French actor, director and writer Olivier Marchal is best known as the director and co-writer of the French film “Department 36” (2004), which starred Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu. He earned César nominations in the categories of Best Director, Best Film and Best Writing for his work in the film. An American version of the movie, “36,” produced by Robert De Niro and directed by Martin Campbell, will be released in 2013. A former police officer, Marchal began his show business career as an actor in the late 1980s and branched out to writing before eventually making his film directing debut with “Gangster” (2002). He also wrote and directed “MR 73” (2008). His writing credits include the TV series “Commissaire Moulin” (9 episodes, 1994-2001), “Central nuit” (23 episodes, 2001-2009) and “Braquo” (2009) and the film “Diamant 13” (2009, also an actor). Marchal has acted in a number of French TV and film projects, including “Quai n° 1” (9 episodes, 1997-2001), “Police District” (2000-2003), “Ne le dis à personne” (2006), “Un roman policier” (2008), “Pour elle” (2008) and “La saison des immortelles” (2009).
Marchal is the father of 3 girls and 1 boy.
Childhood and Family:
Olivier Marchal was born on November 14, 1958, in Talence, Gironde, France. He began attending acting classes when he was a police officer. He eventually left the French police to pursue a career in show business (around 1992).
Olivier is married to Catherine Quiniou. The couple has three daughters, Léa (born 1994), Zoé (born 1998) and Ninon (born 2005), and a son named Basile (born May 19, 2009).
Olivier Marchal had his first taste in front of the film cameras at age 30 when he landed a bit part in an adaptation of Frédéric H. Fajardie's novel “Clause de style,” “Ne réveillez pas un flic qui dort (“Let Sleeping Cops Lie,” 1988), which was directed by José Pinheiro. He broke into television in 1990 with the role of Desmarre in an episode of “Renseignements généraux” called “Vengeance.” He would reprise the role in a 1991 episode titled “Bêtes et méchants” and play a different role in the 1994 episode “Racket.” Marchal made his TV miniseries debut in the sequel “Brigada central 2: La guerra blanca” (1992, as Bebert) and his TV movie debut in “Prat et Harris” (1993, as Tony). In 1993, he played Louis in the British miniseries “A Year in Provence” (1 episode) and returned to the big screen with the supporting role of Petrini in the police film “Profil bas,” for director Claude Zidi.
Marchal ventured into writing when he wrote two episodes of “Van Loc: un grand flic de Marseille” called “La Grenade,” in which he also acted in, and “La vengeance” (both 1993). He next co-wrote (with Aaron Barzman) the TV film “La femme piégée” (1995), in which he also appeared in, and episodes of the TV series “François Kléber” (3 episodes, 1995-1996), “Groupe nuit” (1 episode, 1996), and “La Basse-cour” (unknown episode, 1997), a TV show he produced. He also wrote and acted in several episodes of the Yves Rénier starring vehicle “Commissaire Moulin” during 1993 to 2001.
While pursuing his interest as a writer, Marchal maintained his acting career by appearing in the films “Le dur métier de policier” (1996), “Les vacances” (1997), “Le gang des TV” (1999), “La puce” (1999), a 40 minute length award winning film directed and co-written by Emmanuelle Bercot, and “Un coeur pas comme les autres” (1999, TV). He also appeared in episodes of “Highlander” (1995, as Philippe), “Les boeuf-carottes” (1997) and “Joséphine, ange gardien” (1999). At the end of the decade, he wrote and directed a short film titled “Un bon flic” (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Marchal portrayed Jean Marc in the coming of age dramatic film “La tresse d'Aminata,” (2000, TV) opposite Johanna Coco and Virginie Lemoine, costarred with Laëtitia Lacroix and Jean-Claude Adelin in the TV film “La petite absente” (2000), for director José Pinheiro, guest starred in the Xavier Deluc series “Marc Eliot” (2000) and played Jean-Claude in Didier Bourdon's comedy “L'extraterrestre” (2000). However, Marchal did not become a headliner until he was cast as Commandant Pierre Rivière in the television series “Police District,” which ran from 2000 to 2003. The show was written by novelist Hugues Pagan.
Marchal completed his recurring role of Max Urtéguy in the crime series “Quai n° 1” in 2001, a gig he began in 1997. The same year, he co-created the crime series “Central nuit” (“Night Squad”), which debuted on French TV on September 14, 2001. He also wrote 23 episodes during the show's run from 2001 to 2009.
In 2002, Marchal made his feature directorial debut with “Gangsters,” a crime movie focusing on undercover detectives Franck Chaievski and Nina Delgado. The film, which he wrote, starred Richard Anconina and Anne Parillaud. The same year, he also portrayed Lieutenant Eddy Tasmani in Philippe Setbon's TV film “Chut” (“The Presence”).
From 2003 to 2004, Marchal played roles in the TV films “Capitaine Lawrence” (as Villeneuve), “Les robinsonnes” (as Fred) and “Paul Sauvage” (as the title role), but did not return to the director's chair until he helmed Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu in the acclaimed action film “36 Quai des Orfèvres” (“Department 36,” 2004), which he wrote with Franck Mancuso and Julien Rappeneau. The film was nominated for eight Césars, including Best Director, Best Film, and Best Writing - Original or Adaptation for Marchal. Marchal also had a small role in the film (as Christo). An American remake of “36 Quai des Orfèvres,” “36,” is set to be released in 2013 with Martin Campbell directing and Robert De Niro producing the film.
In 2005, Marchal supported Florence Pernel and Jean-Pierre Lorit in the made for TV film “Éliane” (directed by Caroline Huppert), portrayed Jérôme in director/writer Virginie Wagon's TV film “L'enfant d'une autre” (2006), which won Special Mention at the 2006 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, starred in the short “Le sixième homme” (“The Sixth Man,” 2006), played the lead role of Dominique Célerin in the TV film “Les innocents” (2006), based on a novel by Georges Simenon, and worked with François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze and Kristin Scott Thomas in Guillaume Canet's successful “Ne le dis à personne” (“Tell No One,” 2006), which was adapted from the Harlan Coben 2001 best selling novel “Tell No One.” “Ne le dis à personne” won four César Awards, including Best Actor and Best Director. Still in 2006, Marchel wrote and acted in the short film “Une simple histoire d'amour.”
2007 saw Marchal play Jean-Guy in the thriller “Truands” (“Crime Insiders”), De Boers in the action film “Scorpion” (“The Scorpion: King of Rings”) and Jean-Pierre in the TV miniseries “Confidences.” In addition, he made a guest appearance in “Chez Maupassant.” The following year, he acted in the films “Un roman policier” (“A Police Romance”), “Le bruit des gens autour” (“Sunny Spells”) and “Pour elle” (“Anything for Her,” opposite Diane Kruger). Still in 2008, he wrote and directed the movie “MR 73” (“The Last Deadly Mission,” 2008), his second film to star Daniel Auteuil. He also created the miniseries “Flics.”
Marchal next wrote the eight part TV thriller series “Braquo” (2009), where he directed the episodes “L'autre rive” and “La tête dans le sac,” costarred with Gérard Depardieu in Gilles Béhat's action movie “Diamant 13” (“Diamond 13,” 2009), for which he also wrote the adaptation, and portrayed Jacques de Parentis in the Cécile Telerman directed drama “Quelque chose à te dire” (“Blame It on Mum,” 2009). He then starred as Simon Charroux in “La saison des immortelles,” which premiered at the Festival de la fiction TV de la Rochelle on September 17, 2009, and is slated to be released theatrically in France on June 1, 2010.
Marchal will play a role in director Philippe Guillard's upcoming film “Le fils à Jo,” which he also produced.