Jean-Marc Barr (born on 27 September 1960 in Bitburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany) is a French-American film actor and director. His mother is French. His American father was in the US Air Force and served in the Second World War. Jean-Marc Barr is primarily known as an actor, but is also a film director, screenwriter and producer. Barr is bilingual in French and English: he speaks French with a nasal, hybrid accent, reminiscent of his American upbringing - with a slight American accent and occasional anglicisms in interviews - and English with a Mid-Atlantic accent.
He studied philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Paris Conservatoire and the Sorbonne. He went on to pursue an education in drama at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In London he met his future wife, a pianist and composer Irina Dečermić.
Jean-Marc Barr began working in theatre in France in 1986. After some television roles and film work, in particular, Hope and Glory (1987) by John Boorman, he was cast in the tremendously successful The Big Blue (1988). Luc Besson cast him in the role of French diver Jacques Mayol. He played in the role opposite Rosanna Arquette and Jean Reno. The Big Blue was the most financially successful film in France in the 1980s.
In 1991, he starred in Danish director Lars von Trier's Europa
, marking the beginning of a long friendship (he is the godfather of von Trier's children) as well as a significant professional relationship. He went on to appear in von Trier’s Europa
(1991), Breaking the Waves
(1996), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Dogville
(2004) and Manderlay (2005). Also in 2005 he starred in the French film Crustacés et Coquillages.
His collaboration with von Trier put him on track to start directing his own work. He debuted in 1999 as a director, screenwriter and producer with the intimate love story Lovers
. This film became the first part of a trilogy; the two subsequent parts being the drama Too Much Flesh
(2000) and the comedy Being Light
(2001) which he co-directed with Pascal Arnold.
He may also be recognized for his role as the attractive divorce lawyer, Maitre Bertram in the Merchant Ivory film le Divorce (2003). He appeared as Hugo in The Red Siren in 2002. He appeared as the main character in the video for Blur's 1995 single, "Charmless Man".