With Madame Web, in theaters Wednesday, Marvel Studios propels Tahar Rahim as a supervillain in the Spider-Man universe, a first for the Frenchman. In this blockbuster directed by S. J. Clarkson, the 42-year-old actor shares the bill with Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey), who plays Cassie, a young Manhattan paramedic troubled by visions of her future.
His destiny then clashes with that of Ezekiel Sims, a malevolent spider-man played by the Frenchman and inspired by the Spider-Man comics. A role that “appealed to the kid who is still in me,” smiles the actor, a Batman fan, in an interview with AFP. Ezekiel tracks down three teenage girls with unsuspected powers, convinced that they will be responsible for his death, while Cassie strives to protect them. “He is obsessed with destiny, with the fear of losing what he has,” analyzes the actor, who played French serial killer Charles Sobhraj in the Netflix series The Serpent in 2021.
Also read Charles Sobhraj, known as “the Serpent”: the macabre journey of a serial killer
Few lines to credit him in the 1h57 film, but a slew of acrobatics for the actor, unfamiliar with the green screen and special effects. “I like to explore different genres of cinema [...] My curiosity was so great to know how these films are made”, indicates the one who was revealed by Jacques Audiard in 2009 in Un Prophète, which earned him the César for best actor. Four to six workouts per week for three months: the recipe for acquiring a “very dry and supple” body, “which looks more like a spider than a very strong character.”
From maddeningly thin in Designated Guilty, where he plays a Guantanamo prisoner, to a 1970s bodybuilder's body in The Serpent, the native of Belfort is used to physical transformations. He conquered Hollywood with Designated Guilty, which earned him a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination in 2021, before starring in Ridley Scott's Napoleon.
But he has also been offered a lot, in the United States as in Europe, to “play the Arab on duty, the terrorist”, he complained to the JDD in 2021. Other actors from France have also put a foot in the world of American superheroes like Omar Sy. After Venom (2018 and 2021) and Morbius (2022), Madame Web is the fourth opus of the franchise centered on the universe of the spider superhero, six months before the release of Kraven the Hunter. In November, Tahar Rahim will play Charles Aznavour in a biopic dedicated to the legend of French song, who died five years ago