Anne Parillaud (French pronunciation: ; born 6 May 1960) is a French actress who has been active since 1977. She is best known internationally for playing the title character in Luc Besson's film La Femme Nikita.
Parillaud was born in Paris, France. While in school she studied ballet and her ambition was to become a lawyer, but a role during summer vacation – when she was only 16 – in Michel Lang's L'hôtel de la plage (1978) launched her into the world of film. She had a three-year relationship with actor Alain Delon and co-starred with him in his only two films as director, Pour la peau d'un flic (1981) and Le Battant (1983). She then met director Luc Besson and married him in 1986, but the couple separated shortly after he directed her in La Femme Nikita. La Femme Nikita was an especially intense experience for Parillaud:
"For a while, she was in me like a demon. I would do things I normally would not do. She was awkward, depressed, full of despair. But to me there was also a spiritual underline to Nikita. In a very excessive way, she is a loudspeaker of the youth of society today. She destroys herself because she doesn't believe in anything on Earth." In preparation for the role, she underwent three months of judo lessons and target practice to hone her skills as a government assassin: "I hate guns, I hate violence, I hate judo." Her early ballet training also came in handy for one amusing scene though she modestly downplays her physical gifts, saying only, "I have a chewing gum kind of body. I just forget about the bones." Despite the glamour and danger of her character, Parillaud cautions, "It never happens to me, this kind of story."