One of the most prolific French actors of the 1980s and '90s, François Cluzet possesses an enviable versatility that makes him equally adept at both high comedy and straight drama. Cluzet, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dustin Hoffman, began his screen career acting in the films of Diane Kurys. He became established over the years as one of his country's most dependable actors, as likely to play a bumbling petty criminal as a member of the May 1968 generation struggling with bourgeois ennui and moral dilemma.
Born in Paris on September 21, 1955, Cluzet was first inspired to become an actor as a child, when his father would take him and his brother on weekly outings to the theatre and music hall. He quit school at the age of 17 to study drama with Jean Périmony. In 1976, he made his theatrical debut and spent the next few years working steadily on the stage. Cluzet began his film career in 1980 with a role in Diane Kurys' Cocktail Molotov, a drama set during the May 1968 protests which cast him as the best friend of one of the film's protagonists. That same year, he had a supporting part in Le Cheval d'Orgueil, the first of many films he would make with Claude Chabrol, and also broke into television. The latter medium would be one that Cluzet would return to constantly even as his film career took flight.