July 3, 1971
Known for the many films he co-wrote and co-directed with Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano was raised in the Paris suburbs, the child of Jewish Moroccan immigrants. As a youngster, Toledano developed an interest in film during his school lunch hour, which found him coming home to his parents' empty house in the middle of the day so that he could watch whatever he chose on TV. Toledano fell particularly in love with the works of Woody Allen, and as fate would have it, he soon met another burgeoning film buff who shared his appreciation of Allen's movies when he signed up to work as a counselor at a Jewish summer camp. There, he met fellow counselor Olivier Nakache, who would go on to become Toledano's directing partner. Toledano spent a year living in Israel after high school, studying Hebrew in a Meh'ina program. He would go on to obtain a DEA in political science before turning his attention to film. He and Olivier had collaborated on numerous scripts and even hosted a radio show about film together on the independent radio station Paris Pluriel, but the duo didn't produce an actual film together until they completed the short "Le jour et la nuit" (1995). They would collaborate on two more short films before releasing their first feature length effort, "Je préfère qu'on reste amis" (2005) with Gérard Depardieu. For their next movie, Toledano and Nakache brought back an actor from their short film "Ces jours heureux" (2002), Omar Sy. Sy's chemistry with the directing partners would prove just as palpable in "These Happy Days" (2006) and their next film, "Tellement proches" (2009). After viewing a documentary about the friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, and his caregiver, an Algerian immigrant and former criminal named Abdel Yasmin Sellou, Toledano and Nakache became inspired to write a feature film about the pair. The result, "The Intouchables" (2011) found Sy playing a character based on Sellou, while actor Francois Cluzet played a character based on Pozzo di Borgo. It proved to be a massive hit, grossing over $300 million and becoming one of the highest grossing films in French history. They would remain active in their working relationship with Sy on their next film as well, the comedy/drama "Samba" (2014).