Name: Matthias Schoenaerts
Born: Dec 8, 1977, Antwerp, Belgium
Filmography: Bullhead (2011), Rust And Bone (2012), The Drop (2014), A Little Chaos (2014), Suite Francaise (2014), Far From The Madding Crowd (2015)
1 Hunky dory
Schoenaerts (pronounced Scone-Arts) is aware that his physicality - he is 1.88m tall - has somewhat boxed him into movies that celebrate his hulking presence such as the 2011 foreign film Oscar nominee Bullhead, where he played a steroid addict.
He followed that with 2012's Rust And Bone, which featured him as Marion Cotillard's cage-fighting lover. Then last year, he was a thug terrorising Tom Hardy in The Drop. "I don't want to be pinned down as just a physical actor," the 37-year-old told Out.
2 Romantic mode
The Belgian export's masculinity is perfect for Gabriel Oak, the rugged shepherd who pursues Carey Mulligan's headstrong heroine Bathsheba Everdene in the latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1874 lit classic Far From The Madding Crowd, now showing in cinemas.
"I was fascinated by the absolute selflessness and sincerity and loyalty of that guy," Schoenaerts told Entertainment Weekly.
3 Hidden talent
Schoenaerts, who made his big-screen debut at 15 in a bit part alongside his actor-father Julien in the period drama Daens (1992), is also a talented graffiti artist.
"I've been doing it ever since I was 13, 14. As a kid, I had a lot of books about painters; I was totally absorbed and obsessed," he told Interview. "It has a meditative effect on me because it doesn't involve so many people."
4 Danish drama
The European cinema fixture is making more inroads into Hollywood, and his next film, The Danish Girl, is set to be an Oscar contender next year.
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) directed this biopic about Einar Wegener, one of the first people to undergo male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. British actor Eddie Redmayne is the lead.
Schoenaerts plays Einar's childhood friend Hans Axgil, a third wheel who comes between Einar and his artist wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander).
5 Size does not matter
Schoenaerts, who will be playing US explorer William Clark in the upcoming HBO miniseries Lewis And Clark, has no plans to star in a Hollywood blockbuster, having turned down the lead role in 2014's RoboCop, which eventually went to Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman.
"I like good cinema, whether it's small independent cinema or a huge project," he told the Los Angeles Times.
"For me it's all about, 'Is it going to blow people's minds, in a creative way, in an emotional way'."
This article was first published on July 08, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.