Audrey Tautou, is a French film actress, known to worldwide audiences for playing the title character in the award-winning film Amélie (2001, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) and also Sophie Neveu in The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Tautou was born in the Puy-de-Dôme département of Auvergne, and was raised in Montluçon in the nearby Allier, still in Auvergne. Her father is a dental surgeon and her mother is a teacher. She has a younger brother and two younger sisters. Tautou showed an interest in comedy at an early age and started her acting lessons at the Cours Florent. This theatrical institution is highly prestigious and she is one of several famous actors to have passed through its doors (others including Muriel Robin, Daniel Auteuil and Guillaume Canet). Nonetheless, she continued the course and came out at the end and went on to star in some of French cinema's biggest and most famous films.
Tautou has said that Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Juliette Lewis, Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore are her acting idols. In 1998, Tautou participated in a Star Search-like competition sponsored by Canal+ called "Jeunes Premiers" (The Young Debut) and won Best Young Actress at the 9th Béziers Festival of Young Actors. Then, she came to the attention of Tonie Marshall, who gave her a role in the César-winning Venus Beauty Institute (1999, aka Vénus beauté (institut)). In 2000 , she won the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti as her country's most promising young film actress.
Already well-known in France for her work in Venus Beauty Institute, in 2001 Tautou rose to international fame for her performance as the eccentric Amélie in the romantic French comedy Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. In June 2004 she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). She accepted the invitation and is still a member as of September 1, 2006.
In 2005, Tautou worked in her first full Hollywood production, opposite Tom Hanks, in the film version of Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard and released in May 2006.
Her favourite authors are Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, Paul Auster, and Timothy Zahn; and her favourite poets are Charles Baudelaire and Tristan Tzara.