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in Interviews / 05.03.2020

Interview with Franck Dubosc: “Real happiness is often right within our reach.”

On the occasion of launching the comedy 10 Days Without Mum we publish an interview with actor Franck Dubosc.

Franck Dubosc was born on November 7, 1963 in Le Petit-Quevilly, Seine-Maritime, France.

He is an actor and writer, known for Rolling to You (2018), Camping (2006) and Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008). He has been married to Danièle since June 19, 2009. They have one child.

This week he can be seen in cinemas in Romania and Hungary in the comedy 10 Days Without Mum, distributed by Prorom.

What drew you in when you first read the script of 10 Days Without Mum?
Since this is a remake, I was able to see the original Argentinian film before reading the new script. It's a rare luxury to be able to see a finished product first, and get a sense of the project, then rediscover it anew as a new script for a French audience. This role of present-yet-absent father, who has many scenes with his children, was very appealing to me. Beyond the humor and the comedy, there is a sensibility, a dose of reality that I can relate to as a father in terms of how we see our kids or fail to see them.

Ludovic Bernard says he could only see you in this role. Did you feel like you had to seize this opportunity, and if so, why?
Let's just say that it corresponded perfectly to my wishes to act in films that are funny yet anchored in reality. I had seen The Climb and In Your Hands, two features directed by Ludovic, and I really wanted to work with him.

How would you describe your character, Antoine?
He represents a lot of men. He is selfish and career-driven; both usually go hand in hand. But he has blinders on. He is completely missing what's essential in his life, but in order to realize that his children are essential to his existence, he needs to see them—but he doesn't even look.

How did you shape the character?
I went with the flow. Everything was written, well written. The only difficulty was to go searching within yourself around children who are not your own and give them tenderness and love that appears credible. It's almost more indecent than a love scene with an actress who is not your wife. You keep having to tell yourself that this is just cinema, but the young ones don't really differentiate between fiction and reality.

You’re a father and must often be absent because of your roles in the theatre and on screen. What port of you did you bring to this role?
I have a profession that is extremely engaging, and I've tended to put my career before my children. My field will forget me long before they will; I know that now. To me, this film was a bit like therapy. When women don't work, men tend to tell them that they are free to do whatever they want once the kids have been dropped off at school. They don't realize the workload involved. Since the shoot, I never tell my wife that her days are easy even if she takes care of our two sons. In fact, she has seen 10 Days Without Mum and every time she tells me, "be careful, that's you in the film, that's honestly how you tend to be in real life."

What kind of notes did he give you?
He sometimes helped me simplify certain things in order to stay true to the character. We had many discussions and I trusted him completely. I didn't want him to be a customer of what I can do from a comedy standpoint. But, more and more, I'm forgetting how to be Franck Dubosc when I play in a movie.

Was it frightening to have dialogues with four children?
On the contrary. I have worked with kids a lot and I love it, because they don't cheat. The difficulty lies in being real around them, because you can't fake anything with them. Working with the youngest one was a bit more complicated. I had to win his affections, then be patient. He was the one calling the shots.

What do you think of the actresses you worked with, Aure Atiko and Alice David?
I knew Aure because we had appeared together in Traffic Peddling by Dominique Farrugia twenty years ago. I met Alice David for the first time. They are beautiful women, incredible actresses, and exceptional colleagues—what more is there to say? We collaborated with ease, with no complications. Compared to my character, they are obviously on a moral high ground. In fact, I would say that this is rightfully so, and that women will really relate to this film. And it would be good for men to question their own lives and realize that they are probably far less complicated. The role of men and fathers today is different than in prior generations. And it's for the best.

Would you say that the moral of the film is that women make men better?
I don't know if that's the takeaway of the film, but it's the truth. I would say that the moral is that one should look at what's right in front of them rather than seeking something far off. Real happiness is often right within our reach.




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in Interviews / 26.02.2020

Interview With Director Ludovic Bernard: “10 Days Without Mum it's absolutely a family comedy”

On the occasion of launching the comedy 10 days without Mum we publish an interview with director Ludovic Bernard, known for The Climb, Mission Pays Basque and In Your Hands.
10 days without Mum opens February 28th in theaters in Romania and Hungary, distributed by Prorom.

What sparked the idea for 10 Days Without Mum?
It's actually a remake of an Argentinian film. Romain Brémond and Daniel Preljocaj, my producers, loved it and thought I might be interested. I immediately fell in love with the story, which was very funny but had an emotional core, even a bit of gravity, which I found interesting. Those are the ingredients I like to see in a comedy. Even though I'm fond of jokes and comical situations, I like for there to be something else between the lines. Here, it's about a man's redemption, a father's redemption. Will he be capable of change, and to really take care of his loved ones?

