The Crow: City of Angeles
"In the U.S., I can cry without anyone going immediately around saying that Vincent Perez is in the middle of a depression crisis." Vincent Perez
Swiss actor/writer/director of Spanish and German heritage Vincent Perez began his career in French cinema, gaining initial worldwide recognition when he co-starred with Gerard Depardieu in the international success “Cyrano De Bergerac” (1990). He went on to star in such acclaimed films as “La Reine Margot” (1994; aka “Queen Margot,” with Isabelle Adjani), "Bossu, Le" (1997; aka "On Guard"), "Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train" (1998; aka "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train"), and "Libertin, Le" (2000; aka "The Libertine").
In the U.S., the handsome actor is best remembered for playing the title role in “The Crow: City of Angeles” (1996), starring opposite Kim Basinger in "I Dreamed of Africa" (2000) and acting alongside the late Aaliyah in "Queen of the Damned" (2002). He will next be seen in the upcoming films "Fever" and "Love and Virtue."
As a writer/director, Perez has worked on the films "Échange, L'" (1992), "Rien à dire" (1999), "Peau d'ange" (2002; aka "Once Upon an Angel"), and "Si j'étais toi" (2007; aka "The Secret").
More personally, the 5' 11½" leading man, who was one of People Magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People in the World,” dated model Carla Bruni (together during 1992-1994) and actress Jacqueline Bisset (together from 1988 until 1992; met on the set of "House of Jade") during his bachelor days. He is now the husband of model/actress Karine Sylla, whom he married in 1998. Perez has three children and one step-daughter.
"Every morning, I'm facing myself in the mirror. It doesn't change anything finding out I'm supposed to be a sex symbol. It's like a joke. My mom is always saying that to me. She's like, 'A sex symbol? You, my son? Oh, please. Look at your nose!'" Vincent Perez
Childhood and Family:
"From the waist up I'm German. From the waist down I'm Spanish." Vincent Perez
The middle child of a German mother (housewife) and a Spanish father (worked in import-export), Vincent Perez was born in Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland, on June 10, 1962. He has two siblings, brother Carlos and sister Estrella.
Perez initially dreamed of being a painter, sculptor or photographer, and eventually enrolled in a photography school where he worked as a photographer's apprentice and took art classes. But he disliked the solitary lifestyle of an artist and quickly returned to acting. He honed in on his craft at the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, in Geneva, Switzerland (1982-1983) before moving to Paris in 1984. He studied at the celebrated Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris, in France, for two years (1984-1986) and then transferred to the experimental L'École des Amandiers de Nanterre, in France (1986-1987), where he trained under famed theater and opera director Patrice Chéreau, who would cast him in many of his plays and is often credited with discovering him.
On December 18, 1998, Perez married model/actress Karine Sylla. They have three children together, daughter Iman Perez (born on May 2, 1999) and twins Pablo and Tess (born on January 24, 2003). Sylla also has one daughter, Roxanne Depardieu (born in 1992), whose father is Perez's co-star from “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1990), Gérard Depardieu.
About his wife Karine Silla, Perez said, "She's been in my life a long time and a certain day, instead of turning my head somewhere else, I finally felt that my happiness was with her. Since then, I feel more adult. I work better. Karine wants a lot; she wants to face every problem. She's the ideal woman. With her I know where I am going."
He also once said, "I was not really fond of marriage, of contracts, but when everything became so evident with Karine, all fears and uncertainty disappeared. I only wanted to make her happy. When it was time to arrange everything for the wedding, I was in Africa in a reservation surrounded by snakes and lions, and I was stressed thinking about Karine who had to face it all alone. She came for a while over there with Roxane and it was wonderful."
Perez speaks French, Spanish, German and Italian. He resides in Paris and Los Angeles. He is good friends with Penélope Cruz, Mimmo Calopresti, and model Carla Bruni, his former girlfriend. His best friend is Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
"Love is more and more important in our society because you'll find it less and less." Vincent Perez.
"I was like a plant in the wrong ground. It wasn't the right earth for me, but I think it was great because I was in touch with the nature and grew up in nature with forest and trees, fields, mountains, rivers, and it was good." Vincent Perez
Dreaming of becoming an actor after watching a Charlie Chaplin film at age seven, Vincent Perez, who also considered a career as an artist, left home at age 16 to pursue acting and made his big screen debut in Jean-Pierre Limosin's drama film, “Gardien de la Nuit” (1986; aka “Night Guardian”). After co-starring with best friend Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in Patrice Chéreau's film adaptation of Anton Chekhov's play, "Hôtel de France" (1987), Perez landed his first leading role in a feature in Nadine Trintignant's film version of Madeleine Chapsal's novel, "Maison de jade, La" (1988; aka “House of Jade"), playing a young man who has affair with a middle-aged novelist (played by Jacqueline Bisset).
