Born in Lausanne, in Switzerland, Vincent Perez always dreamed of becoming an actor, although sculpture, painting and even photography were amongst his initial interests. He studied acting at the Conservatoire National d’Art Dramatique of Geneva and later in Paris. In 1986, he joined Patrice Chéreau and his comedians at the Théâtre des Amandiers of Nanterre (Paris). Between 1987 and 1988, he played Platonov of Tchekov, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and presented plays by Heinrich von Kleist and Tchekov at the Avignon Festival.
Vincent Perez is one of the heartthrob, romantic actors of the new generation of French comedians. He makes his screen debut in Gardien de nuit (1986) of Jean-Pierre Limosin, then, together with other pupils of Patrice Chéreau he plays in Hotel de France the same year. It is in 1989 that he gains a worldwide success with Cyrano de Bergerac of Jean-Paul Rappeneau, in which he co-stars opposite Gérard Depardieu. Another well-known costume film –Le voyage du Capitaine Fracasse by Ettore Scola (1990) is followed by the large scale Oscar winning production Indochine by Régis Wargnier, in which he co-stars with Catherine Deneuve. The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture. This film launches his international career, confirmed by his role as Marguerite de Valois’ lover in La Reine Margot (1993) by Patrick Chereau, which won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 1996, Hollywood proposes him the lead role in The Crow, replacing Brendon Lee, hereby breaking his image of the romantic lover. Another costume film Le Bossu (1997) of Philippe de Broca is followed by I dreamed of Africa by Hugh Hudson, also presented in Cannes, a film where he shares the lead with Kim Basinger. His role as a transvestite in Ceux qui m’aiment prendront le train of Patrice Chéreau will award him the Cesar of Best Supporting Actor in 1998.
In 1992 he is nominated for the Cannes Jury Award for his first short film L’échange and goes behind the camera once again for another short film in 1999 directing Rien Dire, also screened in Cannes. In 2002 he co-writes the scenario and directs his first full length film Peau d’Ange. In 2007 he directs Si j’étais toi / The Secret produced by EuropaCorp, headed by Luc Besson. Since April 2007, he is the main actor in the French police series called “Paris Enquêtes Criminelles”.