A wiry and diminutive French character actor with large, expressive eyes, Denis Podalydès spent much of his prolific career traversing the fringes of indie cinema before snagging several major film roles. Originally hailing from the stage, where he's since become a time-honored member of the vaunted Comédie-Française, he jumped headlong into films in the late 1980s and became a peripheral fixture of the subsequent two decades' influx of hip and sometimes outré French relationship comedies. In addition to appearing in the ensembles of films such as the tapestried love story "My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument," he's delivered several endearing if little-seen lead performances in quirky character studies directed by his brother, Bruno Podalydès, including the comedy of romantic indecisiveness "Only God Sees Me." His profile was raised considerably, however, when he co-starred as a wounded soldier in the lyrically haunting "The Officer's Ward" and as a freewheeling 1940s-era screenwriter in the exceptionally insightful "Safe Conduct" (2002). The two critically acclaimed wartime dramas paved the way for supporting parts in such international crossover smashes as the crackerjack domestic thriller "Caché" and the mystery-shrouded American adventure "The Da Vinci Code" ('06). Ever since, Podalydès has worked at an incredible rate of several films per year, continuing to crop up in dozens of offbeat love stories while garnering starring roles in such ambitious projects as "The Conquest," a probing examination of French president Nicolas Sarkozy's rise to power.