Matthias Schoenaerts (info)

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Matthias Schoenaerts
was born on December 8, 1977 in Antwerp, Belgium. His parents are Dominique Wiche and actor Julien Schoenaerts. He made his film debut at the age of 13, alongside his father in the Belgian film Daens (1992), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Schoenaerts enrolled in film school but was expelled for poor attendance in his second year. By age 21, he was enrolled at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Antwerp and was acting professionally in small roles on Belgian television and in Belgian film. By the time he graduated in 2003, Schoenaerts was already named one of "Europe's Shooting Stars" by the influential marketing organization, European Film Promotion.

In 2002, he starred in Dorothée Van Den Berghe's directorial debut Meisje (2002), which was also his first feature film since Daens and his breakout performance. With his role in Tom Barman's Any Way the Wind Blows (2003), he proved he was Flanders' young actor to watch.

In 2004, Schoenaerts produced and starred in the short film A Message from Outer Space(2004). He also appeared in Ellektra (2004) alongside his father.

In 2006, he had a small role as a member of the Dutch Resistance in Paul Verhoeven's El libro negro (2006), and landed his first starring role in the Belgian film Dennis van Rita(2006), playing Dennis, a mentally-challenged man learning to adjust to life after a prison sentence for a rape he may not have committed.

Though Schoenaerts garnered critical praise for his role in "Love Belongs to Everyone", the film that would make him a star in his homeland came in 2008, in Erik Van Looy's Loft(2008), Schoenaerts played Filip, one of a group of married friends who share the rent on a downtown loft as a place to meet their respective mistresses. The dramatic thriller was a smash hit, becoming the top-grossing Flemish film of all time. In the same year, he also starred in the horror film Linkeroever (2008).

In 2009, he worked once again with director Dorothée Van Den Berghe, playing the hippie Raven in My Queen Karo (2009).

In 2010, he played the lead role in Alex Stockman's techno-thriller Pulsar (2010).

In 2011, Schoenaerts starred in Michaël R. Roskam's Bullhead (2011), playing Jacky Vanmarsenille, a cattle farmer who becomes entangled with the underworld of bovine hormones and steroids. Impressed by the script, Schoenaerts committed to star in the film in 2005, and over the five years that it took first-time director Roskam to secure financing, the actor transformed his naturally thin body into that of a steroid abusing brute. His powerful performance in the tragic role won awards at numerous film festivals and propelled "Bullhead" to an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012.

In 2012, Schoenaerts got the lead role opposite Marion Cotillard in Jacques Audiard's De óxido y hueso (2012), in the film he played Ali, an ex-boxer who falls in love with Cotillard's character. Like Audiard's previous films, "Rust and Bone" received a breathless reception at the Cannes Film Festival with a ten-minute standing ovation at the end of its screening and was a critical and box office hit in France. Schoenaerts' performance in the film earned him a César Award for Most Promising Actor in 2013.

Schoenaerts also starred in the Belgian short film Dood van een Schaduw (2012), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2013 and won the European Film Award for Best European Short.

In 2013, he starred in Lazos de sangre (2013), after being recommended for the film by his former co-star in "Rust and Bone", Marion Cotillard.

Following his breakthrough in "Rust and Bone", Matthias started a career in Hollywood and landed roles in American and British productions like Saul Dibb's Suite Francesa(2014), Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos (2014), Michaël R. Roskam's La entrega (2014) and Thomas Vinterberg's Lejos del mundanal ruido (2015).

In 2015, Schoenaerts returned to French cinema in Alice Winocour's Maryland (2015), in which he plays an ex-soldier with PTSD. He also stars in Luca Guadagnino's A Bigger Splash (2015) and in Tom Hooper's La chica danesa (2015). - IMDb Mini Biography By: Polly_Kat

Trade Mark
Often works with Michaël R. Roskam

Often plays characters with boxing skills

His name is pronounced "Ma-tee-us Scone-arts".

Grew up bilingual speaking Flemish/Dutch and French. He's also fluent in English, which he learned by watching American films.

Lives in Antwerp, Belgium.

Is a graffiti artist under the pseudonym "Zenith".

Has appeared in Belgian, Dutch, French, American and British films.

Son of actor Julien Schoenaerts and Dominique Wiche.

Was raised both by his mother in Antwerp and his grandmother in Brussels; his mother never married his father, who died in 2006.

Has an older half brother, Bruno Schoenaerts, who is a lawyer.

Uncle of Ellen Schoenaerts.

Has a tattoo on his left inner arm, a triangle.

Grew up loving and playing soccer, and also painting especially graffiti. Even went to New York City to collaborate briefly with Bronx group known as Tats Cru.

Was close to become a professional soccer player but gave up when he was 16.

