Audrey Tautou was born in Beaumont in Puy-de-Domme, France on August 9, 1976, the eldest of four children. Her parents, a dental surgeon and a teacher, recognised and supported her love of theatre and drama from a young age, which superseded an initial desire to be a primatologist due to her love of monkeys.
Her rise to fame as a young actress was swift and marked by early success. Following her studies, in 1998 she took part in a French talent-scouting TV programme, Jeunes Premiers, sponsored by Canal+, and won Best Young Actress at the Beziers Festival of Young Actors, before beginning her acting career in earnest.
Although she studied at the Institut Catholique de Paris, and attended church in her youth, Tautou has distanced herself from this upbringing, stating that she is ‘not officially’ Catholic. She pursued a modelling career alongside her acting career, and is the face of L’Oreal, Mont Blanc, and Chanel, often referred to as ‘The Chanel Muse’. She also has a serious interest in photography, and recently produced an exhibition of her work, at the Arles Festival, under the title Superficial. Her photography largely focuses on fame and celebrity, and turns the camera on the journalists who scrutinised her following her sudden rise to stardom with Amelie, as well as a series of self-portraits.
Due largely to her parent’s support of her aspirations, Tautou was able to study at Cours Florent, a drama school in Paris. Initially only enrolling in a two-week summer school, the school offered her a place on its full-time programme, which Tautou combined with a literature degree at the Sorbonne. Following graduation, she set herself a time limit of a year to pursue an acting career, which came to fruition with the Canal+ Jeunes Premiers TV programme, and recognition at the Beziers Festival of Young Actors.
Audrey Tautou shot to stardom and international fame with her first major role, starring as the lead in Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain. Amelie won international acclaim, box office success, and was acclaimed at awards ceremonies across the globe. It remains the highest grossing French language film in the US.
Following this success, Tautou starred in a wide range of films, from British dramas like Stephen Knight’s Dirty Pretty Things, to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Un long dimanche de fiançailles, and moving into Hollywood with Ron Howard’s direction of the Dan Brown bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, alongside Tom Hanks.
More recently, Tautou has played the lead in the Coco Chanel biopic, Coco Avant Chanel, taken the role of Simone Melchior in The Odyssey, and appeared in French rom-com La Delicatesse.
Awards and achievements
Tautou’s career has been marked with continuous recognition by awards ceremonies the world over. Amelie won Best Film at the European Film Awards, and won four Cesar awards, two BAFTAs, and nominated for five Academy Awards. Tautou herself won Best Actress at the Lumieres and Sant Jordi awards, and was nominated as Best Actress for nine further awards including a BAFTA, a Cesar, and a European Film award. She was again nominated for Best Actress at the European Film awards for Dirty Pretty Things, and for Best Actress at the BAFTAs, Cesars and Lumieres for Coco Avant Chanel. Her latest nomination was a Globes Cristal award for Best Actress for The Odyssey.