Just 50 years ago, on January 10, 1971, disappeared Gabrielle Chasnel, known as “Coco Chanel”, a great French seamstress and illustrious fashion designer, who was the subject of two competing films released the same year.
Just 50 years ago, on January 10, 1971, Gabrielle Chasnel, known as “Coco Chanel”, left us, fashion designer, milliner and great French seamstress, founder of the fashion house bearing her name, which has permanently imprinted her brand. and was a symbol of “French elegance”. An anniversary – commemoration which also allows us to evoke the projects of competing works released in 2008-2009 around this illustrious figure, that is to say two films and a television series.
Eight months after Audrey Tautou lent her features to the famous Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel, Anna Mouglalis appears in the same role on French screens in Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky. If Anne Fontaine had chosen to dwell precisely on the life of the designer before she was known, Jan Kounen for her part had decided to tell the love life of the famous designer and focused on her meeting with the famous composer.
The two films do not approach the subject from the same angle, but it was nevertheless a question of depicting a moment in the life of one and the same woman. Why were two films about Coco Chanel released in theaters in the same year?
In 2006 there was rumor of a biopic on the life of Coco Chanel with Demi Moore in the title role. The following year the American filmmaker William Friedkin revealed that he was going to direct Coco & Igor, dedicated to Coco Chanel’s affair with Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, with Marina Hands, just césarised for her role as Lady Chatterley, in the lead role. At the same time, director Danièle Thompson announced that she was going to direct, from a screenplay co-written with her son Christopher, a biopic devoted to Coco Chanel.
Below, the trailer for “Coco avant Chanel” …
But Coco is also emulating the small screen since in December 2008, a miniseries of 2 episodes led by Barbora bobulova and Shirley MacLaine was broadcast on France 2. Two episodes seen by no less than 9,207,000 viewers…
Finally, William Friedkin preferred to abandon the project, the feature film with Demi Moore was abandoned and Danièle Thompson, too busy directing the Code A Changé, canceled her biopic project on Coco.
Thinking of being alone at the time, the director Anne Fontaine decides to adapt on the big screen, L’Irrégulière, the biography of Edmonde Charles-Roux devoted to Gabrielle Chanel with Audrey Tautou in the title role.
But it was without counting on the tenacity of the producer of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Claudie Ossarn, who despite the defection of William Friedkin, decides to relaunch the project with Jan Kounen in the direction and the actress Anna Mouglalis in the main role.
Below, the trailer for “Coco & Igor” …
Coco before Chanel by Anne Fontaine with Audrey Tautou and Benoît Poelvoorde was released on French screens on April 22, 2009. For its part, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky starring Anna Mouglalis and Mads Mikkelsen premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and hit screens on December 30, 2009.
Coco before Chanel totaled 1,030,096 theatrical admissions in France and 5.3 million admissions abroad while Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky recorded 132,159 admissions in France and 760,000 admissions abroad…
Jan Kounen’s feature film was almost released in general indifference in France. However, unlike the war of releases in which the 2 wars of the buttons were launched (released 1 week later), the release of Coco & Igor was repeatedly postponed in order not to suffer from the competition of the first film. . But the 8 months of difference between the two biopics were not enough to forget the performance of Audrey Tautou. Add to this the notoriety of the interpreter of Amélie Poulain in France and abroad, facing Anna Mouglalis more used to author films and therefore less known outside the borders.