Is a fan of FC Barcelona.

Spent a year in film school but was kicked out for poor attendance.

Was director Jan Verheyen's first choice to play Dieter in Alias (2002), but Schoenaerts' drama school refused to give him time off to star in the movie, so the part went to second choice Geert Hunaerts.

2003: Named as one of European films' Shooting Stars by European Film Promotion.

Graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in Antwerp in 2003.

Appeared in two films with his father, Julien Schoenaerts: Daens (1992) and Ellektra(2004), the latter is the only film in which they shared scenes together.

Starred in two films directed by Dorothée Van Den Berghe: Meisje (2002) and My Queen Karo (2009).

His father Julien Schoenaerts was named "the Marlon Brando of Flanders". Since he starred in De óxido y hueso (2012), Matthias has been called "the Belgian Brando".

Is a fan of Daniel Day-Lewis, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix.

Starred in two films with Els Dottermans. She played his girlfriend in Meisje (2002) and years later she played his mother in Dennis van Rita (2006).

Appeared in two films with Laura Verlinden: Loft (2008) and Dood van een Schaduw(2012). They also appeared on the mini-series De smaak van De Keyser (2008), although they didn't share any scene.

Auditioned for a role in David Cronenberg's Un método peligroso (2011). The audition went well and the casting agents wanted to call him back, however, he had pledged his commitment to Bullhead (2011) and so had to let the opportunity slip.

Had to cultivate 27 kilograms of muscle mass to apply himself to the role of Jacky Vanmarsenille in Bullhead (2011), he prepped for the role for two years, committing to a diet of 3000 tins of tuna, several hundred chickens and plenty of oats, rice and pasta combined with an exhaustive weight lifting regimen. In addition, he also studied the Limburgish dialect to ensure he was performing with authenticity, so he wouldn't offend the natives. He also wore a prosthetic nose.

After putting on 27 kilos during two years to play Jacky in Bullhead (2011), he had to gain weight again to play Ali in De óxido y hueso (2012).

His performance as Jacky Vanmarsenille in Bullhead (2011) and Tom Hardy's performance in Bronson (2008) were Steven Ogg's inspirations to play Trevor Phillips in Grand Theft Auto V (2013). Steven Ogg revealed his inspirations at New York Comic Con in October 2013. Schoenaerts and Hardy appeared together in the film La entrega (2014) directed by Michaël R. Roskam, who is also Bullhead's director.

Has starred opposite his friend Jeroen Perceval twice: in Injury Time (2010) and Bullhead(2011).

Marion Cotillard revealed that the first and only time that she liked filming sex scenes was in De óxido y hueso (2012), on her scenes with Matthias.

First Belgian actor to win a César award.

Two films in which he played the lead received Oscar nominations in two consecutive years: Bullhead (2011) was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012 and Dood van een Schaduw (2012) was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in 2013.

Was considered by director José Padilha for the lead role of RoboCop (2014), but he dropped out because he thought that he wasn't prepared for a big movie like that yet. The part went to Joel Kinnaman. There's a scene in De óxido y hueso (2012) in which Schoenaerts' character nicknames Marion Cotillard's character "RoboCop". Schoenaerts also worked with Paul Verhoeven, the director of the original RoboCop, in El libro negro(2006).

Was originally cast as Leo Woeste in Waste Land (2014) but dropped out. Jérémie Renierwas cast instead.

As of 2015, has appeared in three films that have been nominated for an Academy Award: Daens (1992) (Best Foreign Language Film), Bullhead (2011) (Best Foreign Language Film) and Dood van een Schaduw (2012) (Best Live Action Short Film).

Featured on W Magazine's portfolio of the Best Performances of 2012, for his performance in De óxido y hueso (2012) [February 2013].

Played the same character in two different languages (Flemish and English), first in the Belgian film Loft (2008) and years later in the American remake El loft (2014) - it was also his first English-speaking role.

After starring together in De óxido y hueso (2012), Marion Cotillard recommended him for a role in her boyfriend's Guillaume Canet directorial debut in Hollywood: Lazos de sangre(2013). Canet told that he chose Schoenaerts after hearing Cotillard praising him several times.

Is often compared to Ryan Gosling. During an interview in 2013, Gosling told that Schoenaerts is an incredible actor and that he hopes he get to work with him. Schoenaerts told Vancouver Sun in 2015 that he's interested in doing a project with Gosling, they also have a friend in common, Nico Leunen.

Appeared on the cover of the first issue of French magazine Elle Man. [October 2013].

Filmed four movies in 2013: A Little Chaos (2014), La entrega (2014), Suite Francesa(2014) and Lejos del mundanal ruido (2015).

Turned down the role of Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).

Face of Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring/Summer 2014 campaign.

