• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Tahar Rahim, “The Serpent”

Actor Tahar Rahim, who grew up in an Algerian family in Belfort, in eastern France, says that from his teenage years, he was in “semi-hypnosis” whenever he was watching a movie.
“It was a teenager’s dream,” he told the HFPA of his attraction to the world of acting. “I could have wanted to be, I don’t know, maybe a soccer player, but the more I would watch movies, the more my dream of being an actor turned into a desire, and then this desire turned into a need. I needed it. My Mom, she always believed in me. She always told me, ‘Yes, it’ll happen to you. You just keep working. I know it will happen.’  She’s the one who believed in me from the beginning: she had more faith than I did.”
Passionate about the “seventh art” of cinema, he decided to study film, and in 2005, while he was still a student, released his first film, Tahar the Student, a documentary by Cyril Mennegun which featured Rahim as himself.
“I passed my exam and I worked during the summer. I had only €1,200 in my pocket and I went to Paris with only my suitcase. I stayed in a hotel room for a week. And then I started to try to make my acting career happen. I had two different jobs during the day and the night, and I would also go to my theater class. I was exhausted.”
His start as an actor began in earnest with his participation in the Canal + series, La Commune, in 2007, and a brief appearance in the film Inside by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury.
His first major role, however, was the one in which director Jacques Audiard cast him in 2009, as the petty criminal Malik El-Djebena in A Prophet. The role won him two César Awards, for Most Promising Actor and for Best Actor, a twin victory that had never before been seen in the history of this prestigious ceremony.
He made his debut on the international screen in 2011, in The Eagle, directed by Kevin Macdonald, and also starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell; in the same year, he starred in the big international production Day of the Falcon by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
In 2018, he played FBI agent Ali Soufan in the American series The Looming Tower, which examined the communication failures between the CIA and the FBI that helped lead to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
In 2019, he was part of an international cast starring in the American independent film The Kindness of Strangers by Lone Scherfig; the following year he played Mohamedou Ould Salahi in The Mauritanian, directed by Kevin Macdonald, and adapted from Salahi’s memoir Guantanamo Diary, a role which won him his first nomination for a Golden Globe Award.
It seems that Hollywood cannot get enough of the French actor: this year he has won his second Golden Globe nomination, for his role as the serial killer Charles Sobhraj in the Netflix series The Serpent.
“I don’t have any plans in my career,” Rahim says. “I just try to be consistent in all of my choices. Above all, I’m looking for something that looks different to me than what I’ve done in the past. “
It’s obvious his choices have stood him in good stead so far.