Is there anything personal that appealed to you?
The story impacted me because I'm the father of two daughters, one of whom is similar to Chloé, one of the characters in the film. I'm well aware of how much I've worked and travelled the last few years. Yes, I've been absent, and thankfully my wife was there to find solutions for every little thing that comes up day after day. And I sometimes had to make up for lost time. That's also the reason I wanted to invest myself fully in this project.

How did you modify the original script?
With my co-screenwriter Mathieu Ouillon, we worked to adapt it to French culture, to the habits and mannerisms of French children and teenagers, which are not always the same as in Argentina. Other than that, in the roles of the mother and father, there were a lot of universal things we chose to keep. It's a universal subject.

Is it fair to say that it’s a family comedy about family issues?
It's absolutely a family comedy. The story takes place in the south of France, in a typical large family in which there's no cheating, no fighting, and a lot of love. But the father is too preoccupied by his work and because of this, he overlooks all kinds of small things that are important to his children. He overlooks his children because of his job. He hasn't really seen them grow up. He doesn't know them, really. What the movie highlights is the absence of this father, despite his physical presence, as well as a lack of paternal structure and authority. Children need love as well as guidance.

So, the title, 10 Days Without Mum, is meant to make us wonder how the father is going to manage in her absence?
Exactly. Isabelle, his wife, decided years before to quit her i b as a lawyer in order to take care of four children and her husband, which is basically like running a small company. When she decides to take a vacation on her own, because she's tired of being invisible, he must manage all the things he's never taken care of. I know how much work that entails.

The film deals with the dynamics of a family, as well as the dynamics of a couple...
The character of Antoine and his wife Isabelle have a bit of an outdated relationship—the man works, the woman stays at home... This has totally evolved, thankfully. I would say this is an old formula, that of the previous generation, our parents' generation, but it's nonetheless what Antoine represents at the beginning of the film. So, he has a long way to go.

Isabelle seems to be the pillar of this family. She handles all day-to-day responsibilities, as well as her husband's contracts... Wouldn't you say she is a bit exploited?
She's more the problem solver. She's the mother who knows all, iust like in a lot of families, and who manages to handle everything without getting overwhelmed. Whereas a father, if he's preoccupied with something, will often postpone things, and answer with "not now, come back in 10 minutes, let's see tomorrow". The more you defer the answers to children's question, and fail to sort anything out, the more your risk losing them. You shouldn't minimize their questions. What might appear insignificant to us in the moment is often crucial in their eyes. Plus, concerning the dynamics at the heart of this family, I started thinking about Freud's claim that parents are like a bone that children chew on, which I always found very funny.

How did you select Aure Atiko for Isabelle's character, this mother who,  at  the beginning of the film, seems to swim in a sea of domestic bliss, and has a saintliness about her?
I wanted this woman to be loved and beyond reproach, so that you couldn't |udge her for leaving her home or think that she was abandoning her family. On the contrary, I wanted the audience to think "break free and let them figure it out for once." I liked Aure immediately. Other than the fact that she's beautiful and talented, she has this smile and this benevolence in her that legitimizes the character's choices.

Children play an important role in the film. How did you pick them?
It was a long casting process during which we saw many children from different age groups. We gravitated towards those who were comfortable in front of the camera and around adult actors, and who also understood the emotional content we were asking of them. Evan Paturel who plays Jojo, 2 years old, was a natural fit. I was committed to working with someone that age despite the problems it poses, because he doesn't speak very well yet and Antoine is the only one who doesn't understand him, which is a sign that he doesn't pay attention to him. Secondly, Violette Guillon who plays Chloe, age 12, was incredible during auditions. The choice of Swann Joulin for the role of Arthur, age 14, and llan Debrabant for Maxime, age 8, eventually fell into place. It became clear, when we took family photos with the four of them, that they created a beautiful family with Aure and Franck. The family ties seemed completely credible.

And how did things shake out with them?
Let's just say it was a matter of patience. You must learn to wait and wait, and not to give up on anything even on days that are jam-packed. Especially with the little one, whose desires didn't always line up with ours. Evan is a brilliant child but, on some days, he didn't feel like dressing up or participating in the film. Small children don't deliver the script on cue. If they say the line at all, they'll speak a little bit before or after the ideal tempo. Basically, they do what they want and there are a lot of unknowns to balance. That back and forth with adult actors can be complicated. I couldn't have done it alone. There were days where I wanted to pull out my hair, but Franck was an incredible partner to have, always patient and amused—a wonderful set dad who was incredibly patient with the children, even when he felt discombobulated. And honestly, I sometimes took advantage of his desperation and left the camera rolling. This obviously worked with his character as an overwhelmed father.

Antoine gets swept up in a series of hilarious domestic catastrophes that he doesn't seem to be able to contain. How did you envision these scenes?
Like pure action scenes, with the rhythm of the Home Alone anthology. As soon as the mother leaves, it's a complete disaster, a jungle with no rules. I wanted things to move in a crescendo, with the camera following each movement, and for it to go in every direction and leave you gasping for breath.

