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Juliette Binoche Actress

Juliette Binoche, co-star of the "In My Country" Movie!

The sexy and classy French beauty was born on March 9, 1964, in Paris. The daughter of a sculptor/theater director and an actress, Binoche studied acting at the National School of Dramatic Art of Paris. After graduation, she followed in her mother's footsteps and became a stage actress, occasionally taking small parts in French feature films. Binoche first earned recognition in 1985 for playing a modernized, teenaged version of the Virgin Mary in Jean-Luc Godard's controversial Je Vous Salue, Marie (Hail Mary). The actress became a bona fide French star the same year with an acclaimed performance in André Téchiné's Rendez-Vous. Though she was the darling of the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, Binoche did not gain true international acclaim until she played Tereza in Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being in 1988. In the meantime, Binoche become involved with Leos Carax, a then-hot young filmmaker who cast her in a lead role in his chilling Mauvais Sang (Bad Blood). While involved with Carax, Binoche appeared in his Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (Lovers on the Bridge), a film they began in 1988 but did not finish until 1991 due to financial difficulties. She and Carax parted ways two years later after Binoche's great success starring opposite Jeremy Irons in Louis Malle's Damage (1992). The same year, the actress appeared with future English Patient co-star Ralph Fiennes in a new film version of Wuthering Heights, and followed that with the lead role in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Blue (1993). (She also appeared briefly in the trilogy's other installments, Red and White.) Following her work in that acclaimed film, Binoche took time off to have a son and did not return to her career until 1995 with Le Hussard sur le Toit (The Horseman on the Roof). In 1996, Binoche earned further international recognition with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (as well as a host of other awards) for her role in The English Patient. Returning to her native France amidst a golden haze of critical acclaim, Binoche appeared in the same year's Un Divan à New York (A Couch in New York), a romantic comedy in which she starred opposite William Hurt. In 1998, she again collaborated with director Téchiné, this time on the romantic drama Alice et Martin.

Revered as near royalty by the French press (who often simply refer to her as "La Binoche") and a beloved star worldwide, Binoche's remarkable second wind found her popularity soaring and her screen presence more powerful than ever. Binoche's daring and intense performance as 19th-century literary icon George Sand in the misguided drama The Children of the Century (1999) indeed impressed audiences and critics, though the film itself failed to live up to expectations. Of course, it wouldn't take long before Binoche was cast in a film whose quality would match her ample talent, and The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000) would serve as just that cinematic endeavor. Not only did the redemption-themed drama perform smashingly at the international box office, but it also found its star honored with a César nomination for Best Actress.

A collaboration with notorious feel-bad filmmaker Michael Haneke resulted in the intersecting lives drama Code Unknown (2000), though that role was ultimately overshadowed by Binoche's captivating performance in that same year's arthouse hit Chocolat. Cast opposite Johnny Depp as the free-spirited owner of a chocolate shop located in a small French town, the dedicated actress actually prepared for the role by learning to make chocolate at a popular Paris sweetshop. The film was an international runaway hit, and the beloved starlet was nominated for best actress awards across the globe. Following a lighthearted performance opposite French icon Jean Reno in the romantic comedy Jet Lag (2002), Binoche appeared with American star Samuel L. Jackson in director John Boorman's politically oriented drama Country of My Skull in 2004. Currently in London she is shooting Scheherazade (2004). Also she currently in San Francisco Bay area shooting Bee Season (2004) and in Paris filming Michael Haneke's Caché.

More fun stuff about Juliette Binoche

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#48). [1995]

Turned down the lead in Jurassic Park (1993)

Ranked #93 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. [1997]

Son Raphaël born. Father is Andre Halle, a professional scuba diver. [September 1993]

In 1996, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in The English Patient (1996). Legendary actress Lauren Bacall was roundly expected to win in that category for her performance in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), but Binoche won the Oscar instead, in one of the biggest surprise wins in Oscar history. In her acceptance speech, she said, "I don't have a speech prepared. I thought Lauren would get it."

Her parents divorced when she was four, so she grew up living between each parent and a Catholic boarding school.

Had a daughter, Hannah, with French actor Benoît Magimel in 2000.

Her companion was Benoît Magimel [1999-2003]

Sister of actress/photographer Marion Stalens

Learned to play the violin for Alice et Martin

Appeared in the 1998 play, 'Naked', in London.

She is the highest paid French actress in history (2002)

She was the companion of Léos Carax between 1986 and 1991

She was the companion of Olivier Martinez between 1994 and 1997

Joanne Harris the author of Chocolat was stunned one weekend when she opened the front door of her small little house in Barnsley, Yorkshire. On her doorstep was French actress Juliette Binoche who had landed the lead role for the Film version of Joanne's book. Juliette loved the book and wanted to meet Joanne and she spent the weekend at the house as they discussed the book and the film to come. Juliette met Joanne's young daughter and she borrowed her bedroom to stay over for the weekend. Juliette returned the favour by inviting her to the States as a guest of Miramax films for the Oscars.

Was the advertising face of Lancome perfume "Poeme" from 1995 to 2000

In Jan 2003 she became the new face for Italian Pret-a-Porter line, Gentryportofino.

She is affectionately known by the French press simply as "La Binoche".

Number 88 on Channel 4 (UK)'s 100 Greatest movie Stars.

She has turned down Hollywood many times.

In 1990 she wrote to the president of France, Francois Mitterand, to ask him for funds for her film Amants du Pont-Neuf, Les (1991). However he didn't help. In 1993 Mitterand asked Binoche to dinner at the presidential palace in Paris. When asked by the press why he invited her, he said "I dreamt one night that I kissed her, now I hope she will be my mistress". Binoche declined the invitation. Soon after they bumped into each other in a Paris market and had a long discussion about art, love, books and poetry.

Is an avid painter. In 1994 she exhibited work done in collaboration with the designer Christian Fenouillat. She has also designed posters for a number of her movies including Amants du Pont-Neuf, Les (1991) and _Enfants du siecle, Les (1999)_ . Binoche is currently working on a poster for _Country of My Skull (2003)_ .

In 2000 during promoting for the film Chocolat (2000) Binoche was invited to The White House by then president Clinton. However she was unable to make the trip as she was starring in a Broadway re-vamp of Pinters Betrayal. Instead the Clintons came to New York to meet Binoche.

Binoche and Merle Oberon have both played George Sand in Enfants du siècle, Les (1999) and in A Song to Remember (1945) respectively. They have also both played Cathy in Wuthering Heights. Binoche in the 1992 version and Oberon in the 1939 version.

Wrote the preface for the French book, "Le grand livre de la tendresse", published in 2002.

Appears on the cover of Lauren Lawrence's book "Private Dreams of Public people"

Has two children: Raphael and Hannah.

Last name is pronaunced "Bee-nosh".

Her personal quotes:

"Movies are open doors, and at every door, I change character and life...I live for the present always. I accept this risk. I don't deny the past, but it's a page to turn."

"When I returned to France after winning the Oscar, I was treated like royalty, or like a football hero!"

"Giving birth is like a vase of beautiful flowers. Only you're just the vase, and only for a very short moment. The flowers are beautiful, but they belong to themselves, not to the vase."

"I am not a great French woman. George Sand, Marguerite Duras and Simone de Beauvoir are great French women."

"I knew I had become a star when I shook hands with Simone Signoret at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. She died four months later"

"Acting is like peeling an onion. You have to peel away each layer to reveal another."

"I want to make films that are political and social. Films with a message or an idea. Films that dare to ask."

"If a star is someone who gives light, then I can be a star. But if a star is someone who goes after money and magazine covers then it's sick and I don't want it!"

"French women bloom at 40! I can't wait!"

"My earliest memory is loneliness. That's a hard thing to live with"

I have been proposed to four times. Twice at the beginning of a relationship and twice at the end of a relationship. I've never said no. I just didn't give an answer!

