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International Star You Should Know: Tahar Rahim

In 2009, Tahar Rahim galvanized audiences in Jacques Audiard’s gritty prison drama “A Prophet.” Since then, the 33-year-old French actor has built his career in acclaimed international arthouse pics, including Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past”; Rebecca Zlotowski’s “Grand Central”; and Joachim Lafosse’s “Our Children.”

He’ll next star in “Les Anarchistes,” by emerging filmmaker Elie Wajeman.

UNCOMPROMISING

A Prophet” had sparked multiple offers from the international film community for Rahim, but the actor refused to take on “cliched roles such as terrorists or useless lovers,” which are in abundance for Arab or French actors. (Of Algerian descent, Rahim grew up in the small French town of Belfort.) Repped in the U.S. by UTA, the thesp looks forward to venturing into Hollywood films, and is open to any genre. “I’d rather have one good scene in a movie by a great director than a small role in a mediocre movie,” he says.

FUNNY SIDE

This year, he made his comedy debut in French drama “Samba” (a Broad Green release in the U.S.); he’s got another comedy, “Le Pere Noel,” on tap. “I’m looking for challenges, and as always what matters is the script, the character and the director,” says Rahim, who says that as a youth, he went to the movies five times a week.

THE LURE OF TV

The actor has hooked into the smallscreen trend for bigscreen actors, starring in “The Last Panthers,” a six-episode heist thriller commissioned by Sky Atlantic and Canal Plus. “For the last 10 years,” he notes, “we’re seeing TV series that are as good as movies were in the ’70s and ’80s — shows like ‘The Wire,’ ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Breaking Bad.’ ”

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