The 50 most influential French people in the world in 2021

Playwright and director, 42 years old

How proud we were in the early morning of April 26, 2021 to learn that one of our own had lived, in videoconference and in a tuxedo, a waking dream: over there in America, the world of show business had just discovered his talent in the Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Father. We were wrong … a little: the author was not a stranger in Los Angeles. Nor on Broadway. Neither in Berlin or Dublin. Neither in Japan or in Israel. Not even in Hawaii. It’s quite simple: he is the most performed living French author in the world. The most selected also among the local equivalents of our Molière, from the English Laurence Olivier Awards to the Brazilian Aplauso Awards.

Since his plays have toured on five continents, the press has praised him in all languages. For the British daily The Guardian, he is downright “the most fascinating playwright of our time”. From its first creation, The other, at the Théâtre des Mathurins, the critics were not mistaken. “His text does not contain one word too many, nothing which is not active and effective”, wrote Jacques Nerson in The Obs while Jérôme Garcin compared his delicacy to that of Claude Sautet. It was in 2004, three years and already three books – including one crowned with the Interallié Prize – after graduating from Sciences Po. Following this first attempt, the pieces followed one another at an almost annual rate, each dealing with a contemporary and universal problem: infidelity in The truth, empty nest syndrome in The mother (embodied in Paris by Catherine Hiegel and in New York, in English, by Isabelle Huppert), Alzheimer’s disease in The father, teenage depression in The son

When you were a writer at 22, playwright at 25, lyricist – for an album by Christophe – at 30, what remains to be done at the dawn of your forties? A movie. “It seemed to me that the cinema could bring a sensory dimension to my piece The father, he explains. I wanted the viewer to be as confused as the hero, not to know if what he sees on the screen is real or not. As a teenager, Florian had been dazzled by Gérard Depardieu in Cyrano. As an adult, he quickly understood all he owed to actors. Yes The father Since 2012 has been such a success on stage, it is evidently thanks to the masterful performance of Robert Hirsch, 87 years old at the time. “For the film, I absolutely wanted Anthony Hopkins, whose mastery and power make him, in my opinion, the best actor in the world. Well felt. The English actor won the second Oscar of his career after that of 1992 in The Silence of the Lambs. “And a very emotional adventure was born”, specifies Florian Zeller who, suddenly, created a character especially for him, a small role this time, in his second film. The Son, adaptation of Son, with Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern. Currently in editing, the feature film should be released in the fall of 2022. Already sold worldwide, it was the stake of one of the most important transactions of the 2021 film market in Cannes.

CEO of Moderna, 49

In the fall of 2020, we wrote about this Marseillais who had promised President Trump to manufacture an anti-covid-19 vaccine in a few weeks: “If his teams find the miracle cure, we will sing his praises for decades. Otherwise, he risks going down in history as a formidable hoaxer. Fortunately, the first hypothesis was correct. This Centrale and Harvard graduate, who in 2011 hesitated before joining a gang of mad scientists in Massachusetts obsessed with the potential of messenger RNA, is now at the head of a company valued in the 110 billion euros, of which he personally owns 8%. Asked about the evolution of the pandemic in the world, he believes that it will be stopped in September 2022. Hopefully he is right again.

Curator, 55

It took more than two centuries to achieve this: since September, the largest museum in the world has been run by a woman. This specialist in the art of the XIXe and the beginning of the XXe century started the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2017, then chaired the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie. With the Louvre, it goes up a notch: the establishment employs 2,000 people and welcomes 10 million visitors per year (excluding confinement, of course). Living proof that one can descend from a large family of French nobility, the Perusses des Cars, and be in tune with the times, the granddaughter of Guy des Cars (prolific bestselling author) is a fan of Bowie and is interested in digital art. From the Louvre, she wants to make, she says, a “universal, contemporary museum to help understand what is happening in our time”.

Actor, 43 years old

His infectious laugh, recognizable among a thousand, and his crazy charm could only seduce the United States. The second most appreciated personality of the French, behind the indestructible Jean-Jacques Goldman, is today the darling of the Americans, who had discovered him in Untouchables – success of French cinema abroad in 2011 – and adore it in Lupine, one of the most watched series on Netflix in 2021. Driven by this success, the former acolyte of Fred Testot on Canal + has just signed a golden contract with the streaming platform, for which he will be an actor and producer. Hitherto loyal supporting role in Hollywood blockbusters, alongside Chris Pratt in Jurassic World or Bradley Cooper in Raw !, he is now guaranteed to have the first.

Footballer, 33 years old

Years, in our opinion, that he deserves the Golden Ball. “In the field,” he said, “you have to know how to wait for the right moment. In life, too, he had to be patient. Because despite his prowess at Real Madrid, Didier Deschamps took six years to forgive him his youthful stupidities – the case of Mathieu Valbuena’s sextape – and to reinstate him in the French team for the Euro. But its remounted, he signed it in October during the final of the League of Nations against Spain thanks to a left-footed shot hailed by the international press: “Masterpiece”, “Amazing goal”, “Gol straordinario”, and we pass. At 33, it was his 33e goal in blue. Already omen fans note that the day after the World Cup final in Qatar, December 18, 2022, the striker will celebrate his 35th birthday.

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The 50 most influential French people in the world in 2021