Seydoux at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival
Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne
(1985-07-01) 1 July 1985
Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne, known professionally as Léa Seydoux (French pronunciation: [le.a sɛ.du] (listen) born 1 July 1985) is a French actress. She began her acting career in French cinema, appearing in films such as The Last Mistress (2007) and On War (2008). She first came to attention after she received her first César Award nomination for her performance in The Beautiful Person (2008) and won the Trophée Chopard, an award given to promising actors at the Cannes Film Festival.
Since then, she has appeared in major Hollywood films including Inglourious Basterds (2009), Robin Hood (2010), Midnight in Paris (2011) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011). In French cinema, she was nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress for a second time for her role in Belle Épine (2010) and was nominated for the César Award for Best Actress for her role as a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette in the film Farewell, My Queen (2012).
In 2013, Seydoux came to widespread attention when she was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her role as a lesbian art student in the critically acclaimed film Blue Is the Warmest Colour. That same year, she also received the Lumières Award for Best Actress for the film Grand Central and, in 2014, she was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and starred in the films Beauty and the Beast, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Saint Laurent. She gained international attention for her appearance as Bond girl Madeleine Swann in Spectre (2015). She will reprise the character for Bond 25.
Born on 1 July 1985, Seydoux is the daughter of businessman Henri Jerome Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne and philanthropist Valérie Schlumberger. She was born in Passy, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, and grew up in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. She has five younger siblings and an older sister, Camille, who works as her stylist. She had a strict Protestant upbringing, but she is not religious.
Seydoux’s parents are both partly of Alsatian descent. Her father is a great-grandson of businessman and inventor Marcel Schlumberger, while her mother is a granddaughter of Marcel’s brother, Maurice Schlumberger. The family name came to exist in 1902, when Seydoux’s great-great-grandfather Charles-Louis-Auguste-Jacques Seydoux (1870-1929) married Mathilde, daughter of Languedoc aristocrat François Fornier de Clausonne de Lédenon, whose family held the titles of Baron de Lédenon and seigneur de Clausonne, de Laugnac et de la Bastide d’Albe. The Seydoux family is widely known in France. Her grandfather, Jérôme Seydoux, is the chairman of Pathé; her granduncle, Nicolas Seydoux, is the chairman of Gaumont Film Company; her other granduncle, Michel Seydoux, also a cinema producer, is the chairman of the Lille-based football club Lille OSC; and her father is CEO of the French wireless company Parrot. Despite Seydoux’s connections, her family initially took no interest in her film career and did not help her. As a child, she had no desire to act. She instead wanted to be an opera singer, studying music at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Seydoux’s parents divorced when she was three years old and they were often away, her mother in Africa and her father on business, which, combined with her large family, meant that she “felt lost in the crowd… I was very lonely as a kid. Really I always had the feeling I was an orphan.” Through her family involvement in media and entertainment, Seydoux grew up acquainted with prominent artists such as photographer Nan Goldin, musicians Lou Reed and Mick Jagger and footwear designer Christian Louboutin. For six years, Seydoux went to summer camp in the United States, at the behest of her father, who wanted her to learn to speak English.
– Seydoux dismissing suggestions that her family connections have helped her career.
Her mother Valérie Schlumberger is a former actress-turned-philanthropist and the founder of the boutique Compagnie d’Afrique du Sénégal et de l’Afrique de l’ouest (CSAO), which promotes the work of African artists. Seydoux once worked as a model for their jewellery line Jokko. Schlumberger, who lived in Senegal as a teenager, is also the founder of the charitable organisations (Association pour le Sénégal et l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ASAO) and Empire des enfants, a centre for homeless children in Dakar, of which Seydoux is the “godmother”.
Seydoux describes her youthful self as short-haired, slightly disheveled, and widely viewed as a bit strange: “People liked me, but I always felt like a misfit.” Still concerned for her shyness in adulthood, Seydoux has admitted to having had an anxiety crisis during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Seydoux says that as a child she wanted to become an opera singer, studying music at the Conservatoire de Paris, but eventually her shyness compelled her to drop the idea. It was not until the age of eighteen that she decided to become an actress. One of her friends was an actor, and Seydoux has said: “I found his life wonderful, I thought, ‘Oh my god, you can travel, you’re free, you can do what you want, you’re the boss.'” She fell in love with an actor and decided to become an actress to impress him. She took acting classes at French drama school Les Enfants Terribles, and in 2007 she took further training at New York’s Actors Studio with Corinne Blue.
In 2005, Seydoux appeared in the music video for Raphaël‘s single “Ne partons pas fâchés”. The following year, Seydoux played her first major screen role as one of the main characters in Sylvie Ayme’s Girlfriends (Mes copines). She starred in Nicolas Klotz‘s short film La Consolation, which was exhibited at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Seydoux came to widespread attention in 2008, when she appeared in Christophe Honoré‘s The Beautiful Person, a role that earned her the 2009 Chopard Award at the Cannes Film Festival for “Best Upcoming Actress” and a César Award nomination for Most Promising Actress.
In 2009 she had a major part in Jessica Hausner‘s Lourdes, and a small role in her first Hollywood film, Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds. In 2010 she starred alongside Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood, playing Isabella of Angoulême; other 2010 work includes Louis Garrel‘s Petit Tailleur, and Rebecca Zlotowski‘s Belle Épine, which earned her a second César nomination of Most Promising Actress.
Seydoux auditioned to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but the part ultimately went to actress Rooney Mara. Seydoux recalled in an interview: “I got upset, but I don’t think I’d be able to do anything to get that part. It was totally against my nature. I worked hard, but Lisbeth was almost anorexic. I wasn’t like that”.