Was set to star in Tulip Fever (2016), but dropped out and was replaced by Dane DeHaan.

Has worked with Michaël R. Roskam three times. First in the short film The One Thing to Do (2005), then in the features Bullhead (2011) and La entrega (2014).

Was originally cast as the male lead in Alive Alone but dropped out. Idris Elba replaced him. He gave the script to Noomi Rapace while they were shooting La entrega (2014).

Was offered the lead role in François Ozon's Una nueva amiga (2014) but declined due to scheduling conflicts with Lejos del mundanal ruido (2015). Romain Duris was cast instead.

Starred in two films that made their world premieres at the 39th Toronto Film Festival in 2014: La entrega (2014) and A Little Chaos (2014), the latter was also the festival's closing-night film. [September 2014].

Was cast for the lead role of Belgica (2016), but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.

Is a fan of Breaking Bad (2008), The Wire - Bajo escucha (2002) and El equipo A (1983).

Was set to star in D'Ardennen (2015) but dropped out and was replaced by Kevin Janssens.

Six of his films have been selected for the Toronto Film Festival in four consecutive years: De óxido y hueso (2012) in 2012, Lazos de sangre (2013) in 2013, La entrega (2014) and A Little Chaos (2014) in 2014 and Maryland (2015) and La chica danesa (2015) in 2015.

Ranked on TC Candler's annual list of "The 100 Most Handsome Faces From Around the World". He was ranked #9 in 2014 and #42 in 2013.

Initially, he didn't want to accept the role of a Nazi officer in Suite Francesa (2014) for moral issues, but he changed his mind after reading the book in which the movie is based and thought: "if the writer loves the character so much, then I have to allow myself to love him as well".

Played the piano when he was a kid, so he had a little basis for his role in Suite Francesa(2014), but he wanted to learn how to play for real in the film. Schoenaerts also learned to speak German for his role as German soldier Bruno von Falk.

In 2008, he starred in the Belgian mini-series De smaak van De Keyser (2008), about the Nazi occupation of Belgium. In this mini-series, Schoenaerts plays a Belgian soldier who goes to war and has to leave his girlfriend behind. Years later, he played a German officer who falls in love with a French girl in Suite Francesa (2014), a movie about the Nazi occupation of France. He also appeared in El libro negro (2006) as a member of the Dutch Resistance in World War II.

Was mentioned in a Sony leaked email as a casting option for the role of Vosch in The 5th Wave (2015). He was also mentioned in an untitled super hero film.

Carey Mulligan suggested him for the role of Gabriel Oak in Lejos del mundanal ruido(2015) after having seen him in De óxido y hueso (2012).

Jacques Audiard e-mailed Matthias and convinced him to read the script of Maryland(2015) that his friend Alice Winocour had written for him. Audiard directed Matthias in De óxido y hueso (2012) and the two of them became friends.

Has played a soldier five times: in De smaak van De Keyser (2008) (a Belgian soldier in World War II), Tunnelrat (2008) (an Allied in World War One), Dood van een Schaduw(2012) (a Belgian soldier in World War One), Suite Francesa (2014) (a German soldier in World War II) and Maryland (2015) (a French soldier in Afghanistan).

Was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France on July 28th, 2015. This distinction is awarded by the French Ministry of Culture to people "who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the artistic or literary field or the contribution they have made to the influence of the arts and literature in France and in the world".

Starred in four period pieces that were released in 2015: Suite Francesa (2014), A Little Chaos (2014), Lejos del mundanal ruido (2015) and La chica danesa (2015).

Had two films in the official competition at the 2015 Venice Film Festival: A Bigger Splash(2015) and La chica danesa (2015).

Two of his films were selected for the 40th Toronto Film Festival in 2015: Maryland (2015) and La chica danesa (2015).

A Bigger Splash (2015) marks the first time that he played a Belgian character in a non-Belgian and non-French production. The last time that he had played a Belgian character prior to this film was in De óxido y hueso (2012).

He loves painting, architecture and boxing.

Was considered for the male lead of Batou in Ghost in the Shell (2017).

Shares an agent with former co-stars Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet: Hylda Queally.

His directorial debut, Franky, is a documentary about a one-legged childhood friend of his who became a MMA fighter, Franky van Hove.

Is the co-owner of Hakuna Casting, a Belgian casting agency which stands for diversity and fights against the under-representation of people of color and foreign origin on the screen and wants to bring diversity into commercials, video-clips and films. The agency has collaborated on the casting of films like Black (2015) and Belgica (2016).

Participated on the Zoute Grand Prix in Belgium driving a 1937 BMW 328 Mille Miglia. [October 9, 2015].

Wants to work with David Lynch, Michael Mann, Paul Thomas Anderson and Derek Cianfrance.

