April 14, 1973
Suresnes, Hauts-de-Seine, France
French filmmaker Olivier Nakache was best known in America for co-directing the comedy "The Intouchables" (2011). Growing up in the suburban area of Suresnes, France, Nakache came from a family in which movies were a common thread. Nakache was fascinated by American filmmakers like Woody Allen, while his sister, Geraldine Nakache, was developing a love of acting that would propel her to one day become a film actor. During his teens, Nakache took a job as a counselor at a summer camp, where he struck up a friendship with another young film buff who was also working there, Eric Toledano. The two developed a fast friendship and soon began writing scripts together. In 1995, Nakache and Toledano brought their first vision to the screen, co-writing and co-directing the short film, "Le jour et la nuit." Three more short films followed for Nakache, one of which he co-directed with Yvon Marciano, "La part de l'ombre" (1999). The remaining two found Nakache and Toledano continuing their partnership, with 2002's "Ces jours heureux" (2002) even bringing in a third collaborator whose presence would prove important for the filmmakers, actor Omar Sy. Sy would go on to appear in several of the duo's movies, though he would not appear in their first foray into feature length films, "Je préfère qu'on reste amis" (2005). That film did, however, feature the star power of popular French actor Gérard Depardieu, and was generally well received. Sy would feature prominently in Nakache and Toledano's following film, the comedy "Those Happy Days" (2006), as well as their next feature, "Tellement proches" (2009). The following year, Nakache and Toledano became inspired by a documentary about wealthy quadriplegic Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a man who developed a surprising but ultimately life saving-friendship with his caregiver, an Algerian immigrant and sometime career criminal named Abdel Yasmin Sellou. Nakache and Toledano completed a script based on Pozzo di Borgo and Sellou's story titled "The Intouchables" (2011), eventually casting Sy as a character based on Sellou and François Cluzet as a character based on Pozzo di Borgo. The film was released to rave reviews and major box office success, eventually earning over $300 million worldwide and shattering records to become one of the highest grossing films in France's cinematic history. Nakache's partnership was in some ways growing into a triumvirate, as he collaborated with both Toledano and Sy again for his next feature, "Samba" (2014).