After Mission: Impossible, Seydoux returned to French cinema, starring in My Wife’s Romance (Le Roman de ma femme) and Roses à crédit in 2011, and the critically acclaimed Farewell, My Queen and Sister in 2012. Also in that year, Seydoux played roles in Blue Is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche, and Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski, both exhibited at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
In 2013, Seydoux was nominated for Best Actress at the 38th César Awards for her role as Sidonie Laborde in Benoît Jacquot‘s Farewell, My Queen. Later that year at Cannes, Blue Is the Warmest Colour won the Palme d’Or and the jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, took the unusual move of awarding the prize not just to the director Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to the film’s two stars, Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
In 2014, Seydoux won the Best Actress award at the 19th Lumières Awards for her role in Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Grand Central. She was also nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and the César Award for Best Actress in the same year. Her role in Blue Is the Warmest Colour earned her raves reviews, numerous accolades, and international attention.
Seydoux co-starred with Vincent Cassel in Beauty and the Beast, a Franco-German romantic fantasy film directed by Christophe Gans. Her other 2014 films were The Grand Budapest Hotel, a Wes Anderson film in which she cameoed as a maid; and Bertrand Bonello‘s Saint Laurent, in which she played the role of the titular designer’s muse Loulou de la Falaise.
In 2015, Seydoux starred with Vincent Lindon in Diary of a Chambermaid, a period piece based on Octave Mirbeau‘s novel Le Journal d’une femme de chambre. The film, which the script was written specifically for Seydoux, marked her second collaboration with Benoît Jacquot, following the 2012 film Farewell, My Queen. Although the film was screened in competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival to mixed reviews, critics were generally receptive to Seydoux’s performance. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said that it was “a fine central performance from Seydoux”, while critic Jordan Mintzer wrote that her performance is “robust and engaging throughout [the film]”.
Seydoux appears alongside Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in Yorgos Lanthimos‘s English-language debut The Lobster (2015), in which she played the ruthless leader of a group of rebels, the loners, who live in the woods. The film had its premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize. She also appears as Madeleine Swann, the Bond girl in the 2015 Spectre, the 24th James Bond film.
In 2018, Seydoux co-stars with Ewan McGregor in Zoe, a sci-fi romance film by Drake Doremus. She also appeared in Thomas Vinterberg‘s Kursk, a drama film about the true story of the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster.
At the 2018 E3, it was revealed that Seydoux will star in Hideo Kojima‘s video game Death Stranding. As made present by the trailer, Seydoux is slated to provide the voice, performance and her likeness for the character she portrays in the game.
Seydoux has modelled for numerous magazines and brands, but sees herself “always as an actress”, not as a model. She participated in the Levi’s television advert “Dangerous Liaison”, and has been seen in several photo editorials, including for Vogue Paris, American Vogue, Numéro, L’Officiel, CRASH, Another Magazine and W magazine. She fronted the 2013 campaign for French jewellery line Didier Dubot and appeared in rag & bone‘s Fall 2013 campaign with Michael Pitt.
She also appeared in a nude pictorial for French men’s magazine Lui. In addition, Seydoux and her Blue Is the Warmest Colour co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos were featured in Miu Miu‘s 2014 resort ad campaign. Seydoux advertised for Prada‘s 2012 Resort line; and is the face of its 2013 campaign for the fragrances Prada Candy (shot by Jean-Paul Goude) and Prada Candy L’Eau (directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola), and the 2014 campaign for Prada Candy Florale perfume.
In August 2016, she became the face of a new Louis Vuitton fragrance.
Film and television roles
|2007||La Consolation||Camille||Short film|
|2007||The Last Mistress||Olivia|
|2007||13 French Street||Jenny|
|2008||Les Vacances de Clémence||Jackie||Telefilm|
|2008||Des poupées et des anges||Gisèle|
|2008||The Beautiful Person||Junie|
|2009||Des illusions||The subway girl|
|2009||Inglourious Basterds||Charlotte LaPadite|
|2010||Robin Hood||Isabella of Angoulême|
|2010||Petit tailleur||Marie–Julie||Short film|
|2010||Sans laisser de traces||Fleur|
|2010||Belle Épine||Prudence Friedmann|
|2010||Roses à crédit||Marjoline|
|2010||Mysteries of Lisbon||Blanche de Montfort|
|2011||Midnight in Paris||Gabrielle|
|2011||Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol||Sabine Moreau|
|2011||Time Doesn’t Stand Still||Elle||Short film|
|2011||My Wife’s Romance||Eve|
|2012||Farewell, My Queen||Agathe-Sidonie Laborde|
|2013||Blue Is the Warmest Colour||Emma|
|2013||Prada: Candy||Candy||Short film|
|2014||Beauty and the Beast||Belle|
|2014||The Grand Budapest Hotel||Clotilde|
|2014||Saint Laurent||Loulou de la Falaise|
|2015||Diary of a Chambermaid||Célestine|
|2015||The Lobster||Loner Leader|
|2015||Spectre||Dr. Madeleine Swann|
|2016||It’s Only the End of the World||Suzanne|
|2018||Isle of Dogs||Nutmeg||French dub|
|2019||The Story of My Wife|
|2019||The Horse Boy|
|2019||Roubaix, une lumière|
|TBA||The French Dispatch||Filming|
|2020||Bond 25||Dr. Madeleine Swann|
Video game roles
|TBA||Death Stranding||TBA||Voice acting and motion capture|