Page 3 Profile: Frederic Bourdin, serial imposter

 

The human chameleon?

Exactly right. Born in Paris to a French mother and Algerian father, Bourdin was a runaway who used different identities to escape life in juvenile homes. He gained notoriety, and became known to police as the Chameleon.

His most famous disguise came in 1997, three years after the disappearance of 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay in Texas. Although he had darker skin, different coloured eyes and a French accent, the missing boy's parents believed Bourdin's story and flew him to their family home. A private detective wasn't so convinced, and in 1998 Bourdin was sentenced to six years in prison. He was later deported back to France.

Sounds like the plot of a film

Quite. British director Bart Layton created The Imposter, which garnered praise at the Sundance Festival and has been given a host of five-star reviews ahead of its release in cinemas tomorrow. But Bourdin isn't happy, and launched into a rant on Twitter.

"They are magnifying my life and actions. Why won't they leave me alone," he said, dismissing the film as "British sensationalism" and those involved as "British scums". He alleges the film portrayed him as a "cold snake", when in fact he only impersonated people to become part of a loving family.

What does the director say?

He is a little nonplussed, as Bourdin hasn't actually seen the film. "If he'd seen the film and felt it was inaccurate or had twisted his words I'd listen to those accusations," said Layton. "I don't know what he's so furious about. Many viewers don't believe he comes across that badly." The filmmaker went on to describe Bourdin as a "compelling" but "disquieting" man who "would have been a brilliant actor" had he used his unique skills differently.

Are Bourdin's days in disguise over?

He claims they are. It would certainly be incredibly difficult for the 38-year-old to once again attempt to impersonate a teenager.

He has his own family now. He met his wife Isabelle in 2006, and they married a year later. They live with their three children near Le Mans in the Loire Valley.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine