Audrey Tautou - Biography & Career
Audrey Tautou was born on August 9, 1978, in the tiny town of Beaumont. She grew up in nearby rural Montluon, where, as a teenage girl, she already aspired to be a comedian or artist of some sort. With a high school diploma in hand, she moved to the grand city of Paris. It was there that she attended acting school at the Cours Florent and got a BA in literature.
Shortly after graduation, she landed roles in films for the French television network TF1, as well as in two short feature films, a specialty of her homeland. One of those projects, called Casting: Archi-dgueulasse, was featured in the 1998 Cannes festival. The following year, Tautou won the Best Newcomer prize from Canal Plus, after appearing in a competition similar to Star Search.
Audrey Tautou quickly saw her career unfold thanks to her onscreen candor. One day she was invited to an audition for an upcoming feature film, Venus Beauty Institute. Luck was against her that day, as she got lost in Paris' maze-like streets and arrived more than one hour late. When she was told she could no longer audition, she claims that she drowned in tears for the first time in her life.
Director Tonie Marshall, however, was so taken by Audrey's charm, that she gave the young actress another chance. Tautou was so certain that she wouldn't get the role that, upon receiving a call announcing that she did, Audrey told the caller they must have the wrong person.
But it was no mistake. Her performance in 1999's Venus Beauty Institute won her a Csar (France's Academy Award) for Most Promising Actress.
With her insecurities now banished, Tautou worked steadily in French movies, many roles for which she didn't even need to audition. Some of her better-known works are Marry Me, Pretty Devils, The Libertine, and The Beating of the Butterfly's Wings, all in 2000.
But it was noted French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet that would change Tautou's life. Jeunet, enchanted by Audrey, asked her to read the script of his latest project, a romantic flick called Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amlie Poulain (The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain). It is said that both director and producer were moved to tears by Audrey's audition, asking her to redo certain scenes just for the pleasure of it. Without hesitation, they cast her as the title character.
In 2001, Amelie, as it was known internationally, became the most successful French film in the U.S. and was nominated for five Oscars. Tautou was nominated for eight awards for her portrayal of a nave Parisian waitress, two of which she won.
Suddenly Tautou was flooded with requests from Hollywood, but she preferred to work in her native France and starred in two films in 2001 and 2002. In the latter year, she played a minor role in another international hit, as the weepy girlfriend of the protagonist of L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Inn).
Tautou finally relented and took her first English language role in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), a British film about the seedy underworld of drugs, prostitution and the illegal sales of organs among London's struggling immigrants.
In 2003, she appeared in Nowhere to Go But Up (aka Happy End). It's clear that the best is yet to come from Audrey Tautou, and that Audrey's onscreen luminosity may very well make her a modern day Audrey Hepburn.
Following the footsteps of fellow French actors Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, Audrey Tautou finally decided to extend her successful career to America, appearing in 2006's The Da Vinci Code, which filmed in her native France.