A seductively vampiric French starlet whose unpredictability has gained her almost as much attention off-screen as on, Béatrice Dalle may someday be able to translate her success on the silver screens of France to the multiplexes of America, if she can get back into the country. A native of Brest, France, Dalle (born Béatrice Cabarrou) received her big break in film when spotted by a photographer on the Champs Élysées. Following a cover shoot on Photo magazine, Dalle was introduced to agent Dominique Besnehard, who in turn introduced her to film director Jean-Jacques Beineix. A prime example of being in the right place at the right time, it just so happened that Beineix was looking for an actress to essay the role of a beautiful but increasingly unstable heroine in his upcoming film Betty Blue. Immediately recognized by the French masses for her unmistakable presence and stunning performance as the titular character, Dalle’s career was soon on the rise, with a subsequent performance as a woman who claims to be a witch in La Visione del Sabba (1988) cementing her status as an unconventional actress of daring sensibilities.
Her star ascending as she appeared opposite actress Isabelle Huppert in the dark drama La Vengeance d’une Femme (1990), American audiences got their first, enticing taste of Dalle when director Jim Jarmusch cast her as a razor-tongued cab fare in his round-the-world comedy Night on Earth (1991). After re-interpreting the life of Jesus in La Belle Histoire, Dalle spent much of the remainder of the 1990s appearing almost exclusively in such French films as À la Folie and director Claire Denis’ I Can’t Sleep (both 1994), though an appearance in Abel Ferrara’s The Blackout proved a disappointing exception to the rule. Arrested for cocaine possession while shooting The Blackout in Miami, the incident would later come back to haunt Dalle by preventing her from appearing in one of the biggest box-office sleepers of all time. Declared an “Undesirable Immigrant” following her arrest, Dalle would later be denied an American work permit that would have allowed her to essay the role of Bruce Willis’ wife in The Sixth Sense, leaving the role open for actress Olivia Williams to fill. Given that Dalle had previously had both a drug conviction in France in addition to a prior conviction of stealing jewels from a Paris boutique, her reputation of as a somewhat dangerous starlet was quickly gaining justification. Following yet another incident in which Dalle physically attacked a Parisian meter maid who was writing the actress a ticket for parking in a handicapped space, Dalle’s wildly unpredictable reputation was beginning to make it somewhat more difficult for her to find work.
Despite her hardships, the dawn of the new millennium found Dalle once again teaming with director Denis for the controversial, cannibalistic art-house thriller Trouble Every Day (2003). A dark and sexualized tale of primal urges, the film drew mixed reviews, though the interest of international audiences piqued following its much-publicized debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Maintaining her leading-woman status with such subsequent French efforts as Vendetta and The Time of the Wolf (again opposite Huppert), it seemed as if international fame might continue to elude the actress so adored in her home country.