The Man in the Iron Mask: About The Cast

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At 23 years of age, LEONARDO DICAPRIO (King Louis XIV/Philippe) has developed into one of his generation's most gifted and versatile talents. DiCaprio most recently starred as Jack Dawson opposite Kate Winslet in James Cameron's international blockbuster Titanic.

DiCaprio earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor at 19 for his portrayal of an ebullient, mentally impaired youngster in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? His performance also garnered awards from the National Board of Review, Chicago Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics, as well as a Golden Globe nomination.

DiCaprio rose to national attention in his role opposite Robert De Niro and Ellen Barkin in This Boy's Life and has subsequently appeared in a variety of features, from the western The Quick and the Dead, with Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman, to The Basketball Diaries, a harrowing account of a young man's spiral into heroin addiction, to Total Eclipse, in which he starred as the poet Rimbaud opposite David Thewlis.

In 1996, he starred with Claire Danes in the critically acclaimed modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, as well as the screen adaptation of the successful play Marvin's Room, opposite Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton.

A native of Los Angeles, DiCaprio began his acting career at age 14, appearing in commercials and educational films. He soon moved into parts on episodic television, including a role on Growing Pains in the popular series' last season. He also appeared in the short film The Foot Shooting Party, released by Touchstone Pictures.

DiCaprio will next appear in Woody Allen's latest project, slated for release in 1998.

JEREMY IRONS (Aramis) came to international attention in Charles Sturridge's award- winning television serial Brideshead Revisited, in a performance which garnered the actor nominations for the Emmy Award, the British Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. His stage career includes time as a leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Broadway run of Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing," for which he won the Drama Logue Award and Tony Award for Best Actor. Following acclaimed performances in The French Lieutenant's Woman, Moonlighting, Betrayal, Swann in Love and The Mission, Irons's starring role as twin doctors in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers earned him a Best Actor Award from the New York Film Critics Circle and a Canadian Genie in 1988. In 1990 he starred opposite Glenn Close, playing Claus Von Bulow in Barbet Schroeder's Reversal of Fortune and was awarded the Academy Award® and the Golden Globe, both for Best Actor. Since then, Irons has appeared in leading roles in Steven Soderbergh's Kafka, Stephen Gyllenhaal's Waterland, Louis Malle's Damage, David Cronenberg's M. Butterfly, Bille August's House of the Spirits and in the international blockbuster Die Hard III, opposite Bruce Willis. For the Disney film The Lion King, Irons provided the voice of Scar, King of the Jungle.

Irons recently starred opposite Liv Tyler in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1996 Stealing Beauty and as Humbert Humbert opposite Melanie Griffith in Adrian Lyne's remake of Lolita. Additionally, he appeared opposite Gong Li in Chinese Box, directed by Wayne Wang. Irons recently completed directing and co-starring with his wife, Sinead Cusack, in Mirad, A Boy From Bosnia. The television production for the UK's Channel 4 is a drama by the Dutch playwright Ad De Bont.

JOHN MALKOVICH (Athos), one of America's most gifted actors of stage and screen, was born in Benton, Illinois. Directly out of college, he joined the famed Steppenwolf Theater Company of Chicago. Between 1976 and 1982, he acted in, directed, or designed the sets for more than fifty Steppenwolf productions. His debut on the New York stage in the Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard's "True West" earned him an Obie award. Other notable stage credits include "Death of a Salesman," "Slip of the Tongue," Sam Shepard's "States of Shock," Lanford Wilson's "Burn This" and his own adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel "Libra."

Malkovich has made his mark on film audiences in features such as Roland Joffe's The Killing Fields, Robert Benton's Places in the Heart, Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, Stephen Frears's Dangerous Liaisons and Mary Reilly, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky. and Wolfgang Petersen's In the Line of Fire. More recently, he has worked with top European directors Manoel de Oliviera (The Convent) and Michelangelo Antonioni (Beyond the Clouds). His latest films include Lee Tamahori's Mulholland Falls and Volker Schondorff's The Ogre.

Malkovich most recently starred opposite Nicole Kidman as Gilbert Osmond in Jane Campion's critically-acclaimed Portrait of a Lady and as Cyrus the Virus opposite Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in the hit film Con Air.

Together with partner (and Man in the Iron Mask producer) Russell Smith, Malkovich formed a film production company in 1994 and plans to direct and produce various film projects in the near future.

Born in the small country town of Chateauroux in central France, GÉRARD DEPARDIEU (Porthos) is one of the world's most respected and well-known actors. The Man in the Iron Mask marks his 102nd film.

The third of six children of a poor sheet metal worker, Depardieu left school at age 12 and by the time he turned sixteen, found himself in Paris, where he gravitated toward acting classes at the Theatre Nationale Populaire (TNP). Since then, his work on the stage has included starring roles in over 15 plays, including works by Marguerite Duras, Peter Hanke, David Storey, Israel Horowitz, Moliere and Natalie Sarraute, among many others.

From his motion-picture debut in Roger Leenhart's Le Beatnik et le Minet (1965), Depardieu's roles in film, theater and television have grown steadily in prominence, with his 1973 performance as one of a pair of young louts in Bertrand Blier's Going Places proving to be his breakthrough role.

Depardieu went on to star in five other films for Blier: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, Buffet Froid, Menage, Too Beautiful For You and Merci la Vie. For Duras, he appeared in four feature films, including Nathalie Granger and Vera Baxter. Depardieu co-starred opposite Pierre Richard in a trio of successful comedies directed by Francis Veber: La Chevre, Les Comperes and Les Fugitifs.

He also made three films each for Alain Resnais, Maurice Pialat and Claude Berri. For Resnais, he starred in Stavisky, Mon Oncle D'Amerique and Je Veux Rentrer a la Maison. His films with Pialat include Loulou, Police and Sous Le Soleil du Satan, which was awarded the Palme d'Or for Best Film at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. His collaborations with Berri include the acclaimed Jean de Florette, Uranus and Germinal, which was based on the work of Emile Zola.

Depardieu's numerous other roles include those in Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro, for which Depardieu won a French César as Best Actor; Bernardo Bertulucci's 1900; The Return of Martin Guerre, directed by Daniel Vigne; Danton, directed by Andrzej Wajda, for which Depardieu was named Best Actor by the National Society of Film Critics; and Bruno Nuytten's Camille Claudel, in which he played August Rodin opposite Isabelle Adjani's Camille.

In 1988, he reunited with actress Catherine Deneuve in director Francois Dupeyron's Drole d'Endroit pour une Rencontre, and in the same year made Deux with director Claude Zidi. His role in Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Cyrano de Bergerac won Depardieu numerous accolades, including a César as Best Actor, a Best Actor award at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award® nomination as Best Actor.

In 1990, he joined Andie McDowell in his first major English-language role in Green Card, directed by Peter Weir, a performance which earned him a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Comedy. The following year, he starred as Christopher Columbus in Ridley Scott's epic, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, as well as the Satyajit Ray-directed Branches of the Tree/Shakha Proshaka. He also starred in Mon Pere ce Heros in 1991, and the American remake My Father the Hero in 1994, as well as director Alain Corneau's Tout Les Matins du Monde, which co-starred Depardieu's son, Guillaume. In 1992, he starred in Jean-Luc Godard's Helas Pour Moi and Giuseppe Tornatore's Une Pure Formalite, with Roman Polanski. He also completed work on Le Colonel Chabert, based on a book by Balzac and directed by Yves Angelo.

In addition to a prolific film career, Depardieu has recorded several record albums and has been actively involved in the theater since 1968. In 1984, he starred opposite his wife in a stage production of Molière's "Tartuffe," which he also directed and co-wrote as a film that same year. Most recently, Depardieu starred in Norman Jewison's comedy Bogus, opposite Whoopi Goldberg, Nick Cassavetes's Unhook the Stars, which he also co-produced, Christopher Hampton's Secret Agent, and the French films Le Plus Beau Metier Du Monde and XXL. He is currently working on Astérix et Obélix, the feature film of the famous French comic, and will soon begin production on Roland Joffe's Vatel, which starts this summer.

