A prolific French leading man who received his first dose of widespread stateside exposure thanks to his turn as the villainous Merovingian in the final two installments of the [[Feature~V282918~Matrix~thematrix[filmseries]]] franchise, lanky but handsome actor Lambert Wilson may have previously been noticed by eagle-eyed fans of international film in such art-house efforts as [[Feature~V4779~The Belly of an Architect~thebellyofanarchitect]] (1987) and [[Feature~V134832~Jefferson in Paris~jeffersoninparis]] (1995). The son of noted French actor [[Performer~P76736~Georges Wilson~georgeswilson]], Lambert was born in Neuilly-sue-Seine, France, in August of 1958. Soon after his graduation from London's prolific Drama Centre in 1977, Wilson took on his first leading role in director [[Performer~P117986~Fred Zinnemann~fredzinnemann]]'s 1982 drama [[Feature~V17653~Five Days One Summer~fivedaysonesummer]]. He had previously appeared in numerous French television dramas and a handful of feature films, so his notable onscreen talent was already visible to many, and the burgeoning actor held his own opposite screen heavy [[Performer~P10646~Sean Connery~seanconnery]]. As the decade progressed, Lambert appeared in films by such notable directors as [[Performer~P84594~Claude Chabrol~claudechabrol]] ([[Feature~V6149~Le Sang des Autres~thebloodofothers]]), [[Performer~P115731~Andrzej Wajda~andrzejwajda]] ([[Feature~V130867~Les Possédés~lespossédés]]), and [[Performer~P109977~Carlos Saura~carlossaura]] ([[Feature~V119535~El Dorado~eldorado]]) -- all to notable effect.
Throughout the 1990s, Wilson became increasingly comfortable with leading-man status thanks to a strong series of featured performances in numerous French productions. Despite the fact that Wilson might not have been easily recognizable to American audiences, his small roles in numerous art-house hits continued to hint at the possibility of future international stardom. It was during this period that Wilson was also becoming increasingly prominent on-stage due to memorable and high-profile performances alongside such heavies as [[Performer~P66495~Maggie Smith~maggiesmith]] (La Machine Infernale), [[Performer~P18570~Judi Dench~judidench]] (A Little Night Music), and his father (Eurydice). In 1994 Lambert directed himself in a production of [[Performer~P87154~Musset~alfreddemusset]]'s Les Caprices de Marianne, which went on to tour throughout France after a successful run in Paris.
After Wilson's international breakthrough in 2003's [[Feature~V279420~The Matrix Reloaded~thematrixreloaded]], audiences worldwide could rest assured that they would be seeing plenty more of the talented actor in the very near future -- and that's not even taking into account the continuation of his Merovingian role in [[Feature~V282917~The Matrix Revolutions~thematrixrevolutions]]. Even as Lambert was on the verge of international stardom with the announcement of his involvement with such high-profile U.S. releases as [[Performer~P88048~Richard Donner~richarddonner]]'s [[Feature~V278220~Timeline~timeline]] and the big-budget superhero film [[Feature~V288762~Catwoman~catwoman]] (directed by stylish French director [[Performer~P205715~Pitof~pitof]]), he still remained true to his roots by simultaneously appearing in such undeniably French productions as [[Performer~P108005~Alain Resnais~alainresnais]]' Pas sur la Bouche (2003) and [[Performer~P114569~Nadine Trintignant~nadinetrintignant]]'s small-screen drama Colette. In addition to his acting career, Wilson has narrated classical works under the direction of some of the world's most notable conductors, and has released a pair of albums featuring both classic songs from American musicals and the golden age of French cinema. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi