Lambert Wilson, co-star of the "Sahara" Movie!
The prolific French actor has made his mark in Hollywood in recent movies such as 2003's "Matrix" series and 2004's "Catwonman." Lambert Wilson may have previously been noticed by eagle-eyed fans of international film in such art-house efforts as The Belly of an Architect (1987) and Jefferson in Paris (1995). The son of noted French actor Georges Wilson, Lambert was born in Neuilly-sue-Seine, France, in August of 1958. Soon after his graduation from London's prolific Drama Centre in 1977, Wilson took on his first leading role in director Fred Zinnemann's 1982 drama Five Days One Summer. He had previously appeared in numerous French television dramas and a handful of feature films, so his notable onscreen talent was already visible to many, and the burgeoning actor held his own opposite screen heavy Sean Connery. As the decade progressed, Lambert appeared in films by such notable directors as Claude Chabrol (Le Sang des Autres), Andrzej Wajda (Les Possédés), and Carlos Saura (El Dorado) -- all to notable effect. Throughout the 1990s, Wilson became increasingly comfortable with leading-man status thanks to a strong series of featured performances in numerous French productions. Despite the fact that Wilson might not have been easily recognizable to American audiences, his small roles in numerous art-house hits continued to hint at the possibility of future international stardom. It was during this period that Wilson was also becoming increasingly prominent on-stage due to memorable and high-profile performances alongside such heavies as Maggie Smith (La Machine Infernale), Judi Dench (A Little Night Music), and his father (Eurydice). In 1994 Lambert directed himself in a production of Musset's Les Caprices de Marianne, which went on to tour throughout France after a successful run in Paris.
After Wilson's international breakthrough in 2003's The Matrix Reloaded, audiences worldwide could rest assured that they would be seeing plenty more of the talented actor in the very near future -- and that's not even taking into account the continuation of his Merovingian role in The Matrix Revolutions. Even as Lambert was on the verge of international stardom with the announcement of his involvement with such high-profile U.S. releases as Richard Donner's Timeline and the big-budget superhero film Catwoman (directed by stylish French director Pitof), he still remained true to his roots by simultaneously appearing in such undeniably French productions as Alain Resnais' Pas sur la Bouche (2003) and Nadine Trintignant's small-screen drama Colette. In addition to his acting career, Wilson has narrated classical works under the direction of some of the world's most notable conductors, and has released a pair of albums featuring both classic songs from American musicals and the golden age of French cinema.
Lambert was born on August 3, 1958, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
More fun facts about Lambert Wilson
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)
Son of Georges Wilson
He is half Irish, half French.
Screen tested for GoldenEye (1995) for the role of James Bond 007, appearing in test footage opposite Maryam d'Abo (Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights (1987)) as Tania Romanova, re-enacting scenes from From Russia with Love (1963).
Was featured in a series of artsy Calvin Klein ads featuring Christy Turlington for Eternity in 1991, as well as a poster ad for Eternity in 1998.
Lambert Wilson Talks About "Catwoman"
In "Catwoman," Halle Berry stars as Patience Philips, a mild-mannered woman who works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a huge cosmetics firm run by George Hedare (Lambert Wilson) and supermodel wife, Laurel (Sharon Stone). When Patience overhears one of her employer's dirty little secrets, she's murdered. But that's not the end of Patience. Resurrected as Catwoman, she goes on the prowl to get even with those who wronged her.
Enter Detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt). Detective Lone finds himself falling for Patience Philips, yet strangely attracted to Catwoman, a feline figure who might be responsible for a series of crimes being committed in his city.
"Catwoman" bad guy Lambert Wilson discusses his roles and what sets this comic book-based movie apart from others of its genre.
INTERVIEW WITH LAMBERT WILSON:
What sets this film apart from all these other summer action movies?
I think the sense of movement, which is very archetypal of Pitof’s work. It’s like you’re flying within the story. You fly in the story, you are like a bird and you follow inside the sets with a great sense of dynamics. Of course, you know you’ve got great action, you’ve got great fights, you’ve got great special effects and all that, but what I think is new and very specific is the way Pitof filmed it. It’s very new and exciting visually. It’s very sleek.
How do not lose the humanity with all the special effects?
It’s so happened, like with “The Matrix,” the characters that I do are more ‘acting’ characters and so therefore I don’t see any blue screen. It’s all about acting so with Halle it’s very easy to act, and Sharon [Stone] also. It’s all about connecting and I haven’t done yet a film in which I had to be completely suspended in the air, where you can possibly lose a sense of reality of the characters. As far as I’m concerned it’s like doing another normal film.
Why do they keep casting you as the bad guy?
(Laughing) Because I’m French.
Is that really what it is?
