Olivier Gourmet, a dependable actor
Olivier Gourmet made his mark on the stage before making his grand entrance into cinema with the Dardenne brothers, who saw him as the perfect actor to convey the message of their social cinema. The surly, mysterious Namur actor has managed to carve out a position for himself, becoming one of the most famous Belgian actors of his generation.
Born in Namur on 22 July 1963, he grew up in Mirwart where his mother owned a hotel-restaurant and his father was a cattle merchant.It was at boarding school, where he was sent as a teenager, that he discovered his talent for acting, when he had to replace a classmate in the school play. He then began to attend the conservatory of Liège - from which he graduated two years later with a first prize - and then crossed the border to join the Cours Florent drama school.
In the 80s, he began his career on the stage, where he proved to be a great actor, before moving on to the cinema.
It was his meeting with the Dardenne brothers in 1996 that gave his career a real boost. He first starred in "La Promesse" (The Promise), which marked his first collaboration with the brothers. He then became a recurring figure in Dardenne films. He played a waffle seller in "Rosetta" in 1999 and then a carpentry teacher in "Le Fils" (The Son), a role that earned him an acting award at Cannes in 2002. The trio they formed was keen on dark, physical characters, which Olivier embodied with a great deal of finesse. The result of this collaboration was quite simply poignant and film-makers very quickly snatched him up. He then played "Ceux qui m’aiment prendront le train" (Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train), "Peut-être" (Maybe), "Sur mes lèvres" (Read My Lips) and more. The fame he earned allowed him to detach himself from unsympathetic characters, blossom in other genres and finally win leading roles. He then began a back and forth between arthouse films, detective films ("Le mystère de la chambre jaune" (The Mystery of the Yellow Room) and "Le parfum de la dame en noir" (The Perfume of the Lady in Black), in particular) and impresario with "Coluche".
Although Gourmet is very active on the French stage, he has not forgotten his native Wallonia and played opposite Benoît Poelvoorde in "Rien à déclarer" (Nothing to Declare) by Dany Boon. In 2016, he returned to the Dardenne brothers in "La fille inconnue" (The Unknown Girl), which was selected at Cannes. He performed in a series of films; as a prolific actor, he could be found alongside Catherine Deneuve in 2017 in "Sage femme" (The Midwife) to name just a few of his many films.
The actor is increasingly masterful and still has plenty of surprises in store for us!
© Photo Georges Biard / Wikipedia