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One of France's most prominent and prolific actors (whose father, the late Jean-Pierre Cassel, was another), Vincent Cassel was born and raised in Paris.
He began his career at age 17, as a ballet dancer and student at The FratelliniCircus School. After a period of street acting, his admiration for the American cinema of the 1970s led him to the Actor's Institute in New York City. There, he continued his training as a dancer and also as an actor. At age 20, he returned to France and began working in classical theater, under legendary director Jean-Louis Barrault.
Mr. Cassel's breakthrough film debuted at the 1995 Cannes International Film Festival; his work in La Haîne [a.k.a. Hate] (for writer/director Mathieu Kassovitz, whom he had previously starred for in Métisse [a.k.a. Café au Lait]) would later earn him the first-ever double César Award nominations as both Best Actor and Most Promising Actor. He was soon starring in films in France and around the world. Among them have been Jan Kounen's Dobermann and Blueberry; Christophe Gans's Le Pacte des loups [a.k.a. Brotherhood of the Wolf];Gilles Mimouni's award-winning L'Appartement; Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth, opposite Cate Blanchett; Mathieu Kassovitz' Les Rivières pourpres.
[The Crimson Rivers]; one of the most talked-about films of recent years, Gaspar Noé's Irréversible; Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson's Shrek (in voiceover); Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen; and Jacques Audiard's Sur mes lèvres [a.k.a. Read My Lips], for which he received Best Actor nominations from both the César and European Film Awards.
Mr. Cassel heads his own production company, 120 FILMS, which recently produced rising filmmaker Kim Chapiron's Sheitan [a.k.a. Satan], in which he starred.
He recently filmed Jean-Jacques Annaud's Sa majéste Minor; and is currently at work starring in two films on the life and times of famed French criminal Jacques Mesrine, both being directed by Jean-François Ríchet. The first film, costarring Cécile de France and Gérard Depardieu, is titled The Death Instinct; the second, costarring Ludivine Sagnier and Gérard Lanvin, is titled Public Enemy #1.