Johan Leysen, born in 1950, began his career as an actor in Belgian and Dutch theatres. He appeared in several films and met Jean-Luc Godard in 1983, who cast him as a professor in his film Je vous salue, Marie. Leysen has appeared in more than 130 films and television programmes since 1977 and has received several prizes. In 1998 he won the Golden Calf for Best Actor for his role in the film Felice...Felice.... In the 2010 film The American he appeared as Pavel, the murderer of George Clooney, and in Le tout nouveau Testament (2015) he played the husband of Catherine Deneuve. But he always remained committed to the theatre. His collaboration with directors such as Guy Cassiers, Milo Rau, Johan Simons and Heiner Goebbels made him one of the most important and prominent performing artists in Europe.