Jim Broadbent is one of those ubiquitous British actors whose face you'd recognize long before you knew his name. I first spotted him as Dr. Jaffe, the quack plastic surgeon in Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" (1985), but others will recall the small parts he played in cult TV show "Blackadder," and the art-house hit "The Crying Game," and his roles as Professor Horace Slughorn in the "Harry Potter" series, Harold Zidler in "Moulin Rouge!," Boss Tweed in "Gangs of New York" or the heroine's father in "Bridget Jones's Diary."

Then, of course, there is his best supporting actor Oscar for "Iris" (2001) and his many acclaimed films with director Mike Leigh, including "Life is Sweet" and "Topsy-Turvy." Broadbent seems to have worked with everyone at one point or another, with a filmography as long as a Norwegian winter.

His latest, "Le Week-End," is a sharp romantic comedy about a long-married couple trying to revive their feelings for each other on a holiday in Paris. It is a rare top billing for the 65-year-old veteran. Read any profile of Broadbent and the term you invariably see is "character actor" — a stereotype which earns an actor varied and frequent work, but few traditional leading-man roles.