Is a childhood friend of Belgian soccer player Radja Nainggolan.They played soccer together at youth levels at Beerschot AC.

Was InStyle Magazine 'Man of Style' in December 2015.

Starred in 7 films released in 2015: El loft (2014), Suite Francesa (2014), A Little Chaos(2014), Lejos del mundanal ruido (2015), Maryland (2015), La chica danesa (2015) and A Bigger Splash (2015).

Personal Quotes
[on Bullhead (2011)] We all get damned in our lives, and there are ripple effects. One thing can determine a life, and it's hard to overcome that if the event is really traumatic. Your life is completely condemned by it.

It's been exciting, but at some point it drives me nuts. I haven't been here [Antwerp] a lot this year.Next year I want to do two projects and not more. Four or five a year starts feeling like a grab-the-money-and-run show.

[re family history] It's complicated. But when I was playing soccer, everything was fine.

I boxed a little when I was a teenager in Belgium, but I was pretty bad. I got punched a lot. For De óxido y hueso (2012), I hit the boxing gym for five months on a daily basis. I just wanted to be believable. Yes, I did break my nose-but that's from something else. A friend kicked me in the face when we were teenagers. Twenty years later, I'm making a documentary about him-which proves that friendship can last forever.

[on being considered for the lead role in RoboCop (2014)] They [Belgian magazine Focus Knack] blew it out of proportion. In the sense that, they were interested, but to me, it didn't feel like the right thing to do at that specific time. I thought it was too big, I thought I needed something else, to get more confidence, and not jump into this huge budget thing. But yes, they blew it out of proportion, I wasn't really happy with that. It feels disrespectful to José Padilha, who's a great director.

I like to play underdogs and antiheroes. I don't like to play classical heroes.

[on Jacques Audiard] I don't know if he's crazy. Maybe all the other ones are crazy for not being like him. He wants to film truth, he doesn't want to film acting. Acting for him isn't about tricks and vanity; it's about being simple and authentic and sincere. He's the first true actor's director I've ever worked with.

[on the first time he saw Marion Cotillard on the set of De óxido y hueso (2012)] I saw Marion before the rehearsal, she was in a wheelchair, she looked totally depressed and I thought ... 'It's not going to work out very well with Marion' and I thought 'What do I do? Should I talk to her?' It wasn't until we started rehearsing that I realized she was totally in Stéphanie's world already. She'd actually become Stéphanie. It made me really scared. She is an exceptional actress and she does everything to her utmost ability. Jacques Audiard is always highly demanding, very sensitive, highly intelligent and he enables us to expand and develop and move into areas that we might never have thought of, so I was very very happy to be in this film with Marion, to work with Jacques, it was overwhelming. It was a tremendous gift.

[on choosing screen projects] Its a combination of elements. Of course it starts with the screenplay and part of the creative team around it. It's an energy thing. If someone were to ask me to picture myself spending two weeks on a deserted island with this person, if the answer is 'yes' then I'm going to go. If we run out of conversation in thirty minutes, then why the fuck would you make a film with that person?

I hate it when people try to make you look like a pretty boy, I really don't like that. I always try to make myself look like shit when I do a role.

[on speaking three languages] It's part of our education. And then, later on, I don't know. When we see American films, for instance, we have subtitles. We don't dub them, so you grow up with all these American films. So I probably picked up a lot from that as well.

I'm attracted to people with flaws. I like people that are imperfect-the anti-heroes. I don't believe in heroes. I think people can do heroic stuff, but I don't think people are heroes. I like ambiguous characters that you can hate at the same time, mostly for the same reason you like them.

I like good cinema, whether it's small independent cinema or a huge project. For me it's all about, is it going to blow people's minds, in a creative way, in an emotional way. That's the experience we're sharing with an audience when we go to a movie theater.

I don't want to be pinned down as just a physical actor. I understand that people may think I am, since Bullhead (2011) and De óxido y hueso (2012) popped up one year after another, but that's a coincidence. I've done a lot of different stuff.

I think language, for me, it frees me as an actor. I don't know, playing in another language gives me a lot of energy. It's freeing. It's liberating. And it offers you the opportunity to work in France and in the States as well so that's exciting because I think language, that's a sad thing. The National Academy of Dramatic Arts, we don't even learn French or English and that's the only thing I think we're missing in our dramatic education.

[on Gabriel Oak] I was fascinated by the absolute selflessness and sincerity and loyalty of that guy.

[on Graffiti] I've been doing it ever since I was 13, 14. As a kid, I had a lot of books about painters; I was totally absorbed and obsessed. It has a meditative effect on me because it doesn't involve so many people.

I'm also an animal. I can also be a beast. I know about sex.