R.I.P. : Guillaume Depardieu (1971-2008), Françoise Seigner (1928-2008) & Ken Ogata (1937-2008)

It’s a very morbid day as not one but two important figures of the French acting world passed away of unnatural causes.

Most tragic is undoubtedly the 37 year old Guillaume Depardieu, son of the internationally-known Gérard Depardieu (Babylon A.D.), who died today, October 13th, of a sudden pneumonia attack due to a virus caught a few days ago in Romania on the set of the thriller L’Enfant D’Icare (literally Icarus’ Child). Winner of a César acting award (the French equivalent of the Oscars) for the 1995 comedy Les Apprentis (literally The Apprentices) and nominated twice before, this is unbelievably not the only incredibly tragic event of Guillaume Depardieu’s short life.

Indeed the troubled, formerly drug-addicted actor had many run-ins with the the law and several stints in prison but most sad is the traffic accident he was involved in in 1995. A suitcase which had fallen from a car caused him to fall from his motorcycle and badly damage his right knee. He was immediately operated on but things didn’t go very well and an infection settled in, forcing him to have his right leg amputated in 2003.

He however didn’t let that stop him and resumed his acting career, at the same time creating the Guillaume Depardieu Foundation for nosomical infections. He was last seen on the big screen in the acclaimed dramas Versailles and On War, both shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Having played over forty roles, some of his best-known films are the 1991’s All The Mornings Of The Wold and 1999’s Pola X. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Jean Gabin Award.

Guillaume Depardieu is survived by his father, his mother the actress Elisabeth Guignot (Jean De Florette), his sister the actress Julie Depardieu (Rush Hour 3), his half-sister Roxane, his half-brother Jean and his daughter Louise. He will posthumously appear in a couple of forthcoming films and no word on what will happen to L’Enfant D’Icare.

Today also marks the death of 80 year old Françoise Seigner, of pancreatic cancer. The acclaimed actress, aunt of actresses Emmanuelle (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) and Mathilde (Harry, He’s Here To Help/With A Friend Like Harry…), best known for her contributions to the theater nevertheless acted in a few films, most famously 1970’s The Wild Child and most recently the 2005 Agatha Christie adaptation By The Pricking Of My Thumbs.

One must also not forget celebrated 71 year old Japanese actor Ken Ogata, who died on October 5th of liver cancer. The award-winning performer is best-known for such films as The Pillow Book, Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and several collaborations with late director Shohei Imamura, including one of the segments of 11’09”01: September 11 and the 1983 Golden Palm winner Ballad Of Narayama. He is survived by his two actor sons Kanta (The Samurai I Loved) and Naoto (The Deep Red).

New Trailer: Quantum Of Solace

Incredible, simply incredible…The first, “teaser” trailer for Quantum Of Solace did just that, it teased, in a perfect way. Now, the full trailer delivers everything one could possibly want and more. 2006’s Casino Royale was arguably the best 007 movie ever, and Quantum Of Solace looks like it will be as good, if not better. One of the best movies of the year? You can count on it.

Quantum Of Solace directly follows the events of Casino Royale as James Bond tries to come to terms with Vesper Lynd’s loss, and the MI6 look deeper into the organization previous villain Le Chiffre was working for. Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, along with Casino Royale actors Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright, and Jesper Christensen. Newcomers to this outing include French actor Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) as the main villain, as well as relative newcomers Olga Kurylenko (Hitman) and Gemma Arterton (RocknRolla) as Bond girls.

The movie was written by the Casino Royale team of Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, and directed by the versatile and talented Marc Forster (The Kite Runner) who makes his first foray into action cinema with this film. Quantum Of Solace will premiere in France, Sweden and the UK on October 31st, and you can bet I’ll be first in line.

Charlie Chaplin’s grandson to headline new World War II movie

Swiss actor James Thiérée (Vatel), grandson of the legendary Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator), has been chosen for the lead role in Liberté, the new movie from acclaimed French director Tony Gatlif (The Crazy Stranger).

Set in 1943, Liberté will tell the story of Taloche, a whimsical gypsy, and his family in Nazi occupied France. Gatlif has expressed a desire to show another side of the war, far from the fear, hate and gas chambers. Marc Lavoine (The Good Thief) and Marie-Josée Croze (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) will co-star in the film, which starts shooting on September 22nd in South-Eastern France.

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