Guillaume Canet was born in Boulogne-Billancourt on the 10 April 1973. His entire family were horse breeders, and Canet originally planned to be a show jumper, learning to ride at a young age, training throughout his adolescence, and joining the junior French National Equestrian team. However a bad fall at age 18 put an end to this career, and he turned to acting instead.
His acting career started out in the theatre, and he has moved on to television and film, as well as turning his hand to writing and directing.
He was married to German-American actress Diane Kruger from 2001-2007, and has been in a relationship with French actress Marion Cotillard since October 2007. They have two children, Marcel, born in 2011, and Louise, born in 2017.
Despite his early accident, Canet remains a skillful and successful showjumper. He participated in over 600 competitions between 2012 and 2017, winning 33 of them and pocketing around €67,000.
Having initially trained as a showjumper and joined the junior French National Equestrian team, a bad fall meant Canet had to make a change of direction in his career plans. In a radical change of direction, he enrolled at the Cours Florent, and following his training there pursued an acting career, starting out in the theatre in Paris.
Canet’s career began in the theatre, when he appeared in La Ville Dont Le Prince Est Un Enfant at the Theatre Hebertot alongside Christophe Malavoy. He spent much of his early career working in television and on commercials, before making his film debut in the short film Fils Unique.
- Canet’s first major international film role was in Danny Boyle’s The Beach alongside Leonardo diCaprio in 1999.
- Canet starred opposite fellow Cours Florent alumnus Sophie Marceau in Andrzej Zulawski’s Fidelity.
- In 2002 he worked with Gerard Depardieu on Pitof’s sci-fi thriller Vidocq.
- In the same year he moved on from acting, writing and directing his first feature film Mon Idole, starring his then-wife Diane Kruger.
- In 2003 he appeared alongside his future partner Marion Cotillard in Yann Samuell’s Love Me If You Dare, which became a slow-burning hit.
- His second directorial effort, Tell No One, was an adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel, and was a critical and commercial success.
Awards and achievements
Canet has achieved significant recognition for his acting, writing and directing, as well as for his showjumping.
- In 1999 he won Best Actor at the Festival Saint-Jean-de-Luz for his role in Barracuda.
- He was nominated for a Cesar award for his role in En Plein Coeur in the same year.
- He appeared in Joyeux Noel, a film telling the story of the Christmas Truce during World War One, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
- In 2006 he won Best Director at the Cesar awards for Tell No One, which won a further three Cesars.
- His third directorial effort, Blood Ties, was selected to be screened Out Of Competition at Cannes in 2013.