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MELANIE LAURENT (Alma Vargas) is a rising star on the international scene who has appeared in more than 25 films since 1999. In the U.S. she is best known for playing the vengeful heroine in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, co-starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger. For her performance in Beginners, Laurent shared in the Gotham Award for Best Ensemble alongside Oscar winner Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor.

Laurent was raised in an artistic environment with a dance-teacher mother and a voice-actor father. At the age of 16, she was discovered by Gerard Depardieu while visiting a friend on the set of Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar. Her first film role was in 1999's The Bridge, which Depardieu co-directed and starred in. In 2002 Laurent became famous in Europe after playing the girlfriend of Gaspard Ulliel's character in Michel Blanc's Summer Things. In 2007 she won the Cesar Award for Most Promising Actress for her performance in Don't Worry, I'm Fine.

In the spotlight ever since, Laurent has made atypical choices like the Hong Kong film Rice Rhapsody and Rodolphe Marconi's Last Day, which reunited her with Gaspard Ulliel. She played the heroine in the detective story Room of Death and thriller The Killer (Le tueur). On a more romantic note, Laurent starred opposite Justin Bartha in Jennifer Devoldere's Shoe at Your Foot. Other film credits include This Is My Body, Paris, The Day I Saw Your Heart, Requiem for a Killer, The Concert, The Raid and Night Train to Lisbon and La Rafle where she plays a courageous nurse trying to lend a hand to deported Jews during the terrible events of the Vel d'Hiv during the Second World War in France.

Also a gifted director, Laurent starred in and directed the 2011 drama The Adopted, alongside Marie Denarnaud and Denis Menochet. Her first credit behind the camera came with the short film De moins en moins (Less and Less), an official selection at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and Palme d'Or: Best Short Film nominee. Laurent also directed an episode of "X Femmes" for French television's Canal+.

Laurent hosted the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Her stage experience includes "Promenade de sante," by Nicolas Bedos. A talented singer, Laurent's debut album "En t'attendant" was produced by Damien Rice and released in 2011.

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