Matthias Schoenaerts Biography


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Birth Name: Matthias Schoenaerts
Born: 12/08/1977
Birth Place: Antwerp, , BE


Matthias Schoenaerts was born on Dec. 22, 1977, in Antwerp, Belgium, the son of Flemish actor and artist Julien Schoenaerts. The youngster showed talent early on, appearing at age 15 alongside his father in "Daens" (1992), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Schoenaerts enrolled in film school but was expelled for poor attendance in his second year. By age 21, however, he was enrolled at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Antwerp and was acting professionally in small roles on Belgian television and in Belgian film. By the time he graduated in 2003, Schoenaerts was already named one of "Europe's Shooting Stars" by the influential marketing organization, European Film Promotion. In 2006, he played a supporting role in Paul Verhoeven's "Black Book" and landed his first starring role in the Belgian film "Love Belongs to Everyone," playing a mentally-challenged man learning to adjust to life after a prison sentence for a rape he may not have committed. Though Schoenaerts garnered critical praise for his role in "Love Belongs to Everyone," the film that would make him a star in his homeland came in 2008. In Erik Van Looy's "Loft" (2008), Schoenaerts played Filip, one of a group of married friends who share the rent on a downtown loft as a place to meet their respective mistresses. The dramatic thriller was a smash hit, becoming the top-grossing Flemish film of all time.

In 2011, Schoenaerts starred in Michaƫl R. Roskam's "Bullhead," playing a down-on-his-luck cattle farmer who becomes entangled with the underworld of bovine hormones and steroids. Impressed by the script, Schoenaerts committed to star in the film in 2005, and over the five years that it took first-time director Roskam to secure financing, the actor transformed his naturally thin body into that of a steroid abusing brute. His powerful performance in the tragic role won awards at numerous film festivals and propelled "Bullhead" to an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The strength of that performance also won Schoenaerts the lead role opposite Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone" (2012), Jacques Audiard's follow-up to his acclaimed drama, "A Prophet" (2009). Like Audiard's previous film, "Rust and Bone" received a breathless reception at the Cannes Film Festival, where it immediately became the subject of Academy Award speculation. Schoenaerts rode that wave of awards buzz all the way to Hollywood, reprising his role in the English-language remake of "The Loft" (2012) with Karl Urban and James Marsden, and appearing in French director Guillaume Canet's English-language, Brooklyn-set thriller, "Blood Ties" (2013), starring Clive Owen and Mila Kunis.

By John Crye




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