Lambert Wilson

Lambert Wilson

Born: August 3, 1958
Age: 64
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
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Lambert Wilson (born 3 August 1958) is a French actor, singer and activist internationally best known for his portrayal of The Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

Wilson is the son of Georges Wilson, who was an actor, theatrical manager and director of the Théâtre National Populaire.[1] As a teenager, he had little interest for the French theatre and aimed to become an "American actor" and appear in Hollywood pictures. He studied acting at the Drama Centre London in order to learn English. He played his first movie role in the 1977 American film Julia, directed by Fred Zinneman. Five years later, he played his first starring role in another film by Zinneman, Five Days One Summer, opposite Sean Connery. But the film was not a commercial success, and neither was Sahara in which Wilson co-starred with Brooke Shields.[2] Wilson ultimately found success in his home country : during the 1980s, he became popular with French audiences by appearing in successful films such as La Boum 2, The Public Woman and Rendez-vous. At the time, he was often cast either as tormented characters or in romantic parts, although he found himself more convincing in the former kind of roles.[3]

Wilson screen tested for The Living Daylights (1987) for the role of James Bond, appearing in test footage opposite Maryam d'Abo (the Bond girl in The Living Daylights) as Tatiana Romanova, re-enacting scenes from From Russia with Love (1963). Wilson was featured in a series of Calvin Klein ads featuring Christy Turlington for Eternity in 1991, as well as a poster ad, years later in 1998.[4]


First critical accolades

Valérie Lemercier and Lambert Wilson at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival

Wilson released Musicals on the EMI label in 1989 (re-issued in 2004), with John McGlinn conducting Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. It features him singing songs of the American Musical Theatre catalogue, those well-known ("Maria" from West Side Story, "There But For You Go I" from Lerner & Loewe's Brigadoon, "The Cafe Song" from Les Misérables, "Johanna" from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd), rare ("Love Song" from Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's Love Life, "It Must Be So" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide, and "Silly People", which was cut from Sondheim's A Little Night Music), and those in-between ("Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George, "You Do Something to Me" from Cole Porter's Fifty Million Frenchmen, "Never Will I Marry" from Frank Loesser's Greenwillow).[citation needed]

He has directed stage presentations of Alfred de Musset's Les Caprices de Marianne starring Laure Marsac at Paris' Bouffes du Nord as well as Jean Racine's Bérénice starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Didier Sandre at Avignon and then Chaillot.[citation needed]

Wilson at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

In 1989, his performance as Abbé Pierre in the film Hiver 54, l'abbé Pierre, for which he received the Jean Gabin prize, won him critical accolades. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, his screen career suffered from a series of box office failures, such as The Possessed and El Dorado.

He later said that the French producers had come, at the time, to regard him as "box office poison". He eventually won back the favours of French audiences by appearing in the successful comedies Same Old Song (1997) and Jet Set (2000).[5]

Wilson was cast in the role of The Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded (2002) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), perhaps his best-known role in the American cinema. Being completely fluent in English, his strong French accent in the film is fabricated for the role.[2] The role also popularised the Ediety tie knot, now commonly referred to as "The Merovingian".[6]

Recent years

Wilson in 2017

In November 2012, he was selected as a member of the main competition jury at the 2012 International Film Festival of Marrakech. In April 2013, Wilson was invited by MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) to visit Haiti in the capacity of helping with various UN-backed environment and cultural programmes.[7]

He was the master of ceremonies for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 and 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

In February 2016, he released a tribute album called Wilson chante Montand to the singer Yves Montand to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of the artist. Among the 17 tracks on the album there is Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ? which was composed by Henri Betti with the lyrics by Édith Piaf in 1947. The musical arrangements of the 17 songs were made by Bruno Fontaine. Also in 2016, he portrayed Jacques Cousteau in the biopic The Odyssey.[8]

Wilson’s commitment to safeguarding the environment is manifest in his support of Greenpeace and Agir pour l'Environnement amongst others.  He works on behalf of the Fondation Abbé-Pierre and the Mouvement Emmaüs in France to eradicate hunger and poverty. Wilson is an ambassador for Les Toiles Enchantées  (an association that brings contemporary cinema to hospitals and hospices for children), and parrain (patron) for a proposed new cinema at the Institut Français in London.