Why did you go with Franck Dubosc for Antoine's character?
When I saw the South American version of the film, I immediately thought of Franck for the role of the father. It had to be him and no one else. I was really moved by the film he directed, Rolling to You. I found it beautiful, subtle, and intelligent despite being built around a risky subject. And it seemed to me he wanted something more than a slapstick role, even though I am totally on board with that. But I felt it was good for him to show another facet of his personality, a softer, more reserved, emotional side that is about expressing your feelings, which he hasn't done much before. This is what we looked for together, while making sure not to eradicate his incredible range as a comedian. Franck blew me away with the range of his acting. He manages to make this lost, indefensible character both likeable and charismatic. All I want is to make another movie with him.

Antoine works in human resources but knows nothing about his four children. He thinks more about climbing the social ladder than raising his children. But isn't he a bit of a child himself?
He is, within the family dynamic. His wife mothers him. When he's at home, Antoine lets himself get taken care of. Outside of the home, he is obsessed with the promotion that he has been waiting on for several years. You can't fault him for that; it's understandable. However, it is true that the relationship he has with his rival, played by Alexis Michalik, could also seem childish. They often act like kids on a playground, showing off their muscles, trying to see who comes out on top. Which is something that, it seems to me, happens in some companies.

Their rivalry brings about on unbelievable scene around the loyoff of a warehouse worker, played by Alice David.
Yes, it's a pissing match, a display of power in order to be recognized, which makes them look completely ridiculous and brings them to fire this young woman for stealing three screws. Even if we are exaggerating a bit for comic effect, I still feel like reality isn't too far off. I recently heard that a cashier lost her job for a mistake in her tally totalling 24 cents. It's iust as ridiculous and absolutely tragic.

The character played by Alice David, Julia, is important. She comes to Antoine’s rescue without knowing he led to her demise. Is she the voice of reason?
When he tells her that in his world, people shouldn't steal, she responds that in hers, people should take care of their kids. She triggers something; she makes Antoine face his responsibilities. Alice immediately understood the subtleties in her script. She has several scenes face to face with Franck, with a lot of dialogue, different emotions to communicate, and she placed the bar high. Thanks to these two actors at the top of their game, this resulted in scenes I'm very proud of.

The women in the film, in fact, are all the "good guys". Is this intentional?
Completely intentional. I wanted to show that mothers, hence women, generally have a better perspective on how to approach life.

What does this movie hove in common with your first three films? Aren't they all about men who ore changed because of love?
Antoine does change. As he becomes able, again, to show his children love, he transforms them as well. I've always told stories in which notions of transformation hold an important place because they allow protagonists who start off on the wrong foot to find their way towards a new life. But I had never thought about it in this way and you are indeed correct: women help elevate men. That I firmly believe.




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in Interviews / 07.02.2020

Exclusive interview with Iulian Grigoriu: “Latte is a feel good movie, about friendship in the first place”

This weekend, Latte and the Magic Waterstone (directed by Mimi Maynard, Regina Welker) arrives in cinemas in Romania. On this occasion, we bring you an exclusive interview with Iulian Grigoriu, the Romanian who was animation director for this film.

How did you get to do what you do now? Working in this area of animation?
I always wanted to make cartoons. When I was a kid, on Saturdays, at the end of school, I was running home to see final minutes from the Gala Desenului Animat  (Cartoon Gala – a famous Romanian show in th '90s). Then they took me to the Doina cinema. (in the past a famous Romanian cinema where they running only family films and animations). It was like I arrived in the cartoon country.

They had wallpapers of animals from the jungle on the walls, it was a small room and somehow intimate, weekly program where you could find full-length movies that you would see on TV only in the parts of a few minutes a week. What can I say? It was fantastic!

I've been drawing since I was little, and even tried to be a serious artist and to focus on things with more weight, respectable but I failed. When I entered the high school of arts and saw that they had the animation section I had no doubt. I didn't have to choose between sections. Things were no longer the same at the academy where there was no animation section.

Animation was not an art there, so I choose graphics and painting which was very useful to me later. But not to dramatize. I had a nice chance to work at Animafilm since I was in high school. That was practically the time when I was really inoculated with the animation virus and I say this because during my student years I tried to do other jobs but I always went back to animation.

A friend of mine, Olimp Bandalac told me: "Once you have got the animation virus you will not escape". And so it is for most of us.

Then I worked through almost all the studios in Bucharest in the '90s. But as I was young, inexperienced, those years were pretty gray. In the late 90's, after finishing college, I went to Hungary and that was it. After a year my girlfriend from then came with me. She became my wife after a few years.

What does the job of animation director and supervisor mean?
This position is a very responsible one and quite difficult from several points of view. Job descriptions can be found on the net but I tell you what it means to me and how I relate to this position. First of all you have to be an animator yourself. Only this way you can help where it is needed.

Every time I start a new movie I try to document myself as much as possible. What is the original story behind the script. Who are my directors, possibly the producers. After that I try to understand as best I can the script and the characters in the film. The deeper I get into the story, the better I realize the subtleties and layers of the film.

From here I start to have discussions with the director (the directors in this case of Latte) and to deepen the story and the characters. What kind of acting we need, as well as in what sense to exaggerate etc. Once it is clear to me what the directors want, I start working on the animation style, find a rhythm of the film, look for references by actors to help the animator understand the character.

Many times I even make a database representing what kind of expressions should be used and the limits of deformations. I can usually select the team after tests or portfolios. Once the team or teams are chosen, I usually do an acting workshop on the characters in the movie. I'm trying to make the animators understand why character X is moving like this and why it has to be different from other characters.

How a character evolves during the film and how important it is to animate as much as needed and where needed. Only then do I begin to talk about each sequence and each scene. If the animation is not correct I send additional drawings to the frame where something needs to be changed. As a simple supervisor the work is a little simpler, having to follow the instructions of the animation director.

How long have you been working as animation director and supervisor?
I think I started in 2009 or 2010 with a famous series in Germany. A production for preschoolers called Kikaninchen, a position assumed by Anca starting with season 2, becoming "kikaninchen's mother" over a few years.That's how they called it in Mitteldeutsche Zeitung in an article about the series. In the meantime, I started working on the first feature film as animation director in Belgium.

There I had the “baptism of fire”. We were working on a big film, produced in Paris and we had to send weekly a fixed number of seconds to a quality that we had not worked before. I learned a lot and realized that I still have a lot of work to do. It was a good school.

I know that before you settled in Germany you had a period when you also worked in Hungary? How was that experience?
In Hungary were the years of my growing up professionally or at least the beginning of them. We went through some experiences and we had the chance to qualify professionally, being forced to keep the deadlines, doing a large volume of animation and doing many tests. It was a good school.

You have worked on many successful animated films. What project do you keep closely to your heart and why?
I can't say I liked one movie... it's like asking a parent which of the children is dearer to him. I mean a good parent :-) Each production is different, and has its problems and solutions. Teams often differ completely. For example, now we are working on a new film by Enzo Dálo. For me 90-95% of the team is new. We will have first and foremost many young animators who will need a lot of advice. It will be fun and very interesting of course but it will be also a new adventure from which I will learn a lot.

Who has influenced you the most in your career?
Work in the studio. I learned a lot by watching a lot of movies and here I mention that not only animation and not only American. I read a lot and try to document myself a lot. BUT! I happen to work with people who are really big names in the field and and I can learn a lot from them.

I learned from Tahsin Özgür who animated for Disney in a few big movies. Another name that inspired me through the vitality of work and professionalism is Jesper Moller and in the last year and something I have worked and still work with Daniel St. Pierre from which I learned many details that you can not find in books. Of course, I learned something from each film I worked on and there are several names that influenced my evolution whether or not I was aware of it.

How much does working on a European animation differ from one for a larger studio? The difference is only about money, or also involves more special technology?
This is a good question :-) First and foremost, in Europe, there are increasingly competitive productions, by American standards. The only problem is the budget of the film. The bigger the budget, the more time you have to work on story, design, style, animation, effects, light... etc. The last film I worked on and we hope to release this year is an India-China co-production and is at a high standard. Here I worked hard on the quality of the animation and it will feel.

In 2019 you worked on the animation Latte & the Magic Waterstone as animation director. Can you tell me how you got to work on this project?
I first saw the trailer on the net. It was kind of love at first sight. I knew I could do a lot with a character like Latte. About 7-8 months, when I was approaching the final production of that time (Marnie’s World or Spy Cat) I announced online that I will be free of contract.

Then I received an email from a Belgian colleague from the production company if it is ok to recommend me to the German producer of Latte Igel. Do you realize that I was flying on a cloud and seeing the city from above :-) I said yes, I was contacted and that was it.

How did you work with directors Regina Welker and Nina Wels?
The collaboration with these two beautiful ladies was extraordinary. And I'm not exaggerating. I anchored Latte's acting based on the personality or the way Regina moves. The funny thing is that she says she moves the same way I do but you should see her. He is an animated character full of energy and humor.

After we had our first Skype talk, I was a little scared that we didn't quite understand about the message of the movie. That was my impression and I don't think it was that way, but I'm an emotional guy, so I belived that.

It was only when we met face-to-face in the studio I realized how they are and what they want… we started to know each other and actually worked on the construction of the film. We made many ideas exchanges and sometimes we argued about things, but in a constructive way, and all of that practically served to raise the quality of the film.

Nina helped me a lot with the team from Ludwigsburg and Halle / Saale, I also had to work in India. We had a total of 4 teams and fortunately all were talented and motivated.

