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August 22, 2023

20 Portraits of a Young and Beautiful Sophie Marceau in the 1980s

Sophie Marceau first found fame when she was plucked from obscurity by director Claude Pinoteau to star in his 1980 teen comedy La Boum. A few years later, at the age of just 16, she picked up a prestigious César award for her performance in the film’s sequel, La Boum II. Establishing herself as one of the country’s hottest new talents was quite a coup for the young woman, who grew up a truck driver’s daughter in the Parisien suburb of Gentilly. The sudden switch from working class schoolgirl to silver screen siren must have come as a shock to the aspiring starlet, but Sophie has never been one to shy away from a challenge. 

She tasted controversy at the tender age of 18 when she fell in love with the French-Polish director Andrzej Zulawski. The fact that he was 24 years her senior raised more than a few eyebrows, but that didn’t stop the pair from beginning a romance that would last 16 years and produce a son, Vincent, who was born in 1995. 

The actress would go on to become her country’s leading female movie star, giving award-winning turns in critically-acclaimed flicks such as Chouans! and La Fidelité. She also popped up in a number of Tinseltown productions, most notably Mel Gibson’s Highland epic Braveheart, but making her name internationally was never her first priority. “I know I don’t push enough,” she admits. “I don’t stick to the phone, asking for jobs. I guess I was spoiled, starting young, but I think if people are interested in working with you they'll find you.”

Clearly, her approach had merit as in 1999, Sophie would land her most high-profile role to date as the villainous Elektra King in the James Bond adventure, The World Is Not Enough. Taking on new challenges and exploring fresh fields of creativity has always been more interesting to Sophie than fame for the sake of fame, however.

Marceau has appeared on more than 300 magazine covers worldwide and been the face of numerous luxury brands. She was made Officer (Officier) in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Minister of Culture of France in 2003 and in 2015, it was revealed that she had refused the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur).


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