Luc Picard, actor, director and screenwriter (born in Lachine, Quebec, September 24, 1961).
Born in a working class neighbourhood in Montreal, Luc Picard was the youngest of four boys whose father worked for Northern Electric. Picard still has very fond memories of his childhood in that neighbourhood, which the family left when he was 12 for the city of Laval because his father got a promotion that changed the family's social class. Although he liked to write and was attracted to the movies at a young age, becoming an actor seemed an inaccessible dream to him. Therefore, he studied administration before trying his luck at the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Montréal in 1985.
After he completed his education in 1988, Luc Picard worked with the most recognized theatre directors in Montreal. He was already demonstrating the range of his talent for both comedy and drama while brilliantly handling classical and contemporary repertory roles. He starred in plays by Claude Poissant such as Signer (1988), J'écrirai bientôt une pièce sur les nègres (1989), Le jeune homme en colère (1991), Le prince travesti (1992), Le triomphe de l'amour (1994) (Académie québécoise du theatre best supporting actor award) and Lorenzaccio (1999). Under Pierre Bernard's direction, he shared the stage with Sylvie Drapeau in Traces d'étoiles (1992), a part he reprised in English in 1996 (Brilliant Traces), and he played several characters in Variations sur le temps (1996). René-Richard Cyr also put him in the leading roles of Lammermeïer in L'Éveil du printemps (1989) and Alceste in Le Misanthrope (1998).
Directed by Brigitte Haentjens, he played leading roles in Un oiseau vivant dans la gueule (1989) and Caligula (1993). He was also in Mlle Julie (1993), directed by Denise Filiatrault, La compagnie des hommes (1996), directed by Lorraine Pintal, and Les Amours (1997), directed by the late Jean-Pierre Ronfard. Yves Desgagnés gave him the title role in the play Un simple soldat (1998), and Picard created the character of Antoine in Juste la fin du monde (2001) (set design by Pierre Bernard and Serge Denoncourt).
After a seven-year absence from the theatre, Luc Picard returned to the stage in the play Sacré-Cœur (2008), directed by Alain Vadeboncoeur and Alexis Martin.
Interspersed with all his theatrical performances during this period, Luc Picard appeared in numerous films. His first film role, in Les Saufs-conduits (1990) by Manon Briand, won him the Prix Luce-Guilbault, awarded to the most promising young actor. He then had major parts in La Sarrazine by Paul Tana (1990), Histoire d'anémone by Bernar Hébert (1992), Le sexe des étoiles by Paule Baillargeon (1992) and Doublures by Michel Murray. He stood out in the films Cap Tourmente by Michel Langlois (1992) and Octobre (1994) by Pierre Falardeau, the filmmaker with whom he became friends. He also became Falardeau's favourite actor. In one year alone (1992), he was also in the television series Blanche by Charles Binamé, Scoop by Pierre Houle and Shehaweh by Jean Beaudin.
However, it was his double agent character in the series Omerta (1996), directed by Pierre Houle, which definitively ensured his place as one of the best actors of his generation. His powerful and intense interpretation won him a Gémeau for best male actor and a Metro Star viewers' award. He then performed several other television and film roles.
The characters of the Gaspé fisherman Noum in the historical series L'Ombre de l'épervier (1999) by Robert Favreau and of the legendary unionist Michel Chartrand in the series Chartrand et Simonne (2000) and Simonne et Chartrand (2003), directed by Alain Chartrand, won him another Gémeau for best male actor (for his work in the three series) and two other Metro Star awards.
On the big screen, Luc Picard also starred in Le Dernier souffle by Richard Ciupka (1999), La femme qui boit by Bernard Hémon (2000) and 15 février 1839 by Pierre Falardeau, in which his role as Chevalier de Lorimier earned him the 2002 Jutra for best actor. He also won the Genie for best male actor for his role as Moïse in Savage Messiah by Mario Azzopardi (2002), Jutra for best supporting actor for his performance in Le collectionneur by Jean Beaudin (2003) and the best actor Bayard d'or at the Festival international du film francophone de Namur, Belgium for his role in 20h17 rue Darling by Bernard Émond (2003).
Luc Picard was very happy to become a father in his early 40s and, in the process, to take advantage of an involuntary break in his acting career to fulfill another childhood dream, writing. In 18 months, he wrote the screenplay for and directed the film L'audition (2005), in which he also starred. Presented during the Festival international de films de Montréal (FIFM), the film won the Iris d'or for the best film of the competition and the prizes for best Canadian film and best Canadian performer. Out of numerous nominations, L'audition won eight other national and international prizes, including the Christera d'Or for best director at the Festival international des jeunes réalisateurs, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France, where it also won the award for best male performance. The Prix du Public at the 24<SUP>th</SUP> Festival International du Premier Film d'Annonay in France capped off this cycle of awards.
Luc Picard then went to Rwanda to play the demanding lead male role in the film Un dimanche à Kigali (2006) by Robert Favreau. He also played the hero in the film noir Léo Huff by Sylvain Guy (2009).
Picard's move from in front of the camera to behind it continued when he directed Babine, also released in 2009. He also played Toussaint Brodeur , a general storekeeper and fly breeder, in that film, written by storyteller Fred Pellerin.
This great actor is also noted for his social and political commitment. In favour of left-wing and sovereignty movements since his adolescence, Luc Picard is the spokesperson of the international cooperation organization Development and Peace, of Chic Resto Pop, which provides affordable meals to the less fortunate, and of the Maison des jeunes, which is intended to defend respect for young people and their rights. He has also publicly opposed the war in Iraq, and Artistes pour la paix named him their 2005 Artiste pour la paix [artist for peace] for distinguishing himself through his pacifist thoughts and actions. Luc Picard was also named spokesperson for the 2007 Fête nationale du Québec.
Luc Picard's exceptional artistic talent has won over public opinion and the critics and brought his peers' admiration. His brilliant career has given him the status of a respected star worthy of popular favour and cinema honours. His integrity and courageous political positions have also made him a leading figure with regard to the engagement of artists as responsible citizens.