Ben Daniels

BEN DANIELS -- Augustin

British actor Ben Daniels has had roles in numerous film, television and repertory theater productions. Recently, he portrayed Tony in Hettie Macdonald’s award winning film Beautiful Thing, Leopold in Daisy Meyer's Madeline, Ben in John Madden's Truth or Dare, DJ Bob in Michael Winterbottom’s I Want You and Norman Cubit in the BBC’s television production of the "Inspector Alleyn Mysteries," also directed by Winterbottom.

Daniels’ breakthrough in television came as Roger Massi in "A Touch of Frost." He has portrayed Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet," Robin in the controversial "Lost Language of Cranes" and Alex in the award winning series "Outside Edge" - he turned down the follow-up series in order to play Augustin in Passion in the Desert.

A graduate of a three-year drama course at LAMDA, Daniels’ early theater credits include productions with many of Britain's leading repertory companies at Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Leicester.

In 1991 Daniels played Richard Loeb, the younger of the two Chicago "thrill killers" who murdered a nine-year-old boy in John Logan's factual play "Never the Sinner" at London's Playhouse theatre. His performance earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in that year's Olivier Awards and triggered offers of more work on the London stage. As a result of his portrayal of Lucky in Beckett’s "Waiting for Godot" at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1994, he was cast as Tiger in David Beaird's "900 Oneonta," at The Old Vic. His performance earned a Best Actor nomination in that year’s Evening Standard Awards. Most recently Ben has been starring opposite Juliette Binoche in Jonathan Kent's acclaimed production of "Naked" at London's Almeida Theatre.

MICHEL PICCOLI -- Venture

Master screen actor Michel Piccoli is perhaps best known for a succession of roles with the legendary director Luis Buñuel, beginning with Buñuel’s La Mort en ce Jardin in 1956. Born in Paris to a pianist and a violinist who raised their son to appreciate the arts, Piccoli first entered the theater after leaving school in 1948. He met considerable success as an actor but when Buñuel offered Piccoli repeated opportunities, Piccoli’s agent told him he would never be a star if he continued playing small parts for the maverick Spanish director. Piccoli stayed with the director and fired the agent.

Piccoli has won international acclaim for his work with Buñuel — including in Belle de Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie — as well as with other great directors, including Jean-Luc Godard (Le Mépris/Contempt, Passion), Jean Renoir (Only the French Can, Diary of a Chambermaid), Claude Chabrol (Ten Days’ Wonder), Bertrand Tavernier (Spoiled Children), Alain Resnais (La Guerre Est Finie/The War Is Over), Louis Malle (Atlantic City, May Fools) and Alfred Hitchcock (Topaz). In his most recent acting success, Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse, Piccoli gave a towering performance as an artist obsessed with a young model, played by Emmanuelle Beart.

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