Prorom will release on February 7 in Romanian cinemas Latte & the Magic Waterstone. Do you have a special message for the spectators who are going to see it?
Latte
is a feel good movie, about friendship in the first place. You may be surprised that the story will catch you and you won't know when the time has passed. I just hope you like it as much as we liked to create it and bring it to the cinema. I look forward to the reaction of the Romanian audience.

Interview by Emanuel Lăzărescu.




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in Interviews / 06.11.2019

Interview with Chantal Ladesou: “I reserve my extravagance for the stage, which is the only place I allow myself to do nearly anything”

On the occasion of the premiere of the comedy Who's that Granny we publish an interview with the actress Chantal Ladesou (grandmother Aurore in the movie) and we invite you to the cinemas from November 8th to see the comedy in which she plays the main role!

In Who’s that Granny, the team behind the success We are Family is back for a new comic adventure!

After two years of living together as a happy family in their own apartment, the patchwork bunch of seven half-sisters and half-brothers are forced to split up and move out.

They reluctantly go their separate ways for summer vacation. But when little Gulliver gets sent alone to his eccentric Grandma Aurore, known for her penchant to party and zero parenting skills, the kids take matters into their own hands: they all show up at her house for the summer!

Life with Granny Aurore is anything but ordinary. She doesn’t cook, she goes out clubbing every night and never gets up before 2:00 pm. Looks like they’ve got to teach Aurore how to be a real grandmother. It’s a tough mission to take on, because Granny Aurore is a real tornado of energy and extravagance. But honestly, a grandma who can also be your best friend, doesn’t that sound like a dream?

In We are Family, the children were the ones who called all the shots. Did you expect the sequel to hand over that role to their "granny", meaning you?  
Chantal Ladesou:  I was totally surprised. Gaby (the director, Gabriel Julien-Laferrière) hinted to me that my role would be bigger this time, but not to the point of becoming the film's main character and having the honor of being in the title! When he had me read his new script, of course I was wildly happy about it! Not because "Granny" had snatched the star role from the kids, but because I got to play her again, and this time with the opportunity of fully exploring her imagination and complexity. And I also have to admit, it was the first time anyone offered me the lead role in a film. After about thirty films playing supporting roles, my little acting ego got a great boost!

Did the responsibility of taking on the title role of a movie frighten you?
If I had parachuted from out of nowhere, into totally foreign territory, I probably would have really flipped out. But in this case, since I already knew the crew and my character, everything was smooth and easy. I took being promoted to this "granny" as a stroke of luck. I don't get to have that much fun with a character in a movie very often.   

Why did you say yes to being in the first film of this adventure?  
I loved the story of this separated and remixed family. At first sight, everyone blended together in a pretty random way, as emotional impulses surfaced. The screenplay was well-structured, and at the same time funny, looney, empathetic and warm, just like a lot of "Benetton" families I know! What I also liked about it is the way it turned the world upside down:  faced with the adolescent immaturity of their parents, the children were the ones who took control and decided to live together in the same apartment. In the middle of that joyful bazaar, my eccentric granny character delighted me. The part wasn't very big, but I liked its craziness and freedom. Acting-wise, it was as great as it promised to be.  

Besides your role, what made you so thrilled about the sequel?
First, the script. Even if it doesn't have the same structure as the first film - which is actually a good thing! - I also thought it was well-constructed. At first, with all those little scenes about these blended families going to various places on vacation with their children, it seems scattered, like a patchwork, multicolored and cool. And then it gets tighter, brings together its little group and closes up like an umbrella. That "centrifugal" construction seemed to be smart as well as charming. Besides that, I was happy to get back together with that "family" of actors, adults and children alike. The adults because in addition to being "aces" on set, they are all exquisite and funny human beings. The kids because each one is endearing in their own way.

They say that acting with children can turn into a nightmare.  
It's true that it can be a hellish exercise:  children get tired fast, their powers of concentration can be short-lived, they don't always respect the "blocking" and acting can bore them quite quickly. It's very hard to get a kid motivated again when he's lagging or doesn't want to do another take.  

So it was pretty logical that when I imagined myself faced with seven kids of all different ages, no matter how much I wanted to do it, I was a little uneasy about shooting We are Family. My fears soon disappeared. All seven behaved like real pros. Gaby had done a good job getting them ready. He'd taken them all out to the countryside. Not to rehearse, just so they could get to know each other and become friends. Between the water fights, pillow fights and all the rest of the tomfoolery, night and day, it made for a pretty raucous weekend. But the seven of them had bonded. On set, coached and managed by Karin Catala, a woman who is gentle, yet energetic and motherly, not only were they extremely disciplined, they also really worked together and were very respectful of everyone. Some of them even came and asked us for bits of advice, which they followed so carefully it was touching. After shooting the first film, which had gone smoothly for the whole team, the little troop kept in touch, so getting back together for Who's That Granny?! was a real joy. The only difference was that the kids had grown up and Gulliver (Sadio Diallo) and I had been promoted!

