Born in Paris, France to Annick, a ballerina, and Pierre, a voiceover actor, Melanie Laurent is a French actress, singer and writer, probably best known to American audiences for her role as Shosanna Dreyfus in the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, for which she won Best Actress from the Austin Film Critics Association and Online Film Critics Society.
BioMelanie Laurent is Jewish and she has Ashkenazi and Tunisian Sephardic ancestry.
Melanie got her start in entertainment when Gerard Depardieu saw her while she was watching Asterix being filmed and he asked her if she wanted to be in movies. She said, Why not? Subsequently, she got a part when she was 16 in The Bridge. Depardieu passed along three pieces of acting advice to her: dont take acting classes, dont learn your lines too far in advance, and never be afraid of being ridiculous.
Other roles followed, including parts in Im Fine, Dont Worry and Le Concert. She also directed and wrote a short film, De moins en moins, which was nominated for Best Short Film at the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival. Melanie Laurent also directed an erotic short film, A ses pieds.
But it was Inglorious Basterds that brought her an international fan base. She said, When I read the script of Inglorious Basterds, I was like, wow, its been my dream to kill Hitler since I was like four so I was kind of like Shosanna already. Im Jewish. I read the script together with my grandfather and he told me, You have to make that movie, please. So it was not just for me, it was for my family. Melanie Laurent told askmen.com, I started to [learn English] with this film. And I just learned fastI had to survive.
While making the film in the four months of shooting that followed, Melanie learned how to operated an old-style projection booth at Quentin Tarantinos home, learned to speak moderately fluent English, and found inspiration in Quentin for her own directorial efforts.
Melanie Laurent is also working on an album with Damien Rice. As far as charity is concerned, she is one of the Climate Ambassadors for the Kofi Annan Global Humanitarian Forum.
When asked if she was going to make more American films, Melanie Laurent said, I dont knowI never dreamed about that. I just dreamed about making movies with Tarantino. So if I can make movies with a lot of amazing directors yes. But its not an obsession to make movies absolutely here, and maybe move here. Im really French, and I love those city streets, and I have no need to take a car, and I love the cafes.