French Actors

In my last post I talked about awesome young French actresses; now it’s time for the boys.  These guys all have the charisma, good looks, and self-confidence that young male American actors have, but they do away with some of the snark, arrogance, machismo, and wilfull ignorance that’s projected by so many young American actors.  I like these guys because they’re smart, soulful, and emotionally present in their work.  I wish more young actors were like them.

And, no, I’m not talking about the last generation of guys like Gerard Depardieu, Jean Reno, Daniel Auteuil, Vincent Cassel, or Francois Cluzet–though all those guys are cool.  I’m talking about the next generation.

I defy you to watch these guys movies and imagine their roles being played by the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Josh Duhamel, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, or even Jake Gyllenhaal, who has his moments.  Maybe guys like I mentioned in my last post (e.g. Peter Sarsgaard, Sam Rockwell, and Mark Ruffalo) could pull it of; maybe, on a very good day, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo diCaprio, Casey Affleck, or those psuedo-Americans Ryan Gosling and Hayden Christensen…if they had a decent script and decent director.

Romain Duris

Louis Garrel

Adrien Jolivet

Mathieu Kassovitz

Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet

Melvil Poupaud

Stéphane Rideau

Gaspard Ulliel

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4 Responses to French Actors

  1. Mike says:

    So are there any major French movies that a young american actor should watch and learn from? What do you suggest?

    • docdlp says:


      I think you should start with a bunch of Romain Duris movies, specifically the following:
      The Beat That My Heart Skipped
      Love Songs (Chansons d’Amour)
      Dans Paris

      And watch them in that order. But if you get bored and want to watch good acting in smutty, sexy movies (which is a French specialty), you can try The Swimming Pool (for Ludivine Sagnier) and/or The Dreamers (for Louis Garrel) instead. Or if you want to see good French actors in more accessible fare directed by Americans, watch all the short films that make up Paris, Je T’aime.

      • Mike says:

        I actually watched Paris, Je T’aime. I watched it as a reference for a role in Almost, Maine. I will look these movies up. That brings me to a question I thought you might be interested in answering. What is your opinion of playwrights that use heavy stage directions and specific acting notes written into their scripts?

  2. C-mor says:

    First of all, Louis Garrel and Gaspard Ulliel need to get in my pants. They are two of my fave French beauties. The Dreamers is a movie that every young person needs to watch. And Love Songs is definitely one of my favorite French movies.

    Also, I’m actually watching Amelie at the moment. I know its a popular French movie, but it’s still one of my favorites. Audrey Tautou is absolutely adorable and enchanting. I also love her in A Very Long Engagement. Was Gaspard the male love interest in that?

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