Do you still identify with the granny you left behind two years ago?
Yes, her personality hasn't changed a bit. She is just as extravagant and independent as ever. But now that she's front and center, she progresses in plain view. Beneath her eccentricity and lifestyle, which seems so rebellious, you discover an amazingly powerful woman. Besides succeeding in bringing everyone together, she has her own special way of taking the children under her wing, helping them to break out of their cocoons and overcome their fears, which fuels that really symbolic sequence I love so much, jumping into the water from the top of the cliff. In the second film, it's not the granny who's changed, it's the children who have grown up and become even more reasonable, as well as the parents, who have become more mature as they have aged and now take their educational role more seriously.

What do you, Chantal Ladesou, have in common with this "granny"?  
A lot of things:  exuberance, joy, sarcasm, a touch of madness, the absolute necessity of feeling free, and also being sensitive and affectionate to the point of not being able to express it sometimes. The only thing we don't have in common is her promiscuity. Not only am I very prude in that respect, but I've been married for 47 years to a very jealous man who wouldn't tolerate me even lifting a finger! And that's mutual, actually! (laughs) But to get back to my granny, I'm probably a little more traditional in my daily life than she is. I dress more conservatively and my behavior is less eccentric. I reserve my extravagance for the stage, which is the only place I allow myself to do nearly anything.

Are you also the kind of actress who sticks to the script?   
In the theater, especially in my "solo shows", I like to indulge in little verbal digressions. But in films, even if I let myself go sometimes, I generally stay on track with the script, especially if the dialogue is good. For this film, as well as the previous one, I was lucky:  Gaby had tailored my dialogue for me. I had some fabulous lines, like "Don't call me granny, it gives me wrinkles!" When you have lines like that to deliver, you don't change a single comma. The comic impact they have is equivalent to a rocket ship!

For you, what's the difference between acting for theater and film?
In theater, there is immediacy. You can't go back, so too bad if you screw up! But you can pace around freely - for example, leave the stage and join the audience. It's a lot of adrenaline, but it's also a source of stimulation that I have a hard time doing without for very long. Movies give you a different feeling. Lighting, timing, blocking - everything has to be spot-on. You project your voice less, the acting is more internal, you look for precision. I like the discipline, it makes me focus. The only thing that annoys me is when we have to redo takes. I feel like I'm losing simplicity and spontaneity.

Who do you think Who's That Granny?! was made for?  
For everyone. It's a bright, energetic family comedy that gives some good advice for life and brings along lots of wonderful values, such as mutual respect and accepting differences. My husband really liked it, and so did my daughter, which proves that it's intergenerational. Of course, they're not in the least bit biased!

Are you, Chantal Ladesou, a granny in real life?  
Yes, but my grandchildren aren't as old as my character's grandkids are. My grandson is three and my granddaughter is only one. It's too bad, I'll have to wait a while before showing them the movie!




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in Interviews / 17.05.2019

Interview with Elodie Fontan: “I've been a fan of Nicky Larson since I was little”

Élodie Fontan was born on July 9, 1987 in Bondy, Seine-Saint-Denis, France. She is an actress who appeared in more than fifteen television and film productions since 1996.

Élodie Fontan started very young in French commercials for Nissan, Quick and Euro Disney. She gained notoriety in 2009 by playing Alyzée, Clem's best friend, in the Clem series, broadcast on TF1.

Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon (Nicky Larson and Cupid's Perfume) is a name of the latest French action comedy directed by Philippe Lacheau in wich Élodie Fontan appears alongside Philippe Lacheau, Tarek Boudali, Julien Arruti and Pamela Anderson.

It is an adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime series City Hunter (known as Nicky Larson in France) by Tsukasa Hojo.

Nicky Larson is the best bodyguard, an outstanding private investigator. He is called for a high-risk mission: to recover the Perfume of Cupid, a perfume that would make irresistible the one who uses it.

This weekend, in Romania, Prorom and Ro Image will release the comedy Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon, and we invite you to read an interview with the leading actress Élodie Fontan.

How did you feel when Philippe Lacheau came up with the idea of making a movie about Nicky Larson?
I remember that moment: I was on the train in a promotional tour for Babysitting 2. Like the boys, I've been a fan of Nicky Larson since I was little, and this idea seemed great to me, though none of us had any idea if we could get the rights. Especially because I did not know if I would have a role in the movie or not…

How did you imagine Laura?
I had a strong attachment to this character. The challenge was to make her realistic - which is not always easy with the manga characters, because of their gestures, while preserving the characteristics of his character. Laura is an impulsive girl, she has a very tough face, but at the same time she's very protective with Nicky, she's taking care of him. So she is very calm and she manages a lot of things, but she can also be crazy. Finally, it was nice to interpret all these different emotions. Besides, this is the first time I played such a character, and it was very dear to me.

Did you made some researched for this character?
Before I started the project, I rewatched most of the animated episodes and I never missed Laura's look: on stage, during lunch breaks or makeup. I was happy to go back to an episode every time to find the right tone or mimic of my character.


