As season 12 of “Clem” continues tonight on TF1, Thomas Chomel tells us more about the plot of Valentin, caught in the clutches of his teacher, Iris Khan (Héléna Noguerra), and what awaits us in the next episodes.
AlloCiné: Do you still enjoy playing Valentin after four years in Clem?
Thomas Chomel : Yes, still as much, because Valentin is a boy full of resources, who is able to do all sorts of things. And from year to year he evolves, he passes to a higher stage of his life.
It makes me happy to see him evolve, especially since I grow up at the same time as him. We are the same age. And from the beginning there was a big part of me in Valentin. He really is “my” character. I identify with him quite a bit, and I think I identify with him as well. He and I exchange a lot of things.
Even if he became a father last season and, for a young man of your age, it must not always be easy to identify with such a situation…
Yes, apart from that, it’s true (laughs). It’s obviously complicated to identify with that, but oddly it quickly became quite natural on set. I remember that at first, when I started filming with the baby in season 11, I had no idea what to do. Because as Thomas, I’m not a father, and I had never really held a baby in my arms. And so much the better, that’s what was needed because in the end it seemed real, it was the same thing for Valentin. It was all very new to him, as it was to me.
But this season it has become simpler and more normal. I had got used to it, and the babies were a little bigger, I worried a lot less. I felt their fragility less. And I have a little less scenes with Jules too. Our few scenes together are less complicated sequences. I no longer have to change the baby for example (laughs).
At the start of season 12, we discover that Valentin and Izia have secretly gotten back together. How will Clem and Mathieu react when they learn the truth?
They will react quite badly, but I don’t think it’s legitimate, because Valentin and Izia were together before them. If two people have to get upset, it should rather be Valentin and Izia. But fortunately, they will handle the situation well in relation to their parents.
Academically, Valentin begins his post-baccalaureate studies and finds himself in the crosshairs of Iris Khan, a teacher with more than troubled intentions. How was the collaboration with Héléna Noguerra?
It went really well. She is an extraordinary actress, who has a lot of talent. I learned a lot of things playing with her. She was totally into her role from the start, so I think that helped me.
Iris attempts to seduce Valentine and force him to have sex with her, but Valentine pushes her away. How will the situation evolve? Will Iris try to take revenge and make Valentin pay for this rejection?
Iris will try to manipulate Valentin. And that will obviously destabilize him. Especially since he mismanaged by sending a photo to his teacher. This is all going to go pretty far. But I think she’s not just trying to make him pay for what happened, or rather what didn’t happen. She also sees Valentin’s artistic potential, and she’s jealous in a way. She will try to steal his art.
In the next episodes, Valentin will therefore make sure to obtain little justice, because all that affects him a lot. He wants to get out of this complicated situation and get back to his normal life as an 18-year-old teenager. He already has a baby, he won’t have a normal life, so if he has problems with his teacher, it’s complicated.
This new decor from the school of design allows you to play with new partners this season. In particular Alice Varela, whom fans of Tomorrow belongs to us know well. It immediately matched between you?
Yes, it went really well with Alice. Besides, I was in the United States a month ago, and I saw her there. But it was also great with all the others, and especially with Aïssa Benchelef, who plays Mehdi. We had a good agreement, and it felt good.
Before, we were a bit alone with Lily Nambininsoa, who plays Izia. We were the only young people. And the fact that Alice and Aïssa are here feels good. It brings freshness and it gives us new things to play. Even for the public, I think it’s positive. It brings in new characters that people can relate to, especially young audiences.
Season 12 of Clem is also marked by the return of Jérôme, who is now embodied by François-David Cardonnel. How does Valentin experience this unexpected return?
He is happy to find it, but I think it makes him very strange. Especially with his little sister. But what matters to him is Emma’s happiness, and he notices that it’s important to her that Jerome is there. So Valentin wants to make it work.
At the same time, it’s complicated because Jérôme tries to impose himself in the family in a way he shouldn’t. Valentin is therefore in a somewhat strange in-between. And it’s going to be complicated for Clem, but Valentin will be there for his mother, as always. Even if he is already quite upset by everything that is happening with Iris Khan.
You also had this kind of big brother-little sister relationship in real life with Elina Solomon, who plays Emma?
Of course, it was obvious from our first season, that is to say season 9. Today she has grown up, so it’s not the same anymore (laughs). But at first, it was like my little sister in real life. It was little Elina, she was too cute. And we forged a pretty strong bond.
Are you already in for a season 13 of Clem if the channel were to renew the series?
It all depends on what I am offered to play. If the scenario pleases me, of course. And I trust Fabrice Renault, our producer, and the screenwriters. I’m sure they’ll come up with a nice plot that I’ll like. In any case, season 12 was not thought of as the last, and in the universe of Clem we can always imagine new stories. I hope that the day when the series will stop, we can offer a real good end to the public.
It’s the coincidence of the calendar, but you are currently in the credits of another series, Parallèles, on Disney +. Was it a childhood dream to play in a science fiction series or film?
Yes totally. But Disney is also a big dream. Since I shot this series, I see Disney writing 15 times a day everywhere, on my phone or on posters. It does something. And I’ve always been a science fiction fanatic, I grew up with all these movies that make us dream, so I’m delighted to have had this opportunity.
And the series proves that we can make beautiful SF in France, with means that are not necessarily the same as American productions…
That’s what’s great about Parallèles, we didn’t make the series the same way as Stranger Things or Dark. We did it with our resources, with what we know how to do in France, and at the same time it doesn’t give the series a cheap effect at all. We believe it, it’s super believable.
It’s largely thanks to Quoc Dang Tran, the creator of Parallèles, who made sure that we really care about the characters, beyond the explosions, the time travel. There are special effects, of course, and they’re good, but what I love is the way you get inside the characters’ heads. Especially since they are interesting and they are all passionate relationships that bind them to each other.
Do you know if a season 2 is possible?
I would love. But I don’t have any information yet. I think it mostly depends on the ratings for Season 1. At the moment, there’s no firm “no”, it’s possible, and I’m sure the writers have ideas just in case. And at the same time the plot is rather closed at the end of the six episodes. But I would love to come back for a season 2.