While the shooting of “Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire” begins today, we finally know a little more about the history of this new opus and the intentions of Guillaume Canet in terms of humor and visual ambition.
Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire is on! After announcing its all-star cast last week, the shooting of the French blockbuster (60 million euros) begins today, in the studios of Bry-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne).
The film crew will also set up their cameras in Brétigny-sur-Orge (Essonne), then on the Guéry plateau (Puy-de-Dôme) for a scene of a great battle, and finally in Morocco for a few scenes of desert and d oasis, or 67 days of filming, until the end of July.
In a long article in Sunday Newspaper, Guillaume Canet and his producers give many details about the behind the scenes of the project. The opportunity to confirm what Gilles Lellouche, who will play Obélix, suggested a few months ago: the idea of filming in China has been completely abandoned, “for both health and economic reasons, due to a lack of local investors“, specifies the newspaper.
As a reminder, the preparation of the film was interrupted by the confinement of March 2020, and Guillaume Canet also took advantage of this stand-by period to write a new film, Him, which he has already shot. in the fall of 2020.
While waiting for Asterix, Guillaume Canet launches the filming of Lui with Virginie Efira
What will the story be?
Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire will be an original screenplay, and not adapted from one or more previously published comics. It is the first time, excluding animation, that an Asterix film is based on a completely new story, imagined by Philippe Mechelen and Julien Hervé. The initial idea was launched by the producer Yohan Baiada, which interested Editions Albert René (owners of the work of Uderzo and Goscinny),
The starting point of the story as presented by Guillaume Canet in the JDD: “A cart arrives in the Gallic village with the Chinese princess Fu Yi who came to ask for help after the coup d’etat of a certain Deng Tsin Qin, who overthrew the empress. The reputation of the irreducible Gauls is known as far as Shanghai“.
The director and actor adds that “Asterix, already a little vegan, [fera] remonstrances to Obelix on his consumption of wild boars. Both will also discover the feeling of love. The place of women is also more important, you will see …“
What will be the artistic and humorous ambitions?
Guillaume Canet also reveals his visual ambitions with this very big budget project: “I know that we can do something crazy and that we see little in France: a real great adventure film, epic, with sumptuous sets and costumes.. “
I am a big fan of Chinese cinema and its crazy fights
And to add: “The idea is to make children and parents laugh by returning to quirky humor on Shabat while having a very strong visual ambition, magical, Braveheart type that meets Tiger and Dragon! I am a big fan of Chinese cinema and its crazy fights, with the characters that fly. We will confront the kung fu and the brute force of our Gallic heroes. “
The cast will bring together several families of humor, including a number of actors who will make their first foray into the saga, from Pierre Richard to Franck Gastambide. “I have the capacity to do [de la comédie] and I like to change the register, he specifies. I wanted to finally make a film that my two children can see … Asterix, it’s my relationship to my father. “
We also know a little more about what presided over the choice that Canet ultimately embodies Asterix, which was not the filmmaker’s first idea. It was the producers who saw it this way, in particular Alain Attal who has been following Guillaume Canet since his very beginnings. “They said to me: The energetic nervous little one, it’s you”, reports Guillaume Canet, who originally thought of playing Caesar.
The JDD article also tells us that Florent Manaudou will also be in the cast (in the role of a coach), and that Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard’s son, Marcel, 10, could make an appearance. Finally, we know a little more about the character of Antivirus, played by Zlatan!
Zlatan? We were looking for someone with presence and arrogance.
“He is Caesar’s favorite centurion. Initially, it was called Bus shelters, but we renamed it Antivirus because it is expected and is slow to arrive, like the vaccine! This is the idea of Yohan Baiada, the co-producer. We were looking for someone with presence and arrogance. I managed to contact him, it made him laugh. And besides, he did taekwondo!“
The filming of Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire is scheduled until July 2021, for a release in 2022.