That’s the trouble with actors, if you do very well in one type, it’s very hard to propose another genre of characters. So I’m going to put all my energy trying to find all those different parts, which I’ve been doing in France. In France, I do bad guys, nice guys, usually rather good guys actually.
We need to see you play a good guy in America.
I know. We have to talk to the directors.
Catwoman - Lambert Wilson Q&A
Q. You must have enjoyed playing the villain along with Sharon?
A. Well, we were just saying before we came in the room that we want to do more. I personally enjoyed so much the possibility of our relationship, because it’s a game that they have been playing. So, it’s only the beginning - not necessarily between Laurel and George, because they’re dead [laughs] but definitely, hopefully, between Sharon and I. I think it’s fantastically enjoyable and of course I wanted the film to be a documentary about the life of the Hedares, but I think there is great pleasure in people playing baddies who go all the way. It was fantastic to do this with Sharon and I’m very thankful that it happened to me, and I pray that it will happen again.
Q. What was your favourite comic book character as a kid? And which comic book character would you still like to play, perhaps?
A. In the French spectrum of the comic world, Tin-Tin is the one. And it just so happened that my dad played Captain Haddock in the first film. I’d like to do Pepe Le Pue.
Q. Is there a feeling that the French are taking over from the British as the villains of choice in Hollywood?
A. You know what, it’s funny because I had to put on a British accent for this. So, to answer your question, yes the French are taking over, but by being English. [laughs]
It’s interesting, though, the possibilities that are being offered to European actors within film. I sensed this with The Matrix as well, because suddenly it is a global village, but I think we’re also now addressing a global audience and using actors, and I think that’s great. Using actors from a lot of different cultures. It used to be impossible, but of course we have yet to be accepted as part of the American culture in being identifiable good guys. But I think the ground has been broken.
Q. How do men feel in Hollywood, in terms of having to make themselves look beautiful to get the better parts?
A. Obviously, I don’t live in Hollywood, but speaking personally, life as an actor becomes interesting after 40, unless you’re a matinee idol, but then you’re having trouble later. It’s beginning to be interesting then.
A. Because then it’s about acting, it’s about the character you are going to perform. It’s about what you do in the film. In a way, although I’d always dreamt of being a matinee idol and being really beautiful and all that, I kind of missed that part, and I’m relieved now, because I feel much cleaner. It’s about the essence of the character now. Of course, the two can work together, and we have an example here [points towards Benjamin].
Lambert Wilson co-stars in ''The Matrix Reloaded''
The Matrix" rewrote the textbook for movie science fiction. The surprise 1999 sleeper hit -- Warner Bros. Pictures' biggest until "Harry Potter" came along -- did what science fiction and fantasy often do: It questioned the nature of reality and drew inspiration from philosophy and Eastern and Western spiritual thought. But for its borrowings from Lewis Carroll, William Gibson and Philip K. Dick, among others, the movie stood as a unique creation. Its authors, the highly talented Andy and Larry Wachowski, pulled the movie's many themes and ideas together into one of the great entertainments in recent pop culture.
Like "Blade Runner," "2001" and "Metropolis," the movie made us rethink the nature of our world. The "Matrix" phenomenon also inspired several books analyzing its references and cultural impact. "The Matrix Reloaded," the first of two sequels being released this year, points to the discouraging prospect that the Wachowskis may have read those books and started to believe in their own semimythological status, for the brothers seem to be taking themselves way too seriously.
The first movie was pitched to a broad spectrum of moviegoers, combining the best elements of storytelling, action and computer and visual effects. While upping the ante considerably in the action and effects department, storytelling stumbles frequently this outing as the movie stops cold for philosophical digressions about fate and destiny and reality. These remind one ever so much of tortuous university lectures in symbolic logic on a warm spring day. Instead of Zen-influenced truths punctuating the action and characters' decisions as in the first installment, these now impede the narration.
The film, of course, is a sure thing at the boxoffice. In fact, each sequel, "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" (coming Nov. 7) -- reportedly costing more than $300 million to make -- will easily pass the $460 million worldwide gross of the original film. Opening weekend for "Reloaded" should come close to $100 million, with a potential for a $300 million domestic boxoffice.
"Reloaded" wants to burrow much deeper into the complexity of both the Matrix, that computer-fabricated world that lulls its human slaves into the delusion of a normal life, and the "real" world, where liberated humans can battle artificially intelligent Machines. Perhaps the gamble here is that "The Matrix's" many fans will willingly sit through lengthy character introductions and further amplification of the philosophical realm in which the final battle must be won in order to lay the groundwork for "Revolutions."
Like his character, a computer hacker who goes by the handle of Neo, Keanu Reeves has clearly grown in conviction and physical agility to wear comfortably the dark clothes of the series' hero. Playing to the actor's strengths, the Wachowskis have made Neo in the mode of Western heroes played by Gary Cooper and Alan Ladd -- strong, silent men who do what they have to do.
Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus, Neo's spiritual guru and guide in the first episode, handles well the transition to someone who is not quite a sidekick yet must recede into a role that requires him to be the conduit of the Wachowskis' philosophical ruminations.
Carrie-Anne Moss returns as Trinity, the female warrior whose love for Neo and faith in Morpheus provide the rock from which both men can confidently battle. Her fights and stunts, especially a wild motorcycle ride during a freeway chase, continue to be the highlight of the series. She is the movies' best female action star since Linda Hamilton in the "Terminator" series.
"Reloaded" sends Neo on a personal quest to understand the nature of the task he accepted when he embraced his identity as the long-sought "One." To do so, Neo re-enters the Matrix. In his search for truth, he visits the Oracle (the late Gloria Foster), protected by the fighter Seraph (Collin Chou); rescues the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim), who knows the system's weakness; encounters new foes in Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), a Matrix political heavyweight, his duplicitous trophy wife, Persephone (Monica Bellucci), and the Twins (English black-belt brothers Neil and Adrian Rayment), a silver-clad albino duo in dreadlocks; and finally encounters the Architect (Helmut Bakaitis), the godlike creator of the Matrix.
Meanwhile, a Machine army bores down on Zion, humanity's last enclave deep within the Earth. At times, its vast machines and torch-lit cavernous rooms remind one of a crowded cathedral where hope still rules. Another time, when everyone parties down, it looks like a rave. Zion's three heroes are aided by new characters including Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), an ex-flame of Morpheus'; the wise Councillor Hamann (Anthony Zerbe); Link (Harold Perrineau), a loyal crewman on Morpheus' hovercraft; and Link's anxious wife, Zee (Nona Gaye).
The evil Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), so explosively "deleted" from the system in the original film, makes a startling comeback not only as a free agent loose within the Matrix but who has the ability to replicate himself 100-fold -- which leads to the movie's first great fight sequence and the first glimpse of one of the film's problems.
Determined to one-up themselves in the area of effects, the Wachowskis move beyond "bullet time" -- those moments of slow motion seen by a camera moving at regular speed -- to put on film an epic rumble created through motion-capture data and virtual reality. This pits Neo against 100 Agent Smith clones in a city courtyard. Making and breaking the rules of 3-D animation, the sequence is technologically astonishing -- but repetitive and dull. Over and over, Neo slams aside these Agent Smiths, and over and over they spring back to attack. It's an amazing demonstration of movie magic, but it has virtually no impact on story or character. In fact, when Neo tires of the whole thing and simply flies up from the courtyard and away -- doing his "Superman thing," as Link puts it -- more than a few viewers may wonder: Why the hell he didn't do that in the first place?
Unlike "The Matrix," all fights and stunts -- including a 14-minute freeway chase -- have a disturbing tendency to repeat intricately choreographed action. Thus, computer technology and overkill supplant the ingenuity of the original film's action.
How this strategy of raising the bar in special effects and annotating most nonaction scenes with philosophical and mythological references will pay off in the final chapter may ultimately validate the Wachowski brothers' choices in this film. As the Matrix deteriorates in "Revolutions," much of "Reloaded" may resonate in ways we can now only imagine.
Lambert Wilson: Not On The Lips
PAS SUR LA BOUCHE
A buoyant and entertaining musical comedy from acclaimed director Alain Resnais (HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR), based on a 1925 Parisian-style operetta.
Frivolous Parisian socialite Gilberte Valandray (Sabine Azema) is happily wed to steel magnate Georges Valandray (Pierre Aditi). Though Gilberte is being heartily pursued by Charley (Jalil Lespert), a handsome young artist, and by Faradel (Daniel Provost), an aging paramour, Georges has total trust in his wife's fidelity. He believes that a woman is forever blissfully joined to her first lover (ie her first husband) - so he refuses to be jealous or worried.
Gilberte has no intention of cheating on Georges. But she does intend to keep from him the inconvenient fact that she was married once before, in the US, to American businessman Eric Thompson (Lambert Wilson). Only her sister (and maid) Arlette (Isabel Nanty) is in on the secret. Huguette (played by the wonderful Audrey Tautou) is also in the mix as a shy family friend with a huge crush on Charley. The fun begins in earnest when Georges mentions he has invited to a prospective business partner to dinner - none other than Thompson.
The operetta boasts an enticing variety of songs peppered with witty and unnervingly relevant lyrics. The brilliant all-star cast, wonderful production design, and very playful visual flourishes, make for a supremely handsome, and hugely enjoyable spectacle. PAS SUR LA BOUCHE is not to be missed!