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Mélanie Laurent

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Biography

Best known for her role in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, Mélanie Laurent also followed in the footsteps of fellow French actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg, Catherine Deneuve, and Brigitte Bardot by turning her hand to a music career. Born in the ninth arrondissement of Paris in 1983 to a ballerina mother and voice-over artist father, Laurent was discovered by Gérard Depardieu on the set of Asterix and Obelix, and Depardieu offered her a part in his co-directed 1999 film, The Bridge. After starring in Rice Rhapsody, The Beat My Heart Skipped, and Days of Glory, she won a Cesar Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her performance as Lili in Philippe Lloret's Je Vais Bien, Ne T'en Fais Pas, and made her directorial debut with the short film De Moins en Moins, both of which attracted the attention of Tarantino, who cast her as the Nazi-killing cinema operator Shosanna Dreyfus in his controversial World War II reimagining. While appearing as a violinist in the classical music-based comedy Le Concert, she started work on her debut album in Woodstock, but later ditched the recordings when her manager arranged an introduction with Damien Rice. The Irish singer/songwriter produced five and performed on two of the tracks (Pedestrian's Joel Shearer produced the other half) on her debut album, En T'Attendant, which was released through Atmospheriques in 2011. In the same year, Laurent appeared in the video for Martin Solveig's "Initial S.H.E.," landed her first major English-speaking role in Mike Mills' Beginners, and was announced as the Mistress of Ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

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'10s