Simon Abkarian

Simon Abkarian

Abkarian in 2014
Born (1962-03-05) 5 March 1962
Gonesse, Val d'Oise, France
Occupation Actor
Years active 1989–present

Simon Abkarian (Armenian: Սիմոն Աբգարյան; born 5 March 1962) is a French actor.

Life and career

Born in Gonesse, Val d'Oise, of Armenian descent, Abkarian spent his childhood in Lebanon. He moved to Los Angeles, where he joined an Armenian theater company managed by Gerald Papazian. He returned to France in 1985, settling in Paris. He took classes at the Acting International school, then he joined Ariane Mnouchkine's Théâtre du Soleil and played, among others, in L'Histoire terrible mais inachevée de Norodom Sihanouk, roi du Cambodge ("The Terrible but Unfinished Story of Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia") by Hélène Cixous, and in the House of Atreus four-play cycle by Aeschylus.

Abkarian left the Théâtre du Soleil in 1993. In 2001 he starred in Beast on the Moon by Richard Kalinoski, directed by Irina Brook, a play about the life of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, a role which won him critical acclaim and the Molière Award for Best Actor.

His first roles in cinema were proposed by French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, who asked him to play in several of his movies, notably in Chacun cherche son chat ("When the Cat is Away", 1996) and in Ni pour ni contre (bien au contraire) in 2003.

He was featured in Sally Potter's Yes (2004), in which he played the lead role.

Abkarian then played Mehdi Ben Barka in the thriller J'ai vu tuer Ben Barka by Serge Le Péron, about the kidnapping and the murder of the leader of the Moroccan opposition. He then played in Prendre Femme by Ronit Elkabetz which won him several acting awards. Playing different roles and in different genres, he was featured in the adventure Zaïna, cavalière de l'Atlas by Bourlem Guerdjou, in the comedy Le Démon de midi by Marie-Pascale Osterrieth. He has also appeared in Atom Egoyan's Ararat (2002), he was Albert in Almost Peaceful (2004) by French director Michel Deville, and he was featured in Your Dreams (2005) by Denis Thybaud. He was featured as Sahak in the thriller Les Mauvais Joueurs ("The Gamblers") (2005) by Frédéric Balekdjian. He played the role of villain Alex Dimitrios in the James Bond film, Casino Royale. The character is a government contractor and arms dealer working against Bond.

He has also been the voice of Ebi in the French version of the animated feature Persepolis. Abkarian played the role of the Armenian poet Missak Manouchian in The Army of Crime (2010) by Robert Guédiguian, a French filmmaker based in Marseilles, who is also of Armenian parentage.

He has also played Dariush Bakhshi, the Iranian Special Consul, in the BBC drama Spooks (MI-5). In 2012, he played the role of a drug-dealing Afghan army colonel in the Canal+ series Kaboul Kitchen.


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