Additionally, Depardieu has a penchant, talent and passion for winemaking, so much so that his passport is marked as actor/winemaker.

GABRIEL BYRNE (d'Artagnan) is not only a gifted actor but an Academy Award®-nominated producer as well. As an actor, he recently starred in the compelling drama Smilla's Sense of Snow, opposite Julia Ormond, and last year earned acclaim for his role in the mystery thriller The Usual Suspects. Behind the camera, he executive produced the historic drama In the Name of the Father, which earned several Oscar® nominations, including one for Best Picture. In addition, Byrne co-wrote and produced the film Into the West, in which he also starred with Ellen Barkin.

Byrne began his acting career on the stage in his native Ireland and in England. He performed with the Abbey Theatre and later joined the Royal Court Theatre in London.

He made his feature film debut in John Boorman's epic Excalibur and went on to star in Costa-Gavras's Hanna K and the acclaimed British feature Defence of the Realm. His first American film was the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing, and he has since had starring roles in such films as Cool World, A Dangerous Woman, Trial by Jury, Point of No Return and Little Women. His recent projects include Frankie Starlight, opposite Matt Dillon and Anne Parillaud, Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man, in which he starred opposite Johnny Depp, Mad Dog Time, the HBO project Weapons of Mass Distraction, and the forthcoming feature Polish Wedding, opposite Claire Danes. He also made a cameo appearance in Miramax's Last of the High Kings, which he co-wrote. He most recently starred in Wim Wenders's The End of Violence.

In addition to his work in films, Byrne has recently found success as an author. His first book, Pictures in My Head, became an immediate best-seller in Ireland and last year came out to excellent reviews in America.

ANNE PARILLAUD (Queen Anne) has long been one of France's most luminous stars. She starred in her first films while still in her teens, working with directors such as Michel Lang, Hugo Santiago and Just Jeakin. Parillaud went on to star in numerous successful French films including Pour La Peau d'un Flic and Le Battant, both directed by Alain Delon. In 1989 she worked with director Ettore Scola in Quelle Heure est-il? with Marcello Mastroianni and Massimo Troisi.

Parillaud shot to international recognition in 1991 when she received the César for Best Actress for her performance in the title role of Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita. Her additional film credits include Vincent Ward's Map of the Human Heart, in which she starred opposite Jason Scott Lee, Innocent Blood directed by John Landis and Diane Kurys's Six Days/Six Nights (aka A la Folie) opposite Béatrice Dalle. More recently she starred in Michael Linsdsay Hogg's Frankie Starlight opposite Matt Dillon and Gabriel Byrne, Dead Girl directed by Adam Colemand Howard with Val Kilmer and Amanda Plummer, and Passage à l'Acte with Daniel Auteuil.

Her next project is Shattered Image with Chilean Director Raul Ruiz, starring opposite William Baldwin.

JUDITH GODRÈCHE (Christine) entered the international scene with her performances in two recent critically-acclaimed French films, Patrice Leconte's Ridicule and Edouard Molinaro's Beaumarchais. Her other film credits include Patrice Leconte's Tango, Olivier Assayas's Une Nouvelle Vie and Paris s'éveille, as well as Alexander Rockwell's Sons. She has also worked with director Jerzy Skolimovski on Ferdydurke and French directors Benoit Jacquot, Jean-Pierre Mocky and Jacques Doillon.

Her television credits include a starring role in Jean Daniel Verhaegue's The Scarlet and the Black. On stage, she recently appeared in the French adaptation of the internationally successful play by Edward Albee, "Three Tall Women," directed by Jorge Lavelli, as well as director Michel Blanc's adaptation of Neil Simon's "I Ought to be in Pictures."

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