Min Sosters Born (2001)
Red Riding Hood
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Born on January 26, 1973 in Paris, Melvil Poupaud is the son of Chantal Poupaud who was the press secretary of Marguerite Duras. By the time he was twenty, Melvil had already sustained a decades-long career as a child actor. Christened after Herman Melville by his screenwriter mother, Melvil launched off into acting in primary school, with a role in La Ville des Pirates (1983), directed by the esteemed Raul Ruiz -- not a bad start for a ten-year-old. The following years, the young Melvil will have significent roles in nine other feature films by Raul Ruiz, including the 1985 L'ile Au Tresor where he played young Jim Hawkins. It was at this time that Melvil decided to become a professional actor.
In 1989, at the age of 15, thanks to his interpretation in Jacques Doillon's film La fille de quinze ans, Melvil Poupaud was first nominated for the César for the best male hope... a nomination he won a second time in 1994 for his character in Les gens normaux.
Poupaud worked under the aegis of A-list French directors such as Jacques Doillon and Eric Rohmer -- typically pure romances or romantic comedies, often typecast as a snotty, slightly conceited jerk. Early parts included the younger brother in Jean-Jacques Annaud's The Lover (1991), the lead role of Gaspard in Rohmer's A Summer's Tale (1996), and several more collaborations with Ruiz, such as director's 1994 Fado, Major and Minor.
Poupaud subsequently received top billing in François Ozon's 2005 Time to Leave, as a high-profile, gay fashion photographer looking back on his childhood, struggling with inoperable brain cancer. Among other things, the film demonstrated that Poupaud could hold his own alongside Jeanne Moreau. The actor followed this up with a respectable contribution as the romantic lead in Zoe Cassavetes' drama Broken English (2007), opposite American indie darling Parker Posey. The next year, he had a small role as Johnny "Goodboy" Jones in the Wachowski Brothers' elaborate, CGI-infused live-action production of Speed Racer.
Sporting dual passions -- one for music, another for movies -- Poupaud cut his chops as a musician on the drums, then formed the Euro rock band Mud with his brother Yarol Poupaud, while continuing to land movie roles on the side.