by Lauren Pringle, contributing blogger
Berenice Bejo is a hidden argentine jewel who stars as the supporting actress in the Academy Award winning “The Artist”. Her life story is as facinating as her talent.
Born in Argentina, Bejo is the daughter of the Argentine film maker Miguel Bejo. The family moved to France when she was three to avoid the military dictatorship. Growing up in France, Bejo made her American film debut in “A Knights Tale” with Heath Ledger. Having had a successful career in French film, her performance in “The Artist” has given her critical acclaim. The Artist actress is married to Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, with whom she has two children.
In the Artist, Bejo plays Peppy Miller an actress in the 1920’s.Stepping back to another generation, this black and white silent movie has boosted Bejo into the limelight. Delicate and beautiful, Bejo executes the role with elegance and class. In an interview with www.backstage.comshe explains about the pressure felt when working with her husband.
“She was stressed at the start of filming. She knew how much work her husband had put into the script, how much time he’d spent raising the money for it, and how important the film was to him. It was difficult for her to loosen up and focus on her role in the first week. “I just wanted to please him so much,” she says. She also worried that the crew and the rest of the cast would think of her as just the director’s wife and not as a serious actor, even though she had been successful in France for years before she even met her husband. When it was time to shoot her first big scene, Bejo says, it felt like an audition: “I wanted to show everybody that I’m an actress and I’m here for a good reason.” She says Hazanavicius said to her: “Relax. You’re good. Don’t worry. Just focus on your work.” Knowing she had his support, she let the pressure go, and, thankfully, she says, everything went well from then on.”
It seems like all the hard work has paid off. Bejo’s performance has seen gain several award nominations: the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture award, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.