Movies + TV

5 Hot and Talented European Actors to Watch

Until Jean Dujardin (above) tap-danced his way into our hearts in The Artist, most of us had no idea who the hell he was. Now the Frenchman is armed with an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a lot of other awards—and has put France firmly on Hollywood's radar. Always ahead of the curve, producer Harvey Weinstein recently told the Associated Press, "France is about to have a golden age in cinema"—which is great for France, and by extension, a lot of other European actors out there. Here's a short list of a few up-and-comers we think will soon have Hollywood's heart skipping a beat.


riccardo_scamarcio.jpgName: Riccardo Scamarcio
Age: 32
Provenance: Italy
Look: Disheveled and brooding in a Johnny Depp/Benicio Del Toro sort of way. The consummate heartbreaker.
Notable Performances: Eden à l'Ouest, Romanzo Criminale
Why He'll Be Big Soon: Scamarcio is already a heartthrob in Italy, but now he's going to speak English! This June we'll see him in Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, as well as the period piece Effie, costarring Emma Thompson and Dakota Fanning.


matthias.jpgName: Matthias Schoenaerts
Age: 34
Provenance: Belgium
Look: Fierce. Tough. A man of few words. A jeans-and-T-shirt kind of guy. He has a dash of Tom Hardy, but he's definitely headed toward De Niro territory.
Notable Performances: Bullhead, Rust and Bone
Why He'll Be Big Soon: Rust and Bone debuts at Cannes later this month; then he stars in the 1970s mob flick Blood Ties alongside Clive Owen and James Caan. Prepare yourself for a major testosterone explosion.


omar_sy.jpgName: Omar Sy
Age: 34
Provenance: France
Look: Sleek and self-assured, but always with a hint of humor. Moms love him. Think Sidney Poitier meets Idris Elba.
Notable Performances: Intouchables, Omar et Fred
Why He'll Be Big Soon: His latest film, Intouchables, is the second biggest film ever in France (after Titanic), and Sy is the first black actor ever to win the Cesar (best actor) award at Cannes, beating out Jean Dujardin. Next up: He's starring in Mood Indigo, the latest trippy film from the surrealist director Michel Gondry.


jeremie_renier.jpgName: Jérémie Renier (not to be confused with Jeremy Renner)
Age: 31
Provenance: Belgium
Look: Rough and tumble with a smoldering sexual undercurrent; a nouveau Jean-Paul Belmondo for the hipster set.
Notable Performances: The Kid With a Bike, Cloclo, In Bruges
Why He'll Be Big Soon: Renier's turn as the late pop sensation Claude François (a.k.a. Cloclo) will not only turn heads thanks to the actor's uncanny resemblance (akin to Streep doing Thatcher, but way hotter), it may also bring back high-waisted tight pants for men as the new trend for fall.


guillame.jpgName: Guillaume Canet
Age: 39
Provenance: France
Look: The romantic-literature professor everyone wants to bed. Always meticulously put-together, but not metro—just French.
Notable Performances: Tell No One, Love Me if You Dare
Why He'll Be Big Soon: Canet's a double threat: actor and director. Plus, he used to be married to Diane Kruger and is now linked to Marion Cotillard. Blood Ties, his next film (starring the aforementioned Matthias Schoenaerts) will be his directorial debut in English. This is a film Canet already knows well—he played the lead role in the original French version back in 2008.



—Susan Michals is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter at @Susan_Michals

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