"Going to South Africa (Country of My Skull 2003) has changed me utterly. I have seen and heard about acts of cruelty and hatred which are hard to comprehend. But I've also seen peace and tranquility like nowhere else on earth."

Binoche savours sweet success

She has made her name playing a series of melancholy women but now French actress Juliette Binoche is enjoying the sweet taste of success with a lighter role.

"It's about chocolate, just how bad can that be," laughs the actress about her latest film Chocolat.

There is every reason for her to be in good humour as she has an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a single mother who reforms the uptight inhabitants of a small French town when she opens a chocolate shop full of delicious confections.

"This is a light piece, a happy piece. I'm in a good mood about this," Binoche says. "I liked the idea of using chocolate to link these people, but it took a lot of work to get this character right."

The 36-year-old already has an Oscar which she won in 1997 for playing grieving nurse Hana in The English Patient. At that stage the Paris-born actress had Hollywood at her feet but instead of taking the blockbuster route, she chose to stay close to her roots with small European films.

Chocolat is her first English-language film since The English Patient and she was determined to play the lead in the movie which is based on the best-seller by British writer Joanne Harris. She was chosen after Harris insisted that she was "earthy" enough for the part.

Best known for intense parts in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Damage, Chocolat shows Binoche enjoying some happier moments with Johnny Depp as a handsome wanderer who falls under her spell.

"This woman is lighter than some of the roles I've played and I think of her as a kind of therapist," says the actress. "That's why I liked playing her so much. She is warm and giving."

She also had to do some very enjoyable research for the film. "I went to see someone who does wonderful chocolates in Paris and he made me taste the different kinds, there's a lot of difference."

In the past Binoche has turned down major films such as Schindler's List and Jurassic Park - but insists she is glad she didn't go after the big pay and high-celebrity stakes of a Hollywood career, even after The English Patient.

"I simply went back to France and did four films and some theatre in London. That was fine with me and fitted perfectly with what I wanted to do at the time.

"My aim was never to be an American star, otherwise I would have moved to Los Angeles."

Juliette Binoche: Chocolat

What preparation did you undertake for the role of a woman who makes chocolate?

I went to see a master of chocolate-making that I knew. When I used to go to my dentist in Paris, his shop was just round the corner. I remember getting in that shop and being fulfilled by that wonderful chocolate smell. I went to see him a few months before we shot the movie and asked if I could spend some time in the kitchen. It was just before Easter and he said "Come after Easter, I have so much work" and I said "No, I'd rather come before because I'd like to see the process."

What did you learn?

One of the most amazing things was that he made me try different cocoa chocolate from different continents. I tried the Venezuelan one that for me was the best because it was so fruity. It's like a smell in a way, there are so many layers. I tried the African one which was very spicy and there was something earthy about the cocoa. I was just amazed to see how you can travel through different countries.

Your character lives a nomadic existence taking her daughter from town to town. Do you relate to that, being a mother yourself?

I relate to that completely as I travelled as a child. At the same time, my character in "Chocolat" Vianne has a need to settle down, even though she can't do it by herself.

Juliette Binoche: Rendez-vous

"The nights I've slept alone since I came to Paris I could count on the fingers of one hand."
- Nina (Juliette Binoche)

Nina (Juliette Binoche) is a struggling young actress. Recently relocated to the streets of Paris, she has landed roles as chambermaids and other bit parts that give her pitifully small scenes. Her on-stage abilities don't suggest she deserves much more, but her ambition to find her big break is apparent. Still, she seems patient, and is content to let things happen as they may. Her current strife is more immediate, however; a stunning beauty, Nina is just discovering the complexities of love and lust. Most of her suitors are more interested in the latter, wanting to satisfy their carnal desires with Nina without the cumbersome emotional attachments. All this groping and chasing has left Nina cold; what is love to her? Just sex?

Looking for a new apartment, Nina meets Paulot (Wadeck Stanczak), a mild-mannered real estate clerk who is immediately infatuated with the stunning girl. He is not like her other animalistic predators, though, looking instead for a tender relationship, not quick a roll in the hay. Nevertheless, Nina proves frustrating for the young boy scout; she frequently sleeps with other men who have far fewer positive attributes, including his cruel and manipulative roommate, Quentin (Lambert Wilson). An unknown tragedy has struck Quentin, resulting in a dark transformation of his intense character, but Nina cannot resist his advances.

Paulot's frustration is exacerbated when an older director, Scrutzler (Jean-Louis Trintignant), casts Nina as Juliet in Shakespeare's play, seemingly bartering for her affections. Scrutzler too has deep connections with Quentin, whose acting talents attracted his attention long ago. These details are a mystery to the young real estate clerk. Infatuation turns to bitter obsession, and Paulot's life is turned upside down. When death's knock is heard once more, Nina must deal with the ghosts of her past suitors, comprehend the power of her charms, and decipher the nature of true love. How long will Paulot be willing to wait?

Rendez-vous is compelling, exploring themes of love, loss, and the complications that come from being an attractive woman. Who is out for true love, and who is not? How can one tell the difference? Is life nothing more than a play? These questions are the focus of this tale, marvelously explored by Juliette Binoche. Her powerful, sexually electric performance does not suggest this was her first major screen role. A stunning debut for any actor, her future success was assured. Other performances are worthwhile, especially Jean-Louis Trintignant's subtly complex Scrutzler, but none shine as brightly as Binoche.

André Téchiné's (who won best director at Cannes) lyrical film is astutely directed, utilizing some skilled camera moves to reveal the facets of this romantic mystery. Taking a few pages from the stage, Rendez-vous occasionally gets bogged down in some hallucinatory stylistic devices that don't quite work. At times, one wonders why Nina's character would be so attracted to some of the rather creepy characters in this film, but what can one say about love (or at least lust)? This is by no means a great film, but a solid romantic thriller that solidifies Binoche as a true talent.

Foursome in Abel Ferrara's Mary

Juliette Binoche, Heather Graham, Forest Whitaker, and Matthew Modine will star in Abel Ferrara's religious-themed Mary, currently filming in Rome.

Variety says that Binoche plays an actress who becomes fascinated by Mary Magdalene after playing her in a film. The actress' obsession takes her from New York on a voyage of discovery to Rome and Jerusalem, where the film will also shoot through to the end of February.

The cast also features Marion Cotillard and Gabriella Wright. The script was co-written by Simone Lageoles and Massimo Cortesi.

Mary Speaks to Binoche

Heather Graham, Forest Whitaker and Matthew Modine also sign on for Abel Ferrara religious drama.
Juliette Binoche, along with Heather Graham, Forest Whitaker and Matthew Modine, has signed on to star in Mary, the latest project from California helmer Abel Ferrara. The project is currently filming Rome and will shoot in Rome and Jerusalem through the end of February.

Simone Lageoles and Massimo Cortesi penned the script that centers on a New York actress (Binoche) who becomes obsessed with the story of Mary Magdalene after she plays her in a movie. The actress leaves the Big Apple and heads to Rome and Jerusalem in an effort to discover the real story of Mary Magdalene. Marion Cotillard and Gabriella Wright also star.

Fernando Sulichin will produce the religious-themed film through his nascent production banner Central Films. Roberto DeNigris is providing financing, with Paris-based Wild Bunch handling international sales and releasing the film in France under their Pan Europeene distribution shingle.

Repped by Endeavor, Binoche will soon be seen with Samuel L. Jackson in the indie apartheid drama In My Country. Her other more notable credits include Chocolat and The English Patient, the latter of which garnered her a supporting actress Oscar in 1997.

Del Toro To Seduce Binoche

Oscar-nominees Benicio Del Toro and Juliette Binoche are to play lovers - in a raunchy period drama. The Frenchwoman, up for the Best Actress gong for Chocolat, will play a nun who poses for and is seduced by Renaissance painter Fra Lippi, played by the Puerto Rican-born Traffic star. Director Walter Salles will be in charge of the $30 million film, which is due to commence in Florence, Italy, next autumn. Co-producer Sydney Pollack says, "Benito and Juliette are a wonderful combination, both raw and sensitive. A little bit of Beauty And The Beast though I don't think Benito's family would see it that way." The movie To Have Sinned has been adapted from the novel The Assumption of a Virgin by Katie Campbell.

