Childhood & Early Life
Charlotte Gainsbourg was born on July 21, 1971 in London to French actor/singer Serge Gainsbourg and British actress cum singer Jane Birkin. By 1980, her parents had separated and her mother went on to marry director Jacques Doillon.
She has a half-brother, Lucien Gainsbourg, who was born from her father's relationship with French actress and model Bambou. She has two elder siblings, Natacha and Paul, from her father’s second marriage to Françoise-Antoinette Pancrazzi.
After her parents separated, her father became an alcoholic and eventually died in 1991. She remained dedicated to preserving his legacy and his house.
Charlotte Gainsbourg was raised in Paris alongside her half-sister Kate Barry (from her mother's marriage to John Barry) who died in the year 2013 after falling from a window.
Apart from Kate Barry, she also has another half-sister on her mother’s side named Lou Doillon who was born as a result of the union of her mother and director Jacques Doillon.
She is the niece of screenwriter Andrew Birkin and the cousin of opera and theatre director, Sophie Hunter. Her maternal grandmother was the popular actress Judy Campbell.
Charlotte studied at the École Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel in Paris and later attended Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil in Switzerland.
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Charlotte Gainsbourg made her motion picture debut with the 1984 flick ‘Paroles et musique’ playing the role of Catherine Deneuve's daughter. A years later, she played Charlotte Castang in the film ‘L'effrontée’ and bagged a César Award for the "Most Promising Actress".
She starred in the movie ‘Charlotte for Ever’ (1986), a story of a father who develops incestuous desires for his teenage daughter after the death of his wife. The movie garnered critical acclaim and also kindled controversy as her real-life father played her onscreen father as well, giving rise to the speculation that the story was autobiographical.
In 1986, she also released her first album titled ‘Charlotte for Ever’ which included a collection of songs written by her father.
In 1988, she starred alongside her mother in the movies ‘Kung Fu Master’ and ‘Jane B. par Agnes V.,’ both of which were directed by Agnès Varda. She next did the films ‘Il sole anche di notte’ and ‘Merci la vie’.
Gainsbourg made her English-language debut in 1993, appearing as Julie in her uncle Andrew Birkin’s ‘The Cement Garden’. The following year, she appeared in the French comedy ‘Grosse Fatigue’ and also made her stage debut in David Mamet's play ‘Oleanna,’ which premiered at Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse.
She was cast as the titular character in ‘Jane Eyre,’ a screen adaption of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name.
The actress ended the decade with her mesmerizing performance in the comedy-drama film ‘La Bûche’(1999), a story of a woman named Yvette who tries to reconcile with her three daughters from her first marriage after the demise of her second husband. Gainsbourg’s role in the movie as Catherine Girard earned her appreciation and bagged her the César Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’.
In 2000, she got featured on Madonna’s "What It Feels Like for a Girl", a track from her album ‘Music’. That year, Gainsbourg also starred in the miniseries ‘Les Misérables’.
In 2001, she played Charlotte in ‘Ma femme est une actrice’ aka ‘My Wife is an Actress.’ In this romantic comedy-drama flick, she starred alongside her real-life partner Yvan Attal who played a highly-possessive journalist husband who becomes jealous when his wife gets a film alongside an attractive co-actor.
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The actress starred in the crime-drama ‘21 Grams’ (2003) alongside Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. In 2004, she collaborated with the French singer Étienne Daho for his single "If".
She came up with her second album titled ‘5:55’ (2006) that reached the top of the French music chart, eventually earning platinum status. The album was a moderate success in the United Kingdom as well. Gainsbourg also starred in Michel Gondry's sci-fi film ‘The Science of Sleep’ the same year.
The year 2007 saw her in the role of Claire in the biographical flick ‘I'm Not There,’ in which she also contributed to Dylan’s song "Just Like a Woman," which was used in the film’s soundtrack. Two years later, she starred in the horror movie ‘Antichrist’ that earned her the Best Actress award at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
In 2009, the British-French artiste released her third album ‘IRM’. The title of the album was influenced from her head injury operation in 2007 during which she went through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
She starred in ‘The Tree,’ a French/Australian production, in 2010. That year, her track "Heaven Can Wait" was listed in the Starbucks iTunes ‘Pick of the Week’ list. Also her song, "Trick Pony," featured in ‘Grey's Anatomy’s episode titled "Perfect Little Accident" that aired the same year.
Gainsbourg was cast in the science fiction disaster flick ‘Melancholia’ in 2011. She also released her double album ‘Stage Whisper’ the same year.
In May 2012, she starred alongside musician Pete Doherty the film ‘Confession d'un enfant du siècle.’ The following year, she played Joe in ‘Nymphomaniac’, a European two-part art movie directed by Lars von Trier. The film also featured Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Stacy Martin, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen and Willem Dafoe.
The talented actress played Alice in the French-comedy drama 'Samba' and Sylvie Berger in the French flick '3 cœurs' in 2014. Her performances in these movies earned her a Lumières Award nomination for Best Actress.
In 2016, she starred as Dr. Catherine Marceaux in the sequel of the 1996 flick ‘Independence Day,’ titled ‘Independence Day: Resurgence,’ and also appeared in the movies ‘Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer’ and ‘Dark Crimes’.
In 2017, Gainsbourg was cast alongside Rebecca Ferguson and Michael Fassbender in the crime thriller ‘The Snowman’. She also played the role of Sylvia in ‘Les fantômes d'Ismaël’ the same year.