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
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum