Matthias Schoenaerts biography
Date of Birth: December 8, 1977
Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts is the son of costume designer Dominique Wiche and Belgian film star Julien Schoenarts, who has been called "the Marlon Brando of Flanders."
His parents never married and while growing up, Matthias alternated his time between his mother in Antwerp and his grandmother in Brussels.
Matthias made his film debut at age 12 with a small role in the Academy Award-nominated film Daens, which starred his father. Despite that early experience, Matthias had no desire to be an actor at that time, even rebelling against the thought. He played on a professional soccer team for awhile, but decided he didn't want to do that as a career either.
After being expelled from film school for poor attendance, at the age of 21, Matthias finally accepted his destiny and enrolled in drama school. At the time, he was already a working actor, playing guest roles on TV series and supporting roles in feature films.
His first starring role came in the 2006 Belgian film Love Belongs to Everyone, in which he played a shy, gentle, mentally-challenged young man who is released from jail for a rape he likely didn't commit.
Fluent in Flemish Dutch and French, Matthias learned English by watching American movies. This offered him a wider assortment of roles. He has acted in French movies such as the short film Je veux quelque chose et je ne sais pas quoi, Dutch films including Black Book (Zwartboek) (2006) and The Muze (De muze) (2007), as well as Belgian films such as Left Bank (Linkeroever) and Loft (both 2008). He would later go on to star in the English-language version of Loft.
When Matthias played a starring role in the 2012 France/Belgium release Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os), he attracted the attention of Hollywood when the film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Matthias won Most Promising Actor at France's César Awards in 2013, as well as receiving several other awards and nominations.
Next came Matthias' first American film, Blood Ties (2013), alongside Clive Owen and Billy Crudup, as well as his Rust and Bone co-star, Marion Cotillard.
In A Little Chaos (2014), Matthias played co-star Kate Winslet's love interest and in Far From the Madding Crowd (2015), he played a man steadfastly in love with co-star Carey Mulligan's character.
Currently, Matthias plays explorer William Clark in the mini-series Lewis and Clark, opposite Casey Affleck for HBO. Although the show follows the two American explorers in the early 1800s, it's shot in the gorgeous mountains of Alberta. He also has wrapped a role in Fox Searchlight Pictures' crime drama A Bigger Splash (2016), starring alongside Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes.
In 2015, Matthias won the Ensor Award at the Film Festival Oostende for Outstanding Achievement. He also was honored with France's Order of Arts and Letters, making him a Knight.
Matthias, who loves animals, lives with his two cats and his law student girlfriend in the Belgian city of his birth, Antwerp.