When audiences talk about "The Artist," it's usually about Uggie. The dog. Lost in the mix is poor Jean Dujardin, the actual lead in the movie. Although, that's not to say the French actor has been completely ignored -- he is the favorite to win Best Actor at this year's Oscars following a win in the same category at the Screen Actors Guild awards last month. So, after Dujardin's role in "The Artist," is he ready to take Hollywood by storm?
This week's Hollywood Reporter explores the likelihood of Jean Dujardin becoming a household name in America. Unfortunately, it might be tough -- particularly since his first language is French. "[Jean] could only get cast in a U.S. movie that had a role for a person who's French," said Laray Mayfield, a casting director for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." "An American actor is not going to get cast in a French movie either, unless they've got a part for an American."
However, not everyone is a detractor. Harvey Weinstein, in full "Artist" Oscar campaign mode, is on the Dujardin bandwagon. "I don't think I've seen someone with such international star appeal since Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. The drama, the comedy, the song and dance -- he is the consummate cinema buff who brings great ideas and energy to every project he's involved in."
Only time will tell whether Jean makes it big here in the States, but should he continue to charm audiences both onscreen and in television appearances, he could be OK. Watch him on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to see his budding star bona fides (video above). They don't call him the French George Clooney for nothing.