What instructions did Philippe Lacheau give you?
He wanted Laura to be faithful to the manga series, but to adapt her to me, so that she would remain credible. Because people who do not know Nicky Larson's world to appreciate it and understand her, she does not have to be too crazy. And Philippe and I made sure she never became annoying.

What she "borrowed" from you?
I gave her some gentleness. I wanted her to be very loving and very protective with Nicky, probably more than in the animated series. Actually, I think I softened her and made her more balanced.

Did you like the idea that she would bring emotion to the movie?
What I liked above all was to have a character in my hands that allowed me to use my all acting skills. Through her I could go from comedy to drama or anger, and that's a gift for an actor. I remember when I read the script, the scene where Laura understands that Nicky is sacrificing for her touched me a lot, and I can hardly wait to play it. But seeing it, I think it's actually a beautiful sequence that brings a lot of emotions and a different tone. The film is very rich, there is action, comedy, laughter, emotions, and that's also the memory I keep from the cartoon.

How did you prepare for action scenes?
I've been boxing for a long time, and I have always dreamed that this discipline would serve me in cinematography one day. That's why, when the guys wrote the script, I suggested that they include battle sequences with Laura.

Did it take long before you found Laura's look?
No, it was pretty fast, it came naturally. The costume designers knew Nicky Larson's world very well, and we had the same ideas for Laura's character. We wanted to be as loyal as possible, giving her a touch of modernity. The capillary part was a little more delicate, it was necessary to find the right color, the good haircut, which was far from me! I knew hair was important for the character, but I think the bet was a winning one, since I was asked during the promotion tour if I really cut my hair…


This duo with Philippe has brought you closer to him?
Surely. We worked long before the shooting and I knew exactly the direction we wanted to take. Nicky Larson is the third collaboration between us, and from one movie to another, we are naturally more "closer" on the screen. The other actors were the same: we are all very close, we see each other a lot outside the set and the more we work together, the more the automatisms are triggered. But Philippe is quite efficient because he knows what he wants, how to pass on his ideas and how to take us where he wants.

What is the most beautiful memory from the shooting of the movie?
The scene in the factory where there is a general fight will be memorable. Very strict shooting times put us under great pressure, because we could not overcome them, and the filming program was so busy that sometimes wondered how we could shoot all the sequences in a single day. So we were a little tense, especially Philippe, but it's a beautiful sequence, worthy of an American action movie!

What was your reaction when you saw the movie?
I was very proud, because I can say that so far this is my best role and my best film. The bet was not obvious from the start, but it proved to be a success. Besides, I was amazed by the music, extremely well chosen, by the direction, by the editing ... Regarding the actors, we were all very happy to make this movie and I think that's is something that you see on the screen.

Interview by Clara Géliot.




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in Interviews / 13.05.2019

Interview with actor and director Philippe Lacheau: “Nicky Larson was one of my favorite animated series”

Philippe Lacheau was born on June 25, 1980 in Fontenay-sous-Bois, Val-de-Marne, France. He is an actor, writer and director, known for Babysitting (2014), Babysitting 2 (2015) and Alibi.com (2017).

Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon (Nicky Larson and Cupid's Perfume) is a name of the latest French action comedy directed by Philippe Lacheau who also co-wrote the screenplay with Julien Arruti and Pierre Lacheau.

It is an adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime series City Hunter (known as Nicky Larson in France) by Tsukasa Hojo.

The film features Philippe Lacheau, Élodie Fontan, Tarek Boudali and Julien Arruti in lead roles, along with Didier Bourdon, Kamel Guenfoud, Sophie Mousel, Hélène Lamberti and Pamela Anderson in supporting roles.

Nicky Larson is the best bodyguard, an outstanding private investigator. He is called for a high-risk mission: to recover the Perfume of Cupid, a perfume that would make irresistible the one who uses it.

This weekend, in Romania, Prorom and Ro Image will release the comedy Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon and we invite you to read an interview with the actor and director Philippe Lacheau.

How did you come up with the idea of adapting Nicky Larson for the cinema?
I belong to the club generation Club Dorothée and Nicky Larson, who landed on French television in the 90s, was one of my favorite animated series because it was a real comedy. There was also action, police investigations, love stories, but it was especially funny. Nicky, beyond making me laugh, is the best in everything he undertakes: it's both a detective, a bodyguard, a lovelace... the James Bond of comedy in short. Unconsciously, it was therefore a kid's dream to embody the hero of my childhood in the cinema.

Have you acquired the rights easily?
Not at all! It was a very long process. We got some help from Stephane Huard, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment France, who through their American and Japanese studio affiliates has allowed us to meet manga creator Tsukasa Hojo. Prior to granting our rights, the Japanese author asked for a right to read the script. After eighteen months of writing, I went to meet him, with my manuscript under my arm, full of fears. After 48 hours, the verdict came: he liked it! I was very happy because he found that the script was loyal to his manga creations, and he made the most beautiful compliment I could ever get from him -- that he would have himself invented this original story.


