What Makes Lambert Wilson Stand Out in His Role As the Merovingian in The Matrix

Lambert Wilson the star behind Merovingian in Matrix © Wikimedia Commons Georges Biard
Lambert Wilson the star behind Merovingian in Matrix © Wikimedia Commons Georges Biard
Lambert Wilson the star behind Merovingian in Matrix © Wikimedia Commons Georges Biard

Lambert Wilson easily admits it: he always dreamed of a Hollywood career. The son of two theater actors, he wanted to differentiate himself from his parents and make a name for himself in the movie industry in France and in America. His first movie, Julia, was an American production, but he then went on to pursue a career almost solely in France. Then came The Matrix Reloaded and his role as the Merovingian.

Copyright for the main image of this article:
Wikimedia Commons Georges Biard

What should have been a small role among all Lambert Wilson's movies became one of the most beloved characters for the fans of The Matrix franchise and the start of a new career for the French actor.


Where to watch Lambert Wilson’s movies?

Over the course of four decades (and counting!) Lambert Wilson has had an impressive career. Comedy, drama, sci-fi, musical, he explored almost every genre which makes for a fascinating filmography. What's the easiest way to watch Lambert Wilson's films? TV5MONDE USA, the only French language entertainment network in America, is the best way to watch French movies with English subtitles in America. It also gives you access to the on demand platform TV5MONDE Cinema which presents every month a selection of newly released French movies and classic French films. And if you still want more, you can also access at no extra cost the French streaming platform TV5MONDEplus and its thousands of French titles, from movies to TV shows and documentaries.


Who is the Merovingian in The Matrix and why this name?

The Merovingian, played by Lambert Wilson is a character introduced in the second Matrix movie - The Matrix Reloaded. He is a powerful, hedonistic, and mysterious ruler of the underworld in the Matrix. The Merovingian is one of the few characters who have some control over the Matrix, even though he is neither a human nor an agent. He is a program designed to perform specific tasks and maintain certain aspects of the Matrix.

The name, the Merovingian, comes from a Frankish dynasty of kings that ruled over parts of Europe during the 5th and 6th centuries. The dynasty was founded by the legendary King Clovis, who united most of the Frankish tribes under his rule. The Merovingian's character in the movie was clearly designed to reflect the hedonistic and powerful rule established by Clovis.


What is the Merovingian relation to the main characters?

The Merovingian is first introduced in The Matrix Reloaded when Neo and Morpheus seek his help to save Zion. The Merovingian has some information that Neo needs to save the city, and he agrees to give it to him only if he completes a mission for him. The Merovingian is not particularly interested in helping Neo, Trinity and Morpheus since he does not see any benefit for himself. He is a self-centered and arrogant character who cares only about his own interests.


Lambert Wilson Thoughts

Lambert Wilson, who played the Merovingian, mentioned in many interviews how he loved playing the character. He found him fascinating and enjoyed the idea of playing such an elusive character with so much power. He also admired Lana and Lilly Wachowski's script, and he was excited to be a part of the Matrix universe they created.


A fan-favorite character back in all following sequels

The Merovingian's role in The Matrix Reloaded was a hit among the fans of the franchise. One of the reasons why fans loved him was his unique unapologetic French accent which made even his threats and menacing temper even more mysterious and unnerving. And how to forget the scene that introduce the character where Lambert Wilson, as the Merovigian, recites all of his favorite French insults with a delicate, posh tone that makes them all the more powerful!

Due to the Merovingian's popularity among fans, his character was brought back in the subsequent sequels of The Matrix movies. First in The Matrix Revolutions (2003), where we get to see more of the character's development. And then again in The Matrix Resurrections. This latest chapter of the chapter released in 2021 gives us a better understanding of the Merovigian's complex relationship with his wife Persephone and his connection to the other characters. Following the box office flop of The Matrix Resurrections by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, no new Matrix sequel has been announced


Who is Lambert Wilson?

Lambert Wilson is a French actor who has appeared in several French and American movies since the 80's. He was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, to a family of French actors. Some of his notable movies include De Gaulle, Benedetta, The Odyssey and Of Gods and Men. Wilson has won many awards for his performances in French dramas and is considered one of the most talented actors in France. Although he was nominated seven times for Best Actor at the Césars - the equivalent in France to the Oscars - he never won the coveted Award.

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Lambert Wilson's Career Prior to The Matrix

Before his Hollywood debut as the Merovingian in The Matrix, Lambert Wilson was already a well-known and respected actor in France, where he had worked extensively in theater, TV, and film.

Wilson began his stage career at the age of 18 when he appeared in his first play, La Cerisaie, in Paris. He followed this with several more stage performances, including roles in plays by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Wilson's early theater work helped him hone his skills as an actor and led to several roles in French TV shows.

Wilson's big break in French cinema came in 1985 when he appeared in the acclaimed film, Rendez-vous, directed by André Téchiné. This was followed by supporting roles in several popular French movies, including The Public Woman and Hiver 54. Wilson's versatility as an actor became evident as he always appeared in both comedies and dramas and was never a man of one genre. His 'haughty', 'precious' way of delivering lines became a great asset for comedies.

Watch and stream Lambert Wilson's best movies on TV5MONDE USA, the best offer for French movies with English subtitles in America.


Throughout his career, Wilson continued to work on stage, becoming a well-known figure in the French theater scene.


How The Matrix Reloaded Launches Wilson's American Career

Wilson's career in America really took off after his appearance in The Matrix Reloaded. His performance as the Merovingian was widely praised by both audiences and critics, and it helped open doors for him in Hollywood. He began appearing in more American films, including two other blockbusters, Timeline by Richard Donner and Catwoman by Pitof.

In 2007, Lambert Wilson appeared in the crime thriller, The Lazarus Project, playing a man who helps a convicted murderer escape from prison. You can also see him in the French-American action film Babylon A.D. alongside Vin Diesel.

Despite his success in Hollywood, Wilson continued to live in Paris and work in his native France, taking on roles in critically acclaimed films such as Of Gods and Men, a drama about monks in Algeria. In recent years, Wilson has continued to be a prominent figure in French cinema and theater, while also pursuing projects in Hollywood. His most recent role was in Benedetta, a historical drama directed by Paul Verhoeven, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021.

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