Lambert Wilson: How His Role In The Matrix Changed His Career

Matrix digital flow of information © Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash
Matrix digital flow of information © Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash
Matrix digital flow of information © Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

The Matrix franchise, consisting of The Matrix (1999), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolution (2003) and The Matrix Resurrections (2021) is undoubtedly one of the most iconic [Click "Lire la suite" to read more]


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Matrix digital flow of information © Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

The Matrix franchise, consisting of The Matrix (1999), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolution (2003) and The Matrix Resurrections (2021) is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and influential movie franchises in cinematic history. In the midst of all the action, complex concepts of reality, and dystopian visions, Lambert Wilson's portrayal of the Merovingian, the ruthless and cunning character, "the Matrix Frenchman" as he was called, left a lasting impression on audiences and changed Lambert Wilson's career forever.

Where to stream Lambert Wilson’s movies?

Whether you want to watch classic French movies with Lambert Wilson like Chouans, Hiver 54 and La Boum 2 or new releases featuring the French actor, TV5MONDE USA is the best option to watch French movies with English subtitles in America. With TV5MONDE, you will have access to the live broadcast of TV5MONDE, the only French language entertainment network in America, and the on demand platform TV5MONDE Cinema which, every month, presents a curated selection of newly released French movies and classic French films. Finally, you'll get a free access to TV5MONDEplus, the French streaming platform with the largest selection of French-language movies and TV shows in the USA. 

Pre-Matrix Career: Lambert Wilson's Early Roles

Before his breakthrough performance in The Matrix Reloaded, Wilson had already established an impressive career in France. He was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, in August 1958. His father, Georges Wilson, was a French actor and director, so there's no surprise that, early on, a young Lambert Wilson dreamed of being actor. But not just any actor. A Hollywood actor.

Wilson began his acting career on stage and made his film debut in the American film Julia in 1977. After a couple of small roles in French and English-speaking movies, he landed a role in, La Boum 2 (The Party 2), released in 1982. The follow-up to La Boum with Sophie Marceau was a massive commercial success, and Wilson's performance as Félix, the moody and brooding love interest of Vic, earned him widespread recognition in France. 

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wilson starred in several successful French films, such as Rendez-vous (1985) by André Téchiné, a romantic drama that explores relationships and heartbreak, and Chouans (1988), Philippe de Broca's popular swashbuckler. During this time, he became known for his dramatic range, emotive performances, and natural charisma.

In 1990, Wilson appeared in the critically acclaimed film On connaît la chanson, Alain Resnais multi-awarded musical (Lambert Wilson was nominated for a César for this role).

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Lambert Wilson's acting style

Wilson has been known for his versatility, depth, and charisma throughout his career. He has played a range of characters, from the sensitive and emotional Félix in La Boum 2 to the powerful, manipulative Merovingian in The Matrix. His acting style is often described as naturalistic and authentic, with a powerful emotional range.

Wilson is primarily known for his work in French cinema, particularly in dramas and romantic comedies. Although he has taken on a variety of roles throughout his career, there is a recurring theme of sensitivity and emotional depth that characterizes most of his performances.

Then came The Matrix...

The Matrix Reloaded (2003), directed by Lilly and Lana Wachowski, was a game-changer for Wilson's career. The sequel to the 1999 blockbuster, The Matrix, introduced new characters, concepts, and challenges. Wilson's portrayal of the Merovingian, a cunning and manipulative Frenchman, was one of the highlights of the film.

In The Matrix Reloaded, Wilson's character plays a key role in helping Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) navigate deeper into the Matrix. He's greedy, compelling, and full of complex motivations that are not immediately clear. His sly grin, silky demeanor, and sophisticated dialogue made the character exciting to watch, and he quickly became a fan favorite.

In The Matrix Revolutions, released later that year, and also directed by the Wachowskis sisters Wilson returned as the Merovingian and his character arc continued to impress audiences. Wilson's performance helped raise the stakes in the film and made for a thrilling sequel to the Matrix franchise.

Wilson's success in The Matrix franchise propelled him into the international spotlight, expanding his career beyond French cinema. The film's success solidified Wilson's position as a versatile and captivating actor and was a turning point in his career.

Lambert Wilson In The Matrix: The Role of The Merovingian

Wilson's portrayal of The Merovingian is widely regarded as one of the standout performances of the Matrix cyberpunk franchise. The Merovingian is one of the most memorable characters in the series, and Wilson's elegant and nuanced performance adds layers of depth to the character. His portrayal is at once charming and menacing, combining wit, intellect, and trickery to create an unforgettable villain.

The Merovingian was iconic for several reasons. He expanded the Matrix universe, introduced new characters and cultures, and pushed the limits of what could be achieved through filmmaking. The character was memorable in part because of the way he pushed against the norms, challenging audiences to think deeply about the complexity of the Matrix. It's impossible not to mention that the character rose to fame for a scene where The Merovingian throws out all of his favorite French insults at Neo and Morpheus.

The impact of The Matrix on Wilson's subsequent roles and career trajectory

The impact of The Matrix on Wilson's career has been significant. The film broadened his audience and allowed him to showcase his abilities to a wider audience. His role in the film demonstrated his versatility as an actor, and filmmakers began to take notice.

Following The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, Wilson continued to work on international projects, building on his newfound success. He appeared in films such as Catwoman (2004) and Sahara (2005), showcasing his ability to adapt to different genres and styles.

The Matrix franchise has proven to be a significant milestone for Wilson's career, as it also showed that the French actor was clearly ready not to take himself so seriously and willing to do blockbusters and not stick only to indie dramas.

Lambert Wilson Post-The Matrix: Subsequent Roles and Achievements

Since The Matrix trilogy, Wilson has continued to work on a variety of exciting projects, both nationally and internationally. He has appeared in several noteworthy French films such as Palais Royal ! (2005) and Sur la piste du Marsupilami (2012), and worked on international films such as Posthumous (2014) and Mrs Harris goes to Paris (2022). The Matrix franchise also helped him land roles that require a "villain with a heart." or just a character with sharp dialogue.

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