Born: February 21, 1983
Date of Birth: February 21, 1983
Mélanie Laurent was born in Paris, France to a ballet teacher mother and a voice actor father. Her career began after a serendipitous meeting with French actor Gerard Depardieu. The then teenaged Laurent was visiting the set of a film that her friend's father was acting in. Depardieu approached her and simply asked if she wanted to act in movies. Laurent's reply? "Why not?"
At the age of 16, she was cast in The Bridge, a French film co-directed by Depardieu. The movie was moderately well received by critics in her home country. Her big break into mainstream French cinema came at the age of 23, when she played the lead in Philippe Lioret's I'm Fine, Don't Worry. The film detailed a young girl’s struggle with anorexia. Laurent took home a César Award (the French equivalent to an Oscar) for "Most Promising Actress" for the role.
In 2008, she decided to try her hand at directing with De moins en moins, a short film that she also wrote. Her first directing effort was a success, with the film being nominated for Best Short Film at the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival. Her next endeavor was to direct her first play. However, this project was put on hold after receiving news that would change her life forever.
Laurent learned that she was to play Shoshanna Dreyfus, one of the leads in Quentin Tarantino's latest film Inglorious Basterds. The highly anticipated movie, which had been in development since 1998, was Laurent's first major role in an American film.
Basterds was a box office smash and critical darling. Suddenly, Laurent found herself pushed into mainstream success in North America. However, this success hasn't fazed her. She still appears in films made in her native France as well as taking advantage of new opportunities to appear in American movies as well.
She generated a lot of buzz for her performance alongside Ewan McGregor in Beginners, playing a woman who meets and falls in love with a man dealing with the recent loss of his father. More recently, she starred in Aloft (2015).
In 2013, Laurent married a crew member whom she'd met one of her movies. The very private actress refuses to name him, but says that they "looked at each other seductively for a few days before we talked."
These days, Laurent has many projects keeping her busy, including working as a Climate Ambassador for Kofi Annan's Global Humanitarian Forum Campaign, an issue to which she is passionately dedicated.
FilmographyBy the Sea (2015)