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Born in California in 1964, Nicolas Cage hails from a family of successful actors and directors (his uncle was Francis Ford Coppola, director of 'The Godfather' trilogy). Versatile, eccentric and quirky, Cage made his name in classic American independent films such as 'Raising Arizona' (1987) and 'Wild at Heart' (1990) and has since appeared in countless Hollywood blockbusters including 'Con Air' (1997) and 'National Treasure' (2004).
Michael Caine’s status as one of cinema’s greats is matched by his astonishing productivity across 60 years. His breakthrough was as officer Gonville Bromhead in 'Zulu' (1964). Next came the first of a series of career-defining roles, playing Harry Palmer in 'The Ipcress File' (1965). Renowned for treating acting like any other job, Caine’s filmography is full of misfires ('The Swarm' , 'Jaws: The Revenge' , 'Bullseye!' ) as it is successes ('Get Carter'  – another defining role – 'Educating Rita' , 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' , 'Last Orders' ). He won his first Oscar for 'Hannah and Her Sisters' (1986) and a second for 'The Cider House Rules' (1999). He impressed, balancing grit and vulnerability, in 'Mona Lisa' (1986), 'Blood and Wine' (1996) and 'The Quiet American' (2002). He brought dignity to the eponymous hero in 'Harry Brown' (2009) and has stolen many a scene in his ongoing collaboration with Christopher Nolan.
Vincent Cassel, born in Paris in 1966, is one of the leading talents of European cinema, often known for playing short-tempered or mentally unbalanced gangsters. His breakthrough came with 'La Haine' (1995), in which he played a troubled youngster from Paris' deprived outskirts. Cassel is also renowned for playing the infamous bank-robber Jacques Mesrine, and for his roles in English-language films, including 'Oceans Twelve' (2004).
With the recent loss of David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave remains one of the last true iconoclasts of rock. From his early years with The Birthday Party, through his time with the Bad Seeds and more recent incarnation as the angry, middle-aged frontman of Grinderman, Cave has forged an alter-ego that is as compelling as it is dark and intense. Aside of his appearances in music videos, the inspired mock-biopic '20,000 Days on Earth' (2014) and more sombre 'One More Time with Feeling' (2016), Cave and his band appeared as themselves at the end of Wim Wenders 'Wings of Desire' (1987). He impressed in his dramatic debut, as a prison inmate in 'Ghosts… of the Civil Dead' (1988). It began a collaboration with director John Hillcoat that has seen him pen the screenplays for that film, the stark Australian Western 'The Proposition' (2005) and prohibition-era thriller 'Lawless' (2012). He co-wrote and narrated Amy Berg’s documentary 'Prophet’s Pray' (2015) and wrote the upcoming remake of the graphic novel adaptation 'The Crow' (2018). He has taken cameos in 'Johnny Suede' (1991), 'Baby Trouble Hole' (1996) and 'Rhinoceros Hunting in Budapest' (1997). And he was a barroom balladeer in 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' (2004).
The shooting of Terrence Malick’s 'The Tree of Life' may have been completed years before, but the filmmaker’s measured approach to editing resulted in the film’s release being delayed until 2011. It was a perfect storm for Jessica Chastain, who saw another four features starring her released in the same year, bringing deserved focus on a gifted actor whose star ascended overnight. (In truth, she had been on TV and in films since 2004.) Alongside her subtle performance in Malick’s metaphysical opus, Chastain excelled in Jeff Nichol’s apocalyptic 'Take Shelter', opposite an equally intense Michael Shannon. She was no less impressive in Ralph Fiennes muscular adaptation of Shakespeare’s 'Coriolanus' and displayed her versatility in 'The Help'. 'Zero Dark Thirty' (2012) cemented her star status and 'Miss Julie' (2014) saw her more than able to take on Strindberg’s complex heroine. Strong support roles in 'Interstellar' (2014) and 'The Martian' (2015) increased her profile, but she was at her best in J.C. Chandor’s 'A Most Violent Year' (2014). She is better than 'The Huntsman: Winter’s War' (2016) and proves she could easily carry a film playing the eponymous Washington lobbyist in John Madden’s tense 'Miss Sloane' (2016).
George Clooney is one of the most prolific and popular actors working in film today. His three-decade spanning acting career has seen him in critically acclaimed, award-winning roles. He landed his first major acting role in the 1984 medical series 'ER', and made his directorial debut with 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' in 2002. Clooney has won several Golden Globes and Academy Awards for acting and producing.
A character actor whose easy charm propelled him to early success, François Cluzet had worked with Claude Chabrol, Diane Kurys and Jean Becker by the time his international profile took off with his engaging performance as a jazz fan opposite saxophone legend Dexter Gordon in Bertrand Tavernier’s ‘Round Midnight' (1985). He then appeared in Tony Gatlif’s 'Rue de depart' (1985) and was excellent in Claire Denis’ directorial debut 'Chocolat' (1987). He then starred opposite Gérard Depardieu, Josiane Balasko and Carole Bouquet in Bertrand Blier's 'Trop belle pour toi' (1989), turned to Hollywood for Robert Altman’s 'Prêt-à-Porter' and Lawrence Kasdan’s 'French Kiss' (both 1994). He excelled as a man haunted by the death of his wife in Guillaume Canet’s fast-paced thriller 'Tell No One' (2006) and worked again with the director on the ensemble comedy drama 'Little White Lies' (2010). His biggest success to date came with playing a paraplegic who forms a friendship with Omar Sy’s caregiver in 'The Intouchables' (2011).
Born in Manchester in 1965, Coogan is one of the most popular and versatile comic actors working in Britain today. He is best known for his awkward and politically incorrect Norfolk media personality character Alan Partridge. Coogan has also delved into more dramatic roles in 2013 with 'What Maisie Knew', and 'Philomena', which he co-wrote and produced, earning him several Oscar and BAFTA nominations.
Marion Cotillard was born in 1975 in Paris, France. Raised by a family of actors, she made her stage debut starring in one of her father’s plays. In 2007, Marion gained international recognition after winning an Oscar for her iconic portrayal of Édith Piaf in 'La Vie En Rose'. Since then, she has appeared in various English and French-language films, including 'Midnight in Paris' (2011), 'Inception' (2010) and 'Two Days, One Night' (2014).
Sir Tom Courtenay was born on February 25, 1937, in Hull, England. He came to prominence as one of the ‘Angry Young Men’ – a new wave of rebel actors that took British Cinema by storm during the early 60’s. He gained popularity with his BAFTA award winning performance in ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ and in 1964 he was awarded Best Actor for ‘King and Country’ at the Venice Film Festival. His role in ‘Doctor Zhivago’ earned him an Oscar nomination and in 2015, Courtenay won the award for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival for his outstanding performance in Andrew Haigh's ’45 Years’.
Mark Cousins is a writer and filmmaker from Northern Ireland. He is the creator of 'The Story of Film: An Odyssey' (2011), a 15-hour television series, 'A Story of Children and Film' (2014) and 'The Eyes of Orson Welles' (2018). In 2009, along with actress Tilda Swinton, he mounted a portable cinema and hauled it manually through the Scottish Highlands. The result was a travelling film festival which featured in a documentary called 'Cinema is Everywhere'.