Wilson is Chevalier and Officier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier and Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite. He was raised to Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite by President Emmanuel Macron in 2017.

In January 2018 he engaged to assist the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)[9] in communications regarding work to eradicate world hunger and poverty ("Working for Zero Hunger"). The same year he starred in Volontaire by Hélène Fillières.


Year Title Role Director Notes
1977 Julia Walter Franz Fred Zinnemann
1978 Gaston Phébus Yvain Bernard Borderie TV mini-series
1979 The Gendarme and the Extra-Terrestrials An alien Jean Girault
New Generation Jean-Charles Jean-Pierre Lowf Legoff
Lady Oscar Cocky soldier Jacques Demy
From Hell to Victory Umberto Lenzi
1980 Cinéma 16 Gilbert Eric Le Hung
Au feu le préfet Patrick Callaghan Alain Boudet TV movie
L'inconnue d'Arras The grandfather Raymond Rouleau TV movie
1981 Quatre femmes, quatre vies: La maison bleue Jean-Paul Taillandier Robert Mazoyer TV movie
La dernière nuit The assistant executioner Didier Decoin TV movie
Chanel Solitaire George Kaczender
Histoire contemporaine Henri de Brèce Michel Boisrond TV mini-series
La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu Paris Raymond Rouleau TV movie
1982 Five Days One Summer Johann Biari Fred Zinnemann
La Boum 2 Félix Maréchal Claude Pinoteau
1983 Sahara Jaffar Andrew V. McLaglen
La caravane Éric Roger Gillioz TV movie
1984 The Blood of Others Paul Claude Chabrol
The Public Woman Milan Mliska Andrzej Żuławski Nominated: César Award for Best Supporting Actor
1985 Rendez-vous Quentin André Téchiné Nominated: César Award for Best Actor
L'Homme aux yeux d'argent Villain Pierre Granier-Deferre
Red Kiss Stéphane Véra Belmont
Abandons Pierre-Jean de San Bartolomé Short
1986 Bleu comme l'enfer Ned Yves Boisset
Corps et biens Michel Sauvage Benoît Jacquot
La Storia Carlo Vivaldi / Davide Segre Luigi Comencini TV movie
La forêt noire Béatrice Jalbert Short
1987 The Belly of an Architect Caspasian Speckler Peter Greenaway
1988 The Possessed Nikolaj Stavrogin Andrzej Wajda
Chouans! Tarquin Philippe de Broca
El Dorado Pedro de Ursúa Carlos Saura
Margot et le voleur d'enfants Michèle Reiser Short
1989 La vouivre Arsène Muselier Georges Wilson
Suivez cet avion Rémi Cerneaux Patrice Ambard
Hiver 54, l'abbé Pierre Abbé Pierre Denis Amar Nominated: César Award for Best Actor
Won - Prix Jean Gabin
1991 Un homme et deux femmes Doctor Paul Baudoin Valérie Stroh
Shuttlecock John Prentis Andrew Piddington
1992 Strangers The Guy Joan Tewkesbury TV movie
Warsaw - Year 5703 Alek Janusz Kijowski
Frankenstein Clerval David Wickes TV movie
1993 L'instinct de l'ange Henry Richard Dembo
1994 Une qui promet Ferdinand Marianne Lamour TV movie
Les caprices de Marianne Octave Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe TV movie
Rage and Outrage: The Dreyfus Affair Raoul Sangla TV movie
1995 Jefferson in Paris Marquis de Lafayette James Ivory
Pour une vie ou deux Noël Gregorio Marc Angelo TV movie
1996 Les caprices d'un fleuve Monsieur de la Malène Bernard Giraudeau
Le secret d'Iris Pierrot Élisabeth Rappeneau TV movie
The Leading Man Felix Webb John Duigan
1997 Marquise Racine Véra Belmont
Same Old Song Marc Duveyrier Alain Resnais Nominated: César Award for Best Supporting Actor
Quand le chat sourit Sabine Azéma TV movie
1998 Too Much (Little) Love Paul Jacques Doillon
1999 The Last September Hugo Montmorency Deborah Warner
2000 Don Quixote Duke Peter Yates TV movie
Jet Set Arthus de Poulignac Fabien Onteniente Nominated: César Award for Best Supporting Actor
Combat d'amour en songe Sebatol Raúl Ruiz
Les globulyss Voice TV series
2001 HS - hors service Francis Jean-Paul Lilienfeld
Far from China Jean-Pierre C. S. Leigh
Le divin enfant Father Marc Aubray Stéphane Clavier TV movie
2002 Les tombales Joseph Christophe Barratier Short
2003 It's Easier for a Camel... Aurelio Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
The Matrix Reloaded Merovingian The Wachowskis
Enter the Matrix Merovingian's voice The Wachowskis (2) Video game
Dédales Brennac René Manzor
The Matrix Revolutions The Merovingian The Wachowskis (3)
Timeline Lord Arnaut Richard Donner
Not on the Lips Eric Thomson Alain Resnais
2004 Colette, une femme libre Henry de Jouvenel Nadine Trintignant TV mini-series
People Brother Arthus Fabien Onteniente
Catwoman George Hedare Pitof
2005 The Matrix Online The Merovingian's voice The Wachowskis (4)
Nathan Hendrickson
Video game
Sahara Yves Massarde Breck Eisner
Mort à l'écran Daniel Brullmann Alexis Ferrebeuf Short
Gentille Philippe Sophie Fillières
L'anniversaire Raphaël Diane Kurys
Palais royal! Prince Arnaud Valérie Lemercier
2006 Private Fears in Public Places Dan Alain Resnais (3) Nominated: Lumières Award for Best Actor
2007 Flawless Finch Michael Radford
Tous à l'Ouest: Une aventure de Lucky Luke Lucky Luke's voice Olivier Jean-Marie Animated film
2008 Dante 01 Saint-Georges Marc Caro
The Great Alibi Pierre Collier Pascal Bonitzer
Comme les autres Emmanuel François Xavier Bernier Vincent Garenq
Babylon A.D. Dr. Arthur Darquandier Mathieu Kassovitz
The Lazarus Project Avery John Glenn
2009 The Philanthropist Yves Moehringer Duane Clark TV series (1 episode)
Victor Jérôme Courcelle Thomas Gilou
2010 Imogène McCarthery Samuel Tyler Alexandre Charlot
Franck Magnier
The Princess of Montpensier François de Chabannes Bertrand Tavernier
Of Gods and Men Christian Xavier Beauvois Nominated: César Award for Best Actor
2012 Blind Man Narvik Xavier Palud
HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami General Pochero Alain Chabat
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet Lambert Wilson Alain Resnais (4)
Ernest & Celestine Ernest Stéphane Aubier
Vincent Patar
Benjamin Renner
Voice role
The Hollow Crown Charles, King of France Thea Sharrock TV mini-series (1 Episode)
2013 Cycling with Moliere Gauthier Valence Philippe Le Guay
Manipulations Franck Barrot Laurent Herbiet TV movie
Nominated: Monte-Carlo Television Festival,
Best Performance by an Actor
ReWined The Professor Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani
2014 Barbecue Antoine Chevalier Éric Lavaine
5 to 7 Valery Victor Levin
The Nostalgist The Man Giacomo Cimini Short
Posthumous Daniel S. Volpe Lulu Wang
2015 Suite Française Viscount de Montmort Saul Dibb
Sins of a Father Andrew Piddington
Rabid Dogs The Father Éric Hannezo
2016 The Odyssey Jacques-Yves Cousteau Jérôme Salle Nominated: Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actor
La Vache Philippe Mohamed Hamidi
The Jungle Book Baloo Jon Favreau French voice
Tout de suite maintenant Barsac Pascal Bonitzer
The Confessions Roché's lover Roberto Andò
2017 Baby Bump(S) Marc Noémie Saglio
Corporate Nicolas Silhol
2018 Volontaire Rivière Hélène Fillières

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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