Jean Dujardin’s Funny or Die video works on multiple levels

Watch The Artist’s Jean Dujardin Audition for the Villain in Every Hollywood Movie

Watch The Artist’s Jean Dujardin Audition for the Villain in Every Hollywood Movie

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Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 24 2012 5:15 PM

Did You See This? Jean Dujardin Plays Every Hollywood Villain

French actor Jean Dujardin.

Photo by DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

Previously, we speculated that the reason Jean Dujardin’s character in The Artist didn’t have a future in talkies was his thick French accent. There’s been some debate about this (see the comments below that post); whatever the case, Dujardin himself clearly has a sense of humor about his (intentionally?) awkward English. As Dana Stevens just mentioned in Slate’s Oscar roundtable, the actor recently made a video for Funny Or Die in which he pokes fun at his own accent—along with about 50 other things:

The video works on multiple levels: It parallels the plot of The Artist (a successful actor attempts to energize his career by trying something new); it mocks the (unfortunately often true) stereotype that the only roles for European actors in Hollywood are as action villains; and it mocks the generally terrible dialogue of action movies, especially action sequels (“Game over, Lisbeth Salander; your dragon tattoo cannot save you now”).


But it also subverts the idea that action roles are always one-dimensional. Even though it’s in the service of humor, Dujardin shows off some serious acting chops here and injects a surprising amount of variation and emotional depth into his split-second fake audition tapes. Here’s hoping Funny or Die is right, and Dujardin has a long Hollywood career in front of him. (Here’s also hoping he gets some decent scripts.)

L.V. Anderson is a former Slate associate editor.