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10 Actors to Watch: Lea Seydoux Seduces Cannes Jury With ‘Blue’

After a few U.S. parts, ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ star grabs Hollywood's attention at Cannes.

Multi-faceted, sensual and raw, Lea Seydoux embodies the classic beauty and gravitas of a classic screen star. Like fellow French actress Marion Cotillard, the 28-year-old actress has been juggling the expansion of her career on multiple fronts: In Hollywood, she shared the screen with Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”; on the indie front, she left her mark on such pics as “Midnight in Paris” and “Inglourious Basterds”; and in France, she has become a go-to collaborator on an impressive roster of auteur projects.

Seydoux’s Palme d’Or-winning perf in the sexual-awakening drama “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (one of two pics she unveiled at Cannes this summer) proved the versatile actress could deliver, even in the most trying circumstances.

“There are very few roles in France that are true character parts, and that was one of the things that attracted me to this project, along with the opportunity to work with (director Abdellatif) Kechiche,” she says. “I strove to bring depth, melancholy and subtlety to the part, in line with the tradition of French drama.”

Despite hailing from France’s film royalty — being the granddaughter of former Pathe honcho Jerome Seydoux and grandniece of Gaumont chairman Nicolas Seydoux — the actress evolved largely outside the system: “I didn’t grow up as a cinephile,” she says. “I’ve gained my own film culture through different encounters I made while working on movies.”

Rather than pursuing the formal curricula of the French conservatory, Seydoux attended only a few acting sessions before bewitching auds in Christophe Honore’s “The Beautiful Person” at age 22. By her own admission, Seydoux feels particularly in tune with U.S. culture and enjoys working in English.

On the immediate horizon, her multi-lingual career continues opposite Vincent Cassel in Christophe Gans’ big-budget fantasy drama “The Beauty and the Beast” and in Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

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