), and Marion Vernoux's "Personne ne m'aime" (1994; "Nobody Loves Me").
In the mid 1990s, Laroque acted in Camille de Casabianca's film "Fabuleux destin de Madame Petlet, Le" ("Madame Petlet's True Story") and Claude Sautet's BAFTA-nominated drama "Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud," starring Emmanuelle Béart and Michel Serrault. She also starred in the made-for-television movies "Une femme dans mon coeur," "Nid tombé de l'oiseau, Le," and "Mouton noir, Le," as well as in the comedic TV series "Quatre pour un loyer."
Laroque received a César Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Pédale douce" (1996), a comedy movie by Gabriel Aghion. She added to her resume roles in the 1996 films "Aveux de l'innocent, Les," a drama by Jean-Pierre Améris, "Passage à l'acte" ("Death in Therapy"), a thriller by Francis Girod adapted from a Jean-Pierre Gattegno novel, "Fallait pas!...," a comedy by Gérard Jugnot, and "Plus beau métier du monde, Le" ("The Best Job in the World"), a drama written and directed by Gérard Lauzier in which she starred opposite Gérard Depardieu. She also starred as a suburban mother coming to grips with her young son's insistence that he's really a girl, in Alain Berliner's Golden Globe-winning drama "Ma vie en rose" (1997; "My Life in Pink").
About her character in the film, Laroque explained, "I liked my part in that movie because she's not perfect. At first she really understands that fact that her son is different and it doesn't bother her. But at one moment, all the dreams she has are destroyed by that little boy, so she becomes like a wild animal who rejects a sick child. When I began shooting the movie, we began with the tough scenes where she was supposed to be crazy. Alain Berliner, the director, was afraid because he said, 'Be careful. We have to love her.' I said, 'If you love her, it's going to take place in the beginning, and then you'll understand her. At that moment, she's not mean, she's crazy.’ I like to make movies like that again and again."
Additionally, Laroque spent the rest of the decade acting in James Huth's "Serial Lover" (1998), Alain Berliner's surrealistic film "Mur, Le" (1998; "The Wall), and Frédéric Comtet's novel-based comedy "Doggy Bag" (1999). She also starred in the TV movies "Elvis Aziz" (1996) and "Week-end" (1998), as well as co-starred in the medical drama series "Maternité" (1998).
The new millennium saw Laroque starring opposite Vincent Perez in Harriet Marin's romantic comedy film "Épouse-moi" (2000; "Marry Me"), play the female lead role in Francis Veber's comedy "Placard, Le" (2001; "The Closet"), opposite Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, and Thierry Lhermitte, and co-star with Catherine Jacob in Florence Quentin's comedy "J'ai faim!!!" (2001). On the small screen, she could be seen in the TV movies "Une femme neuve" (2000) and "Oiseau rare, L'" (2001).
On working with director Francis Veber in "The Closet" (2001), Laroque commented, "Francis is the King of Comedy, so I really wanted to work with him. He has made something so perfect and strong. With the situations and characters, we can just act. He has spent so long to write a line. If you are going to improvise, you are not going to find a better line in two seconds."
After starring in the 2003 TV movies "Chose publique, La" ("Public Affairs") and "Mon voisin du dessus," Laroque starred in the 2004 films "Malabar Princess," a Gilles Legrand drama in which she co-starred with Jacques Villeret and Jules-Angelo Bigarnet, and "Pédale dure," a comedy by Gabriel Aghion in which she acted opposite Gérard Darmon. She also appeared in a TV commercial for Cetelem (2002) and Cetelem Senso (2003).
Continuing her film work, Laroque starred opposite Lambert Wilson in Diane Kurys' comedy "Anniversaire, L” (2005), played the lead in Lisa Azuelos' comedy "Comme t'y es belle!" (2006), and co-starred in Dany Boon's comedy "Maison du bonheur, La" (2006). She also appeared in Vincent De Brus' comedy "Entente cordiale, L'" (2006; with Christian Clavier, Daniel Auteuil, and John Cleese), Isabelle Mergault's "Enfin veuve" (2007; "A Widow at Last"), and Eddie O'Flaherty's romantic comedy "The Neighbor" (2007; alongside Matthew Modine). TV viewers could catch her in the made-for-television movies "Petits secrets et gros mensonges" (2006), "En marge des jours" (2007), and the based-on-play "Faisons un rêve" (2007).
Laroque will appear in an upcoming dramatic film written and directed by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, "Oscar et la dame rose."
"I was quite lucky because I worked with wonderful French directors and very big French actors. I know all the people in France." Michele Laroque