The Horseman on the Roof
“If you compare me to an actor, I’m probably one of the best boxers in the profession. But if you compare me as a boxer, I’m probably one of the best actors.” Oliver Martinez
French actor Oliver Martinez first came to international attention with Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s striking romance The Horseman on the Roof (1995), where he starred as a dashing officer romancing a married woman. Before that, he won a César Award for his outstanding performance in 1,2,3 Sun (1993) and received critical notice as a graffiti artist in IP5: The Island of Pachyderms (1992). The dark-handsome actor is perhaps known by most American for playing roles in the acclaimed film Before Night Falls (2000), the hit Unfaithful (2002), S.W.A.T. (2003) and Taking Lives (2004). He is set to stars in the forthcoming Blood and
Chocolate (2006), The Snow Goose (2005), Nine Miles Down and Belle du Seigneur (both 2007).
“If I had to fall in love with all the actresses I play with and live the situations I have to play, I would be lost ! I need to be solid and know who I really am to have fun in making something else. I noticed, while talking with other actors, that they often let ambiguity float. I don’t like ambiguity, it’s dangerous. I need distance. I also think that the result would prevent the audience from identifying to the characters. If you feel the things too strongly, you simply close the doors.” Olivier Martinez
As for his personal life, Martinez, who was once ranked 94 on VH1’s “100 Hottest Hotties” list, has two motorcycles, an apartment in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés Paris and he plans to buy a home in the Mediterranean. The big fan of jazz music also keeps a dog named Sheba as his pet. On more private note, a self-described stubborn, Martinez was linked to Horseman on the Roof costar Juliette Binoche and the couple lived together from 1995 until 1998. After breaking up, he once again dated his costar, actress Mira Sorvino, in 1999-2002, before romancing Australian musician/actress-girlfriend Kylie Minogue. Starting dating in 2003, the two are rumored to have their wedding this year after the sexy singer was discovered trying on a wedding dress, on a trendy shop, accompanied by lover Martinez. But, the widespread reports stated the pop princess has reportedly tuned down his proposals. So far, Martinez has proposed to Kylie for three times.
Childhood and Family:
Born to Robert and Rosemarie Martinez, on January 12, 1966, in Paris, France, Oliver Martinez comes from a blue-collar family and was raised in the Paris suburbs. His father is Spanish-Moroccan who worked as a professional boxer and a mechanic, and his French mother worked as a secretary. As a teenager, Oliver once followed in his dad’s foot steps, fighting as a welterweight in Europe. He has a brother named Vincent Martinez, who also pursues an acting career.
Oliver was educated in Ecole Florent, Paris, France. He left school early and found himself taking numerous jobs, including jeans seller, before giving acting a try as his friends’ suggestion. 23-year-old Oliver then attended acting school at the International Conservatory of Paris in France.
Hailed from a working-class family at the Paris suburbs, Oliver Martinez had a working life for almost five years before finally segueing into acting. His first attempt in entertainment industry was a guest spot in an episode of French series “Navarro,” a year after he enrolled in a drama school in Paris. Martinez soon made the leap to silver screen when he landed a supporting part in the Serge Reggiani and François Négret starring vehicle Plein fer (1990), about a potentially lethal petanque rivalry. After Paroles invisibles, Les (1992) and Odyssée bidon (1992, TV), Martinez receive positive reviews for his costarring turn opposite Yves Montand as a graffiti artist in the Jean-Jacques Beineix-directed drama IP5: The Island of Pachyderms (1992).
Within a few years, Martinez scored the prestigious César for Most Promising Young Actor following a brilliant starring turn, as Petit Paul, in Bertrand Blier’s 1,2,3 Sun (1993). The drama feature also credited Anouk Grinberg and Myriam Boyer as his costars.
Martinez returned to movie after a brief hiatus by making a spectacular comeback with a memorable starring turn as a debonair 19th Century Italian cavalry officer who falls for a married woman (Juliette Binoche) in romance film The Horseman on the Roof (1995), for director Jean-Paul Rappeneau. With the role, the actor achieved his first international status as the film got its American release a year later. While promoting in the U.S., Martinez was billed as “the French Brad Pitt.”
Despite the global notice, Martinez continued to take on roles on France production films like writer/director’s Bertrand Blier’s My Man (1996), Ciudad de los prodigios, La (1999). In between, he landed a male lead as Horty in J.J. Bigas Luna’s The Chambermaid on the Titanic (1997). Costarring with Romane Bohringer, Martinez became famous after playing a French foundry worker and passenger in the romance film.
The adorable player kept on his busy work by appearing in the comedy film Women (2000), reaming up with Claude Brasseur in The Slammer (2000) and starred as Manuel in Eric Barbier’s Toreros (2000). His American popularity received boost when filmmaker Julian Schnabel had Martinez play Lazaro Gomez Carriles, the writer friend of Javier Bardem’s Arenas in Before Night Falls (2000), a film version of the autobiography of Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas. The film received numerous nominations, including an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
After a costarring role opposite Mira Sorvino in the international feature thriller Semana Santa (2002), Martinez was firstly put on Hollywood mainstream with his breakout role as malicious, young and charismatic atypical book dealer Paul Martel, with whom Diane Lane involved in a two-timing affair, in Adian Lyne’s Unfaithful (2002). The successful film also starred Erik Per Sullivan and Richard Gere.
More roles on American productions followed. Martinez was cast opposite Helen Mirren in the TV film remake of The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2002), joined Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J in the supporting part of Alex Montel in the crime film S.W.A.T. (2003) and had a detective role along side Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland and Gena Rowlands in the D.J. Caruso thriller Taking Lives (2004).
The 40-year-old performer has recently finished Blood and Chocolate (2006), director Katja von Garnier’s adaptation of a Annette Curtis Klause book. Among his costars are Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy and Katja Riemann. Martinez also has an in-production film, The Snow Goose (2005) for director Gillies MacKinnon, as well as two pre-production projects, Anthony Waller’s Nine Miles Down (with Melissa George) and Glenio Bonder’s remake of Belle du Seigneur (opposite Leonor Watling), which both for 2007 release.