Belgian actor wins plaudits and first Cannes "crush"

Thu May 17, 2012 12:30pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - It is only day two, but the Cannes film festival has already uncovered a breakout star in Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts, who has earned critical acclaim and plenty of swoons for his portrayal of tough guy Ali in French drama "Rust and Bone".

Schoenaerts is not new to the big screen -- he has appeared in more than 20 films including "Bullhead", nominated for a foreign language film Academy Award earlier this year.

But for thousands of journalists and critics in Cannes for the annual cinema showcase, a press screening on Thursday of the moving love story Rust and Bone ("De Rouille et d'Os") was their first look at the physically imposing 34-year-old.

Within minutes of the movie ending, Schoenaerts was being asked about his prospects in Hollywood.

"It's funny you say so, because last week they called me for 'Rambo 34', and I said I'll do it if I get 35 and 36 as well," he joked at a press conference.

"There's definitely stuff moving in the States, but I've got time, I'm not in a hurry. I'm quite young I guess."

He may hope to replicate the success of French actor Jean Dujardin, who was little known outside France until the Cannes world premiere last year of "The Artist" which set him on a path to global fame and a best actor Oscar.


Cast member Matthias Schoenaerts poses during a photocall for the film "De rouille et d'os", by director Jacques Audiard, in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, May 17, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann