If you read my blog regularly, hopefully you won’t go ‘Stanley who?’ He’s my first French actor crush and I think it’d only fit to give him a proper birthday tribute!
The Parisian-born actor Stanley Weber turns 29 today and it’s just the perfect time to give him a proper tribute. It’s always a joy for me to give a tribute to my favorite actor… even if at the moment most people have no idea who he is yet.
I’ve mentioned in several posts that I fell for Stanley in the Scottish rom-com Not Another Happy Ending. He really took my breath away in that movie, much like Christopher Reeve did in Superman: The Movie, Gregory Peck in Spellbound, and Toby Stephens in The Machine, just to name a few. Obviously these are all incredibly beautiful men, but it takes much more than a handsome face for me to be so bewitched by an actor. After watching more of his work and reading from a handful of interviews [thank God for Google Translate!], I’ve come to respect him more as an actor… a man with substance who truly cares about his craft, instead of merely seeking fame and fortune.
I hope that by the end of the post, you’ll see what I see in Stanley… why he’s an actor whose work I appreciate and whose career I will follow for years to come.
Stanley’s Acting Background
The son of renowned French actor Jacques Weber, Stanley spent much of his childhood wandering the theater and film sets. It’s when he was 14 years old, when his dad staged Cyrano De Bergerac in a theater in Nice that it clicked for him and he decided he wanted to become an actor. I love that he didn’t rely on his dad’s fame and pedigree to get ahead and he’s said that he had to work a lot harder to prove his chops.
||CNSAD – 3e Année –
||LAMDA London (UK)
||CLASSICAL ACTING COURSE
I’ve always gravitated to actors with theatrical background and Stanley is no different. In fact, he co-wrote/directed two plays with his classmate Pierre Giafferi, L’Eepouvantail (The Scarecrow) and Falstaff, during his Free Class session. He later joined the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris, and finished his classical training in LAMDA, London.
Stanley’s early stage work: [top] Marius, Fanny and César w/ his dad Jacques [bottom l-r] Fallstaff, The Scarecrow
Photos courtesy of Stanley’s FB page.
Stanley in his own words
La Madeleine de Proust (Remembrance of things past)?
The film about your life?
Your favorite book?
Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Your beauty secret?
I never shave
Fashion trend you hate?
The slim jeans
[from the BLIND Mag]
Your definition of success?
Knowing that I have work all next year and I can afford to go two weeks on a boat, cutting the phone. That said, it’s like that, last year, I almost missed BORGIA as they had tried to reach me without success, and they were about to give up!
[per Optimum mag]
Outside of acting, with whom and where do you feel this connection to life?
By sail, the boat – I am more and more – and rugby. The boat is the only place in the world where I reach a kind of serenity and a rare quiet home.
Stills from Thérèse where Stanley played a young sailor
Eric Tabarly – French Navy officer and yachtsman
When I was working on, I watched five … ten times the documentary on Tabarly. I was absolutely inspired by this guy, who speaks very little, hyper taciturn and has trouble expressing his feelings. This is something I too find in myself, and that’s why I do theater.
[per Fancy Glossy Trendy blog]
Ever since April 5, the day I fell madly for Stanley, I’ve seen pretty much everything I could get my hands on, including the French movies he did with NO English translation, i.e. Cheba Louisa. I wish I could see more of his work, but sadly most of them are not available to see in the US. Hopefully that’ll change in the future.
Five Favorite Roles
Tom Duval – Not Another Happy Ending (2013)
Stanley replaced Scottish actor Emun Elliott in the role of Karen Gillan’s publisher. Sometimes the actor replacing the original cast member ends up making the role even more memorable. Think Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in LOTR and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Ok so Tom Duval isn’t exactly an iconic role, it is a small movie after all. But to me, I LOVE that the fact that they made the character a Frenchman, he adds so much flair to the movie. Stanley’s positively swoon-worthy as Tom Duval, who’s a bit of a scoundrel. He displays his comic timing as well as his romantic vulnerability in the role.
Juan Borgia – BORGIA: Faith & Fear (2011-2013)
Of course after seeing Stanley in NAHE, I had to see everything Stanley’s in. The first thing I checked out was this CanalPlus miniseries BORGIA: Faith & Fear. In the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, of enlightened creativity and unparalleled intellectual achievement, we’ve got the original Italian mafia family, led by Rodrigo Borgia. Juan Borgia is the eldest who’s described as an unscrupulous sexual predator.
It was one of his biggest roles straight out of his classical training, and Stanley carried this challenging role with aplomb. He held his own against more experienced actors like John Doman and was quite fearless in the most vicious and violent scenes of the series. It was quite a revelation to see his sinister side which both thrilled and scared me. He really got to display his range here given the volatility of Juan’s character. I’m grateful to Tom Fontana for discovering Stanley and giving him something really meaty to chew on.
Jean Azevedo –Therese Desqueyroux (2012)
This film was chosen to close the Cannes Film Festival of 2012 and it was director Claude Miller’s last film. Though Stanley only had a brief screen time with Audrey Tautou who’s the protagonist, he was not only memorable but adds so much energy to the film whenever he’s on screen. There’s a mischievous charm about his character, as Jean is a bit of a bad boy as he’s involved in a forbidden romance of sort with Tautou’s young sister-in-law. The French scenery is so beautiful and I particularly love the scenes near Jean’s shack by the water and the sailing scenes pictured above.
King Louis XV – Le Soleil Noir (2009)
In one of the interviews I read, Stanley’s described this role as one of the most challenging as he had to portray the French monarch from age 16 all the way to 64. It’s one of three-part French TV-movie/documentary focusing on three of the most famous French monarchs. It’s done with lavish production quality and exquisite costume design. Shot right in Versailles, it showed the splendor and extravagance of the day.
Even in the midst of his classical training when he did this role, Stanley’s natural gift and versatility as an actor was in full display. He’s got that regal and dignified sensibility to make us believe he is a King, and he can be convincingly playful and seductive in one scene and deeply tormented in the next. Seeing pictures of the real Louis XV, of course he wasn’t nearly as gorgeous as Stanley, but his casting certainly makes learning history a heck of a lot more entertaining!
Renee – Violette (2013)
Stanley only appeared briefly towards the end of the film, but it’s yet another memorable role. Like in Therese, Stanley’s paired with a more experienced French actress, César Award winner Emmanuelle Devos but he’s more than able to hold his own. It’s quite a sexy scene and I wish he had more screen time here.
Wish I had a time travel machine…
… to see Stanley on stage with Melanie Thierry in Anna Christie
Photo by Kim Weber
I’d LOVE to have seen this Eugene O’Neill adaptation. Stanley played a young sailor who falls in love with a former prostitute who struggles to turn her life around. From some of the reviews I’ve read, Stanley displayed ‘sensitivity and passion’ the role requires.
Outlander season 2 – Dragonfly in Amber
Stanley as Louis XV – I wonder if he’ll don a powder wig again as Le Comte
The Comte St. Germain is a wine merchant who is a competitor of Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) cousin, Jared Fraser. Jared is the relative that Claire and Jamie set sail to meet with in the season finale. St. Germain is a French nobleman who seeks retribution against Claire after she costs him an entire shipload of goods, and who may be involved with even more sinister activities.
I can’t wait to see Stanley in French monarchy regalia once again. I was hoping they’d show a preview of season 2 featuring him as the Comte St. Germain. Well once I have that I will post it here. I sure hope he’s got a decent screen time on this series and lots of sexy scenes with the beautiful Caitriona Balfe [fingers crossed]. I sure hope this role would open more doors for Stanley in Hollywood!
In 13th century Ireland a group of monks must escort a sacred relic across an Irish landscape fraught with peril.
Stanley plays the Cistercian – Brother Gerladus, one of monks escorting the relic, along with Jon Bernthal and Tom Holland. I LOVE that Stanley doesn’t always go for glamorous roles, as he had to chop that gorgeous hair of his for the role. He posted a video on his Instagram showing his co-stars, including the newly-cast Spider-man Tom Holland, shaving his head off! Of course Stanley still looks so gorgeous with a bald head.
L’origine de la violence
During a school trip to Germany, a young teacher, Nathan Wagner (Stanley) discovered a photograph of a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp who bears an uncanny resemblance to his father Adrien. Returning to France, he spends time with his father and his family, but the memory of photography haunts him. He decides to embark on a search that will change his life forever. [per the film’s FB page]
This is Stanley’s first lead role in a French feature film from writer/director Élie Chouraqui. I’m sincerely hoping this movie gets an international release, with proper English subtitles for his non-French speaking fans like moi! I love the premise of the film, ripe for an emotional human drama filled with mystery and suspense. I know Stanley would be fantastic as the protagonist.
Joyeux Anniversaire, Stanley!
Many happy returns + may we see more exciting projects from you in the future!