“3 men and a basket” is broadcast this afternoon on France 2. On this occasion, back on the (very laborious) casting phase of this cult comedy.
Very big success in 1985, with more than 10 million admissions in France, 3 men and a basket sees three hardened bachelors from Paris leading a carefree life until the arrival of an infant in their daily life… A on the occasion of the broadcast of this comedy, this afternoon on France 2, return to its most incredible casting phase. *
To play Michel, the comic artist, Coline Serreau quickly thought of Michel Boujenah, whom she knew from the theater. The actor, meanwhile, was won over by the project and was therefore delighted to take part in it. Finding the interpreters for the other two main characters turned out to be much more complex.
The director of the cinema subsidiary of TF1 (who co-produced the film), Roger Larrieu, suggested to producer Jean-François Lepetit to hire Roland Giraud to camp Pierre, the architect. But Coline Serreau, not wanting someone to dictate her choices, opposed this idea.
Lepetit then proposed the role to Daniel Auteuil, who was tempted, but ended up joining Claude Berri to replace Coluche in Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. Other big stars, including Gérard Depardieu, Guy Bedos and Jacques Villeret, were in turn asked, but refused.
Coline Serreau also contacted Françis Perrin, with whom she had played at the theater in “We made the wrong love story”, but, again, things did not happen. So she decided to come back to Roland Giraud, explaining that he was sorry not to have chosen him before …
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For the role of Jacques (the baby’s biological father), several big names were again considered, including Christophe Lambert, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Lambert Wilson and Thierry Lhermitte, who all declined. Coline Serreau then turned to Jean-Claude Brialy, who accepted.
But … Jean-François Lepetit, annoyed at not having been consulted, put his veto. Last twist: the film’s press secretary, Danielle Gain, suggested André Dussolier (he wanted to play in a comedy after several performances in the dramatic register), who inherited the character.
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If Three men and a basket enjoyed a phenomenal commercial success, he also won three Cesar: Best film, Best screenplay and Best supporting role (Michel Boujenah). Also named to the Golden Globes and the Oscars, the film was the subject of an American remake, Three men and a baby (which will be followed by Like Fathers, Like Daughter), and a sequel, 18 years later (2003 ).
* Source: “Three men and a basket when the child appears” by Jean-Philippe Guérand, Première Classics n ° 1, October-December 2017.