How was the writing process?
In order to perfectly absorb the universe of Nicky Larson, Julien Arruti, my brother, Pierre Lacheau, Pierre Dudan and myself (the same team from Babysitting) we analyzed 144 episodes of the animated series that were broadcast in France and reread 37 numbers of manga. But I also saw the various adaptations that have been made abroad, including a Chinese movie with Jackie Chan. It was important to see everything to refresh our memories, we had to recover the tone to write. The most important thing was to keep the universe and the characters.
So I found the idea of a quest around Cupid's perfume, a perfume that has the power to make you irresistible. But the real challenge was to attract all the new generation that follows us from Babysitting, but who does not know Nicky Larson. This required a lot of rewriting.

Why is this movie a very personal one?
He sends me back to my childhood. Maybe that's why this is the movie that I'm the most proud of, because everything that comes to this moment of my life is sacred. I was fortunate enough to enjoy the moments when Dorothee (the one who made the Club Dorothee show in France in the '90s) was on our movie set, and I watched her with a child's eyes, reminding me of the show we enjoyed in our youth. It was as if I had met a friend I had not seen for many years. Moreover, it is personal because it brings together my friends, my parents, who appear in the movie, and the names of the characters are sometimes borrowed from relatives.

How did you prepare to become Nicky Larson?
I was so motivated that I exercise for eight months with diets and training, and  I put 8 kg of muscle. In parallel, I worked diligently for choreography of the action scenes, I learned how to shoot with a Magnum gun, machine guns and other heavy weapons, then I dyed my hair. I remember the day the costume handed me Nicky's outfit: seeing me in his blue coat, his red shirt and his black pants made me feel very excited.

Was it from the beginning the idea to work with the same team again?
This is a question I cannot answer. It was an incredible opportunity to work with my friends and, as long as the public follows us, we will continue. This is an incredible luxury and it's great to see that from one movie to another some actors such as Didier Bourdon, Chantal Ladesou and Gérard Jugnot follow us and the “band” grows.

Newcomers immediately joined Nicky Larson's world?
It was interesting because, unlike some "special guests" like Audrey Lamy, Raphaël Personnaz or Jarry, who knew the animated series, the others had not heard of him. But they immediately found him funny, and they followed me with the same enthusiasm. It is fortunate that all these actors have joined us for one or two days because the scenes in which they appear have a size much higher than the scenario indicated. For them it may not have been a lot, but to me it was a lot.

Did you direct your actors as in your other movies?
With my friends I did not change my way of doing things. But I was very afraid, for example, to give directorial directions to Pamela Anderson! When we created the character, we thought it would be great to have her in the movie, because like Nicky Larson, it was a representative image of the 1990s. It was a real surprise that he accepted! And suddenly I woke up under pressure: I speak English very badly, and I did not know how to direct an American star on a shooting set. Would she do all I ask? Would she have extravagant demands? Does he ask for anything in return? Soon I got answers to my questions because the meeting was great! He did not refuse anything, because he was amused to play with his glamorous image.

Where did you shoot?
A little in the South, a little in the Paris region. The original manga is happening in Tokyo, but the filming would have been too expensive and it would have been strange, because the characters speak all French. So we decided to move it to us, but without marking the place. Like Gotham City in Batman, Nicky lives in a city that does not exist, and cannot be located. We filmed in Paris in La Defense, Beaugrenelle, but we added 3D buildings, and we removed the Eiffel Tower from some pictures... The only place mentioned is Monaco.

What were your sources of inspiration?
In the pure comedy, I have a true French culture, because my models have always been Francis Veber - my absolute master - Alain Chabat, Les Nuls, Les Inconnus and Le Splendid.
Among the French comedies of recent years, the series of Taxi movies were probably the most successful. But let's not forget Belmondo, including Le Magnifique, by Philippe de Broca. But this time I have to confess that I was more inspired by the American comedies, because they are very bold. The first time that I saw There’s Something About Mary, by the Farrelly Brothers, was a real shock. And I grew up with American Pie, these genres of movies that pushed the limits! This is an example for me.


The budget was important. Did you have any extra pressure?
When we pictured such a movie, we were scared at first. But to be credible, it was necessary to have money. I did not have the means for a Mission: Impossible kind of movie, but when the idea is to make a James Bond with accent on comedy, the bar is up. That's why we wanted the budget to be appropriate. So we used the best professionals, technicians who worked with Luc Besson and who did a great job in scenes that needed explosions, chasings and very realistic fights.

In the end, the movie is like you want it to be?
I am very happy, yes, because my purpose was to make the most funny movie and to mix it with action and feelings. And, thanks to my great editor, I have the feeling that I have succeeded.

Interview by Clara Géliot.




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