In the early 1990s, Perez garnered international recognition when he co-starred with Gerard Depardieu in Jean-Paul Rappeneau's French language film based on the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand, "Cyrano de Bergerac," portraying Christian de Neuvillette. The film received a major art-house release in the United States and won Best Costume Design at the Oscars. It was also nominated for Best Actor (Depardieu's Best Actor nomination is a rare feat for a non-English-speaking role), Best Art Direction, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Makeup. For his standout performance, Perez received a César nomination for Most Promising Actor.
Afterward, Perez starred in "Viaggio di Capitan Fracassa, Il" (1990; aka "The Voyage of Captain Fracassa"), a French-Italian co-production based on the famous book by French author Théophile Gautier. Two years later, he directed and co-wrote a 6-minute short film called "Échange, L'" (1992), which was nominated for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival.
Returning in front of the camera, Perez had a featured role as La Môle, a Protestant soldier from a well-to-do family, in Patrice Chereau's critically acclaimed film, "La reine Margot” (1994; aka “Queen Margot"). Based on the 1845 historical novel of the same name, the film won 5 César Awards and two awards at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as received a nomination for Costume Design at the Academy Awards.
In the mid 1990s, Perez made his American film debut with Tim Pope's action movie "The Crow: City of Angels" (shot in 1995; released in 1996). In the sequel to the cult movie "The Crow" (1994), Perez portrayed the title role of a man resurrected by a supernatural crow who uses his new-found powers to seek revenge on a gang of criminals. Back in his native country, Perez won a Best Actor Award at the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival for his distinguished performance as the betrayed Duc de Nevers in Philippe de Broca's period drama film, "Bossu, Le" (1997; aka "On Guard"), which earned him a César Best Supporting Actor nomination and won him a Best Actor award at the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival. He was also reunited with Chereau to portray a transsexual named Viviane in his drama film, "Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train" (1998; aka "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train"), which earned him a César Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Perez next made a U.S. TV acting debut in the HBO war drama movie "Shot Through the Heart" (1998), in which he co-starred with Linus Roache. The following year, he co-starred with Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich in "Temps retrouvé, Le" (aka "Time Regained"), Raul Ruiz's film adaptation of Marcel Proust's novel "A la recherche du temps perdu," and made a second short film, "Rien à dire," which was penned by wife Karine Sylla and was nominated for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival.
Entering the new millennium, Perez starred as Kim Basinger’s Paolo in Hugh Hudson's film adaptation of Kuki Gallmann's autobiography, "I Dreamed of Africa," and portrayed philosopher Denis Diderot in Gabriel Aghion's historical comedy film "Libertin, Le" (aka. "The Libertine").
Perez next portrayed noted Austrian artist, poet and playwright Oskar Kokoschka in the biopic "Bride of the Wind" (2001), a period drama directed by Academy Award-nominee Bruce Beresford. He was also cast as the centuries old vampire Marius, who created Lestat (played by Stuart Townsend), in "The Queen of the Damned," Michael Rymer's 2002 film adaptation of the third novel of Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles" series, and made his feature directorial debut with "Peau d'ange" (2002; aka "Once Upon an Angel"), a moving romantic drama in which he co-wrote the screenplay with wife Karine Sylla and Jerome Tonnere. The film earned Perez a Grand Prix des Amériques at the Montréal World Film Festival.
Perez starred opposite Penélope Cruz, playing the title role of a young peasant tricked by a gypsy girl (Cruz) to join the French army so he could marry one of the king's daughters, in Gérard Krawczyk's 2003 remake of the classic 1952 French film, "Fanfan la tulipe." He then returned to the director's chair in 2007 helming a remake of a 1999 Japanese novel-based supernatural drama film titled "Himitsu," "Si j'étais toi" (aka "The Secret,"), starring David Duchovny, Olivia Thirlby, and Lili Taylor. Meanwhile, French TV viewers could catch him starring as Commander Vincent Revel in a crime TV series called "Paris enquêtes criminelles" (2007; aka "Paris Criminal Inquiries").
Currently, Perez is working on his upcoming film projects, "Fever," a biographical drama set in 1800's Vienna in which he portrays Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, and "Love and Virtue," a drama by director Raoul Ruiz in which he will team up with actors Damian Lewis, Saffron Burrows, Peter O'Toole, John Malkovich, Michael Madsen, and Daryl Hannah.
"My mom hates my movies because I actually die in most of them. She thinks my career is a big mess and for her, it is impossible to love a film in which I die. But come on, I don't really die in every one! Only in those for which it is really absolutely necessary; otherwise the movie would be a complete failure." Vincent Perez
Cabourg Romantic Film Festival: Best Actor, "Bossu, Le," 1998