Daniel Auteuil

Daniel Auteuil

Auteuil originally hoped to follow his parents in singing and in his teens participated in a few operettas, but the form was dying and he enrolled in acting classes instead. He made his stage debut suspended on stage in a bag for the Paris production of "Godspell" and later scored a huge success in the 1979 Paris stage production of Bernard Slade's "Tribute" (called "Coup de chapeau" in France) which focused on a glad-handing theatrical press agent who is acclaimed 1980 production of "Le Garcon d'appartement" in Paris, in which he also starred.Auteuil reached a new level of international appeal as Harry, the motivational speaker on the brink of a nervous breakdown who encounters George, a man with Down's Syndrome, in "Le Huitieme jour/The Eighth Day" (1996, released in the USA in 1997). The film confirmed Auteuil's status in France as the equivalent of American actors like Dustin Hoffman or Robert De Niro--a leading star who plays what could be said to be character parts. Among Auteuil's credits are such zany titles as "Les Hommes preferent les grosses/Men Prefer Fat Girls" (1981), "Que le gros salaires levent le doigt!! Will All the High-Salaried Workers Please Raise Their Hands! !" (1982) and "Romuald et Juliette/Mama, There's a Man in Your Bed" (1989). In the latter, Auteuil portrayed an executive who falls in love with his Afro-French cleaning lady. For the French version of the hit comedy "Look Who's Talking" (1989), Auteuil provided the voice of infant Mikey (performed by Bruce Willis in the original). He also starred opposite Isabelle Adjani in "La Reine Margot/Queen Margot" (1994) as Henri de Navarre, the Protestant king who becomes Roman Catholic to unite France, and as brother to Catherine Deneuve in "Les Voleurs (Thieves)" (1996). Originally he was expected to co-star with Juliette Binoche as the husband of the title character in the WWII drama "Lucie Aubrac" (1997), but she dropped out over conflicts with director Claude Berri and was replaced with Carole Bouquet. Auteuil then essayed a dashing swordsman in the period drama "Le Bossu/On Guard!" (1997). In 1999, the actor made his English-language debut as a private detective living in London who is drawn into the seedy world of an international pedophile ring in the thriller "The Lost Son." Auteuil fared much better that same year in an award-winning turn as a seductive knife thrower who comes to the rescue of a suicidal Vanessa Paradis in "La Fille sur le pont/Girl on the Bridge," a ravishingly-looking black-and-white drama directed by Patrice Leconte. Reuniting with the helmer, Auteuil finally acted opposite Juliette Binoche in the period drama "La Veuve de Saint Pierre/The Widow of Saint Pierre" (2000). Cast as husband and wife, these two top notch French stars offered believable performances of somewhat forward thinkers who were besotted by one another. The actor remained in period garb to limn the titular character in "Sade" (2000), the Benoit Jacquot-directed drama set in 1774 and covering a time when the notorious author was incarcerated with other titled nobles.As the new century dawned and Auteuil reached 50, he continued to offer intriguing and nuanced screen performances. He stepped into the role of Francois Pignon, a character that has appeared in several of director Francois Veber's films in the comedy "Le Placard/The Closet" (2001). In the movie, the middle-aged Pignon is faced with losing his job and his psychiatrist offers an extreme solution for him to retain it -- disclose his homosexuality (even though he is heterosexual). Despite the strange premise, Auteuil brought a skill and plausibility to his portrayal. He subsequently appeared in support of Gerard Depardieu in the period thriller "Vidocq/Vidocq, la derniere aventure" (also 2001). Auteuil was married to actress Emmanuelle Beart, with whom he has appeared in several features, including Edouard Molinaro's romantic comedy "L'Amour en douce/Love on the Quiet" (1984) and Claude Sautet's subtle drama of a love triangle, "Un Coeur en hiver" (1993). He has been the companion of frequent co-star Marianne Denicourt ("The Lost Son," "Sade") since the late 1990s.