Gaspard Ulliel was born on November 25, 1984 and grew up as an only child in Paris. He got his career off to an early start through a friend of his mother who had opened a talent agency and was looking for young actors. He first appeared in made-for-television films when he was 12 and enjoyed the experience, so he continued to act while pursuing his education.
He landed his first major role in 2002 for the Michel Blanc film Embrassez qui vous voudrez (Summer Things), as part of a star-studded cast featuring Charlotte Rampling, Jacques Dutronc, Carole Bouquet, and Karin Viard. His portrayal earned him his first nomination for the César award for Most Promising Actor and the Lumières award for Best Male Newcomer in 2003.
After studying film for a year at the University of Saint-Denis, he was cast by André Téchiné to play alongside Emmanuelle Béart in Les Égarés (Strayed). He was nominated for another César for his performance, and went on to win the award in 2004 for his role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film, Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement).
Then followed an eclectic series of projects, working under the direction of Gus Van Sant in Paris, Je t’aime, Peter Webber for the prequel Hannibal Rising, Rithy Panh in the film based on the Marguerite Duras novel Un Barrage contre le Pacifique (The Sea Wall), and Bertrand Tavernier for an adaptation of La Princesse de Montpensier (The Princess of Montpensier).
After a few relatively calm years playing supporting roles in L’Art d’aimer (The Art of Love) by Emmanuel Mouret and Tu honoreras ta mère et ta mère (A Greek Type of Problem) by Brigitte Roüan, he starred in Bertrand Bonello’s biopic Saint Laurent in 2015, for which he received the Lumières award for Best Actor and was nominated for a César award. He made his theatrical debut in 2012 under the direction of Michel Fau in Que faire de Mister Sloane? (Entertaining Mr. Sloane) by Joe Orton. In 2015, he played to a sold-out house with Romain Duris, Marina Foïs, and Anaïs Demoustier in Demons directed by Marcial Di Fonzo Bo at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris.
In 2016, he won the César award for Best Actor for his role in Xavier Dolan’s screen adaptation of the play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World), starring Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye, and Léa Seydoux. He also appeared with Soko, Mélanie Thierry, François Damiens, and Lily-Rose Depp in La Danseuse (The Dancer) by Stéphanie Di Giusto.
This year is a busy one for Gaspard with four films on the slate: he shares the screen with Isabelle Huppert in the March release of Eva, Benoît Jacquot’s latest film officially selected for the next Berlin film festival. We will see him in 9 Doigts (9 Fingers) by F.-J. Ossang, a film that is also set for release in March and won the award for Best Direction at the Locarno Festival. He will star opposite Gérard Depardieu in Les Confins du monde by Guillaume Nicloux, and play a lead role in Un Peuple et son roi by Pierre Schoeller with Adèle Haenel, Olivier Gourmet, Louis Garrel, and Laurent Lafitte.
Gaspard has just started the filming of a new project with director Guillaume Nicloux: Il était une seconde fois, a four-part mini-series of one-hour episodes for Arte.