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He had been acting in film and television for a decade before Matthias Schoenaerts' break came with 'Bullhead' (2011), a visceral examination of masculinity in crisis. 'Rust and Bone' (2012) followed and with it roles in international productions. Schoenaerts can be charming or malevolent. He is an actor of subtlety who can engage his sizeable physique in more imposing roles. He adds colour to roles in 'The Drop', 'A Little Chaos' and 'Suite Française' (all 2014), but excels in 'Far From the Madding Crowd' (2015). In 'Disorder' (2015), like his character in 'Bullhead', he is an uncoiled spring. An ex-soldier protecting a wealthy businessman's family, it's soon made clear that he may pose a greater danger to them than any unknown assailant. He is equally impressive in 'A Bigger Splash' (2015), one of his finest roles to date and a fine showcase for his range as an actor.
He's one of the legends of 1970s Hollywood cinema. He grew up in a Calvinist community and saw his first film when he attended University. His passion for cinema matched his obsession with guns. A fascination with masculinity would inform his finest work, but before becoming a writer-filmmaker he was a Paulette – one of the protégées of firebrand critic Pauline Kael. Admiration for the cinema of Carl Theodore Dreyer, Robert Bresson and Yasujiro Ozu would inform his films. He wrote 'The Yakuza', based on his brother Leonard's story and directed by Sydney Pollack. A bleak period informed 'Taxi Driver' (1976). It cemented his reputation. Further collaborations with Martin Scorsese followed: 'Raging Bull' (1980), 'The Last Temptation of Christ' (1988) and 'Bringing Out the Dead' (1999). But his personality proved too strong to remain just a writer. 'Blue Collar' (1978) is a stunning debut. 'Hardcore' (1979) felt more like an exorcism of his strict religious background. 'American Gigolo' (1980) was a key film in defining the 1980s – all shoulder pads and Armani suits – and drew heavily on Bresson's 'Pickpocket' (1959). It was also first in a trilogy of sorts, followed by 'Light Sleeper' (1992) and 'The Walker' (2007). He is at his best when he surprises: the rapturous splendour of 'Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters' (1985); the smart satire of religious comedy 'Touch' (1997); the dysfunctional biopic 'Autofocus' (2002). 'Affliction' (1997) is a stunning adaptation of Russell Bank's novel, 'Adam Resurrected' (2008) is a genuine oddity, 'The Canyons' (2013) is a mess. 'Dog Eat Dog' is as ferocious as it sounds, falling somewhere between 'Natural Born Killers' (1996) and a hardboiled crime drama.
Kristin Scott Thomas was born in 1960 in Redruth, Cornwall. She gained international fame in the 1990s for her roles in the British classic comedy 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' (1994) and her intense performance in Anthony Minghella's 'The English Patient' (1996). Thomas, who is fluent French speaker, has been a prominent figure in French cinema, starring in films such as the immensely popular 'I've Loved You So Long' (2008).
Toni Servillo, born in 1959, has been described by Italian Vogue as 'the most versatile actor in the history of Italian cinema'. In 1977 he founded a theatre company, where he spent the next three decades working with many renowned directors. He made his feature film debut in his forties, in Paolo Sorrentino's 'One Man Up' (2001). Since then, he has collaborated on many Sorrentino films, including the Oscar winning 'The Great Beauty' (2013).
She was one of the most iconic faces of the 1990s, first thanks to her breakthrough role in 'Kids' (1995), her appearance in the music video for Sonic Youth’s ‘Sugar Kane’ and the seven-page article novelist Jay McInerney wrote about her for The New Yorker. Her screen debut in Larry Clark’s controversial portrait of disaffected youth came through a burgeoning friendship – later a relationship – with the film’s screenwriter Harmony Korine. She is the film’s heart and soul. Roles in 'Trees Lounge' (1996), 'Gummo' (1997) and 'The Last Days of Disco' (1998) cemented her reputation. She gave her most complex performance to date in 'Boys Don’t Cry' (1999), an exploration of gender identity that would be echoed in the 2012 TV drama 'Hit & Miss'. She steals one of the best scenes in 'American Psycho' (2000) and over the course of the subsequent decade proves her versatility. She makes 'The Brown Bunny' (2003) watchable – the dubious felatio scene notwithstanding. She is one of the wives in the smart, satirical 'Big Love' (2006-11), has featured in the acclaimed series 'Portlandia' (2013), 'The Mindy Project' (2013), 'American Horror Story' (2012-16) and 'Bloodline' (2015-16). She also re-teamed with 'The Last Days of Disco' star Kate Beckinsale and director Whit Stillman for 'Love & Friendship' (2016), an hilarious adaptation of Jane Austen’s posthumously published epistolary novel ‘Lady Susan’.
Léa Seydoux was born in Paris, France in 1985. She began acting in her native French cinema, gaining much acclaim for her breakout role in 'The Beautiful Person' (2008). She has since appeared in many Hollywood productions including 'Inglorious Basterds' (2009) and 'Midnight in Paris' (2011). Seydoux was awarded the Palme d'Or for 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' (2013) - one of only 3 women to ever be awarded this accolade.
Born in Kentucky, USA in 1926, Harry Dean Stanton is a prolific actor who has appeared in over 100 films in the course of his lifetime. His breakthrough performance came in ‘Cool Hand Luke’ (1967). He has since worked with directors such as Ridley Scott on 'Alien' (1979), Wim Wenders in what is often noted to be his finest role in ‘Paris, Texas’ (1984), and a number of David Lynch films.
One of the most striking British actresses, known for her androgynous, otherworldly beauty, Tilda Swinton was born in 1960 and is a Cambridge graduate. She began her career in Derek Jarman's art films, and has more recently lent her talent to the mainstream, including 'The Chronicles of Narnia' (2005),'Michael Clayton' (2007) which won her both an Oscar and a BAFTA, and 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' (2011).