skip navigation
Michel Blanc

Michel Blanc

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

The Witnesses (Les Temoins)... The early days of the AIDS crisis in France provides the backdrop for this... more info $24.99was $24.99 Buy Now

The Girl On The Train (La Fille Du RER)... The truth is a casualty in the complex drama "The Girl On The Train" (2009). A... more info $24.99was $24.99 Buy Now

Menage DVD One smooth talking rogue and a married couple make a potent combination.... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 16, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: France Profession: actor, screenwriter, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This French actor-writer-director's international reputation grew steadily in the 1990s, particularly after the release of "Grosse Fatigue" (1994), a comedy about a leading actor whose life is turned macabre when a look-a-like wreaks havoc. Key to the twist in the film was that "auteur" Michel Blanc used real actors and personalities, such as Charlotte Gainsbourg and Roman Polanski, portraying themselves, yet in scripted roles. The film won Blanc the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival. Like many actors of the past 20 years, in France, Hollywood and elsewhere, Michel Blanc might not have been considered "movie star" material in the Golden Age of the 1930s. Not handsome, bald and diminutive, he has nevertheless become one of France's leading screen stars, and occasionally appears in English-language films as well. Starting out with an acting troupe called "Le Splendide", which he helped to found, Blanc was in motion pictures by the time he was 23, including "La Meilleure facon de marcher/The Best Way to Walk", a 1975 film in which a teen at a summer camp is toughened up by his camp counselor. Blanc worked steadily after that, including roles in Polanski's "The Tenant" (1976) and...

This French actor-writer-director's international reputation grew steadily in the 1990s, particularly after the release of "Grosse Fatigue" (1994), a comedy about a leading actor whose life is turned macabre when a look-a-like wreaks havoc. Key to the twist in the film was that "auteur" Michel Blanc used real actors and personalities, such as Charlotte Gainsbourg and Roman Polanski, portraying themselves, yet in scripted roles. The film won Blanc the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Like many actors of the past 20 years, in France, Hollywood and elsewhere, Michel Blanc might not have been considered "movie star" material in the Golden Age of the 1930s. Not handsome, bald and diminutive, he has nevertheless become one of France's leading screen stars, and occasionally appears in English-language films as well. Starting out with an acting troupe called "Le Splendide", which he helped to found, Blanc was in motion pictures by the time he was 23, including "La Meilleure facon de marcher/The Best Way to Walk", a 1975 film in which a teen at a summer camp is toughened up by his camp counselor. Blanc worked steadily after that, including roles in Polanski's "The Tenant" (1976) and "L'Adolescente" (1978), directed by Jeanne Moreau.

By the 80s, he was writing screenplays in which he could star. His first two scripts were directed by Patrice Leconte: "Viens chez moi, j'habite chez une copine/Come to My Place, I'm Living at My Girl-Friend's" (1980), in which Blanc played a self-centered womanizer whose temporary move to a friend's apartment becomes permanent, and "Ma femme s'appelle reviens/Singles" (1982) about neighbors who discover they make better friends than lovers. Two years later, he made his directorial debut with "Marche a l'ombre/Walk in the Shadow", a fluffy buddy picture. While a household face as a light comedian in France by the mid-80s, Blanc had yet to flex his dramatic acting muscle. That came with "Menage" (1986), in which he was a weak-willed husband drawn into a gay liaison by Gerard Depardieu. His performance won the Best Actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival. Three years later, Blanc was again the toast of the French film industry with the release of "Monsieur Hire", a thriller in which he played a lonely tailor obsessively watching a woman through his window. It was also in 1989 that Blanc had some exposure to American audiences--besides those who seek out foreign films--as the Hotel Manager in "Strike It Rich", a Molly Ringwald comedy. In 1991, he was Alonso, under the tutelage of John Gielgud in Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books", a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest". He subsequently appeared as an assistant prefect to police, smelling something amiss, in Robert Altman's "Ready-to-Wear/Pret-a-Porter" (1994).

Despite appearances in English language films, Blanc had not left France for the lure of international films, as "Grosse Fatigue" (also 1994) attested. In this comedy, written and directed by Blanc, he was a popular French comic actor whose reputation is threatened by a lookalike imposter. Part of the joke of the film is seeing known actors (like Philippe Noiret, Carole Bouquet and Charlotte Gainsbourg) play scripted versions of themselves. He also appeared in Roberto Benigni's "The Monster/Il Mostro" (filmed in 1994; released in the USA in 1996) as a criminal psychiatrist on the trail of a serial killer. On the heels of the success of "Grosse Fatigue", Blanc spent much of 1995 appearing on stage as Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice" in Nantes, followed by "Art", a comedy by Yasmina Reza, in Paris.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Escort, The (2000) Director
2.
  Dead Tired (1994) Director
3.
  Marche a l'ombre (1990) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Minister, The (2012)
5.
6.
 Nos 18 Ans (2008)
7.
 Witnesses, The (2007)
8.
 Second Wind (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Founding member "Le Splendide" theatre group
1975:
Early screen appearance, "La Meilleure facon de marcher/The Best Way to Walk"
1976:
Played supporting role in Roman Polanski's "The Tenant"
1978:
Directed by Jeanne Moreau in "L'Adolescente"
1980:
First produced screenplay (also starred), "Viens chez moi j'habite chez une copine"
1982:
Starred in "Ma femme's s'appele reviens/Singles" from his screenplay
1983:
Co-starred with Jerry Lewis in "Retenez moi...ou je fais un malheur/To Catch a Cop"
1984:
Feature directorial debut, "Marche a l'ombre"; also wrote and starred
1986:
Breakthrough acting role, "Menage"
1989:
English-language film, "Strike It Rich"
1991:
Co-starred with John Gielgud in "Prospero's Books"
1994:
Directed, wrote and starred in "Grosse Fatigue"
1995:
Appeared on stage as Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice" in Nantes
1999:
Directed first English-language film, "The Escort" starring Daniel Auteuil
2007:
Co-starred in André Téchiné's "The Witnesses/Les Témoins"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"He has always played the tiny, poor little guy who suffers because he is ugly. He's extremely well known for these parts. People say 'Poor Michel.'" --Actress Carole Bouquet in The New York Times, July 9, 1995.

"I'm not one of those to complain. I am very happy to be known." --Michel Blanc in The New York Times, July 9, 1995.

"I can't step in for Paul Newman, and he can't step in for me, so that's fine." --Blanc in The New York Times, July 9, 1995.

"I'm sometimes recognized in New York. People come and say, 'Are you that French actor?' So that can be good." --Blanc in The New York Times, July 9, 1995.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute