Home » ‘Big Shots’ Michael Vartan
Michael Vartan: James Walker
Date Of Birth: November 27th, 1968 City: Paris, France
Michael Vartan came to international acclaim with his starring role as Agent Michael Vaughn for five seasons on the worldwide hit ABC series “Alias.”
Vartan has wrapped production on a starring role in his first action/thriller, “Rogue,” for the Weinstein Company. He plays a cynical American travel writer who embarks on a river cruise in the Australian outback. The role offered a departure from his recent romantic male leads in such comedies as the Summer ‘05 blockbuster “Monster-in-Law” and FOX 2000’s “Never Been Kissed.” “Rogue” is written and directed by Aussie Greg McLean, whose debut film, “Wolf Creek,” has received rave reviews.
Also in the can is a lead role in the independent feature “Jolene: My Life” for director Dan Ireland (“The Whole Wide World”). Based on a story from E.L. Doctorow, the film revolves around a woman, Jolene, who escaped the foster care system at 15 only to jump into three disastrous marriages. Vartan plays Brad Benton, son and heir to an oil drilling fortune, who uses his charms to pursue Jolene.
Most recently Vartan starred opposite Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in New Line Cinema’s summer blockbuster, “Monster-in-Law.” He previously starred opposite Robin Williams in the psychological thriller, “One Hour Photo.” He also appeared in the two-part TNT miniseries “The Mists of Avalon,” a retelling of the story of Camelot in which he portrayed Sir Lancelot, opposite Angelica Huston, Julianna Margulies and Joan Allen.
Born in Paris to a French father and an American mother, Vartan grew up in the tiny Normandy village of Fleury until the age of 16, when he moved to Los Angeles to live with his mother, who encouraged him to take acting classes.
After starring in two small French films, he grabbed the attention of the film world with his breakthrough performance in the 1993 Italian epic, “Fiorile,” directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Vartan, who was nominated for a French Caesar Award for Best Up-and-Coming Actor, played two characters in this fable of a curse that haunts a family through centuries. Of his performance, New York Post movie critic Mike Medved heralded the actor, saying, “[Vartan] is so hugely effective that it’s hard to understand how he could have (so far) avoided discovery by Hollywood.”
Soon after, Vartan signed with an agent and landed a role in “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” playing the bigoted small-town thug who harasses three drag queens (Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo). He went on to star opposite David Schwimmer as one of his best friends in “The Pallbearer.” He also starred in Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Myth of Fingerprints” with Julianne Moore.
In his limited free time, Vartan feeds his obsession with sports, particularly ice hockey. “If it weren’t for acting, I’d give anything to play a professional sport,” he says, still holding onto his life-long dream.