'Chocolat' Author Hungry For Hollywood

Acclaimed Chocolat author Joanne Harris is writing her first film script. The English novelist is the toast of Hollywood after her best- selling book Chocolat was adapted into a hit film starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. Chocolat has been nominated for a string of Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actress for Binoche's performance as Vianne Rocher - but now Harris is now determined to make her own mark in Tinseltown. Harris says, "At the moment I have just finished my new novel which is called The Coastliners and should be out next year. I'm adapting it into a screenplay which hopefully I should finish shortly. I always write my books in a very visual way, which is ideal for movies. I don't know yet whether I can write a screenplay, but it struck me as being fun to try it. I wouldn't have tried to have adapted Chocolat myself. I hadn't even read a screenplay at that time and Robert Jacobs did a really good job anyway."

Binoche Stood Up By Depp

Actress Juliette Binoche was left standing in the cold after being stood up by Johnny Depp at the launch of their new film. Depp failed to appear at the London premiere of Chocolat Monday night. Depp, 37, was believed to be in London then - although he lives in France with model girlfriend Vanessa Paradis - but did not make the champagne pre-party, film premiere or even the after-party. Friends speculate that he wants to avoid controversy. A pal says, "The last time Johnny came to London [for the premiere of Sleepy Hollow] he got mixed up in some crazy situation with some snapper. He got in a fight and things went crazy." But Binoche, 36, harbored no ill feelings, describing Depp as "my perfect chocolate - he's dark, sumptuous and tasty".

Juliette Binoche: Chocolat

The obvious temptation to compare Chocolat to chocolate gets the better of most critics. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post calls the movie "a bittersweet confection that few holiday filmgoers will be able to resist, thanks to melt-in-you-mouth performances by Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina and Judi Dench. Joel Siegel on Good Morning America commented the film seems "so slight that, like chocolate, after it's gone you feel guilty about loving it as much as you do." Jay Carr in the Boston Globe writes that the film amounts to "comfort food for the eyes." On the other hand, Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal remarks, "I kept gagging on this treacly fantasy." Philip Wuntch in the Dallas Morning News calls it "a bon-bon trying to pass itself off as a feast." Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Daily News concludes that the plot is "about as subtle as being hit in the head with a brick of double-chocolate fudge." And Peter Howell in the Toronto Star says that the movie winds up as "the low-fat alternative to the rich goodie we all really wish we could enjoy."

Johnny Depp Returns To His True Love

Movie star Johnny Depp returned to his first true love of playing music when he serenaded star Juliette Binoche in the upcoming film, Chocolat (2000). Before acting ever came into the picture, Depp was an aspiring rock musician who played electric guitar in a local Florida band called The Kids, opening for such acts as punk rocker Iggy Pop. He says, "When I was a pre-teen and I picked up the guitar for the first time that was life changing. It put me on a road and helped me to discover who and what I was. To be able to do something that is so close to me in terms of playing the guitar, it's one of the true loves of my life so the opportunity to do it in the film was very welcome." During his rock n' roll beginnings, the underage star had to be let into the clubs through the back door and was allowed to remain for the first set only. The Kids disbanded when they relocated to Los Angeles, and found the competition too fierce.

Johnny Depp's Chocolate Torture

Johnny Depp can't bring himself to face chocolate - after being force fed rich truffles on his latest film Chocolat (2000). Depp admits he was almost sick after munching his way through scene after scene of dark chocolate with co-star Juliette Binoche in the film directed by Lasse Hallstrom. He says, "I ate more chocolate than I wanted to. About three seconds more in the take and I probably would have been spewing." He fared better than actor Alfred Molina, who was sick after filming a scene where his character has a chocolate orgy. "I was sick as a pig, " Molina says. "Not on screen, the day after, but it was worth it."



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