Romane Jolly is the revelation of “Fugueuse” on TF1, which tackles the subject of underage prostitution. Met at the La Rochelle Festival, she came back for us on this first role on TV and on the important message of the series.
AlloCiné: You land with Fugueuse your first role on television. And you start with a subject for the less difficult and strong since the series tells the story of Léa, a teenager who, blinded by the love she has for an older young man, lets herself be manipulated and agrees to prostitute herself. . What was your reaction when you discovered the script for the series?
Romane Jolly : When I read the script for the first time, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity as an actress, because the range of emotions was very wide. There is dancing, we work with the bodies. There is violence. An opposition between the character’s youth and his more female side too. Lots of things that made Lea’s character very enriching.
And then, of course, there is the subject which is very heavy, which is important, and which is obviously alarming. I really wanted to defend such a subject. And then, inevitably, I quickly wondered if I was going to be able to do it and assume. Because faced with such a heavy project, we inevitably wonder if we are capable of it.
What was the biggest challenge for you on this shoot? Was it the nudity scenes?
No. My answer is going to sound very strange, but it was neither nudity, nor violence, nor tears (laughs). The most difficult for me was to play a teenager, at the beginning, without problems. Because I had the life I had, and at 16 I wasn’t like Léa. To play the very smooth, candid, very solar side of the character, it was therefore not easy for me, because I am very different from Léa.
We imagine that such a scenario required a lot of preparation with the director Jérôme Cornuau before the shooting so that everything goes as well as possible and that the shooting takes place in confidence …
Yes, we saw each other several times before the shoot. And during those sessions we worked Jerome and I hand in hand. Sometimes we even rewrote scenes to rework the character as well as possible. We created a sort of common thread between him and me to streamline all the work we would have to do on the set afterwards.
Do you understand that a teenager like Léa can fall into such a spiral – that of prostitution – for love, because she is blinded by her feelings for a boy who is not necessarily very recommendable?
In any case what I tried to do is not to judge her. Because 16 is a complicated age, you don’t necessarily love yourself. We’re looking for each other, we’re lost. We question any form of authority, we skip steps, and everything is going too fast. So, indeed, when you meet a man and fall in love, everything is multiplied tenfold. So, unfortunately, in this case, it’s easy to be blinded and go on a sort of descent into hell.
It is true that we come out of watching the series by saying to ourselves that it can happen to anyone …
Exactly. I think that’s Fugueuse’s message. The goal is to warn all teenage girls. Léa does not come from a disadvantaged background. She has a close family, a boyfriend, some friends. She is studious in class. And despite everything, she falls into this infernal spiral.
I really hope that the series will reach the greatest number of viewers. And especially young people, because the first message in the series is aimed at young people. We know that young people today are more on platforms like Netflix, TV has lost that target a little bit. So since the series is aimed primarily at young people and their parents, we really hope that teens, in particular, will respond. It is important to educate them.
This fictional family that you form with Sylvie Testud, Michaël Youn, Fanny Cottençon, Axel Naroditzky, and Vicki Andren works very well on screen, we quickly get attached to these characters. Did it immediately match between you on the set?
Right now. We all felt comfortable, and I think it shows on screen. There was a real “family” side between us all. Even with my other partners. We also felt a real benevolence from the technical team. It inevitably made things easier and the fact that we felt good on this shoot.
Did you have the opportunity to talk a lot with Willy Cartier, the interpreter of Nico, the older young man with whom Léa falls in love, before the shooting? After all, the two of you share intense scenes that are not always easy to act …
Yes, we saw each other several times before the shoot. And from the first coffee we had together we talked about the fact that we were going to have to kiss, that we would have nude scenes. We wanted to get to know each other very quickly in order to break the ice and support each other in these moments when a little modesty or stress is enough to panic. We wanted to be real playing partners for him and me. And, luckily, Willy is a really lovely person. The collaboration went wonderfully.
At the start of the series, Léa vibrates for only one thing: dancing. You seem very comfortable in all the sequences where your character trains and rehearses choreography. Were you already a fan of dancing before the shoot, or did you have to take lessons especially for Fugueuse?
I have done a lot of dancing in my life, but unfortunately I had never done Krump and contemporary. And it turns out that those are the two styles of dance that we find in the series (laughs). But I had the chance to be accompanied by Tatiana Seguin who is an incredible coach and choreographer. And which suddenly briefed me well so that I can make small movements and that it passes.
In what state of mind are you a few days before the broadcast (this interview was carried out on Friday, September 17 at the La Rochelle Festival, editor’s note)?
It’s a mix of everything. I am obviously extremely grateful, when I see that the series is finally going to be released and that the press is already talking about it a lot. I think I will be eternally grateful to Jérôme Cornuau. Lots of enthusiasm, and even a pressing desire to show this series and to talk about this subject so strongly and so important.
And then I obviously also feel stress because these are my first steps as an actress. And art is meant to be criticized. I don’t know what the audience’s feedback will be, but I hope the series and the story will be well received.
Have you ever been able to read the feedback from viewers who previewed the series on Salto?
Yes, I had very nice feedback, I am very touched. And I am surprised because I received many messages from parents, when I thought I had more feedback from people my age. But for the moment I receive a lot of messages from parents who say to me “We will perhaps leave a more open communication, we will take care of our children”. I find that great.
The public who will discover Fugueuse on TF1 will necessarily seek to know a little more about you. Can you tell us about your background before the series?
After the baccalaureate, I did a cinema license at the Conservatory. At the time, I wanted to be a director, and maybe I still want to be one day, why not. I was behind the camera and I took directing and screenwriting lessons. I got my license when I was 20, and then I wanted to study law. But it didn’t last very long, you can imagine, since I’m here (laughs). Runaway arrived very quickly.
Do you have other upcoming projects?
I will soon be seen in Mon Ange, another TF1 series produced this time by Arnauld Mercadier, with Muriel Robin and Marilou Berry. I just finished this adventure and it was again a great experience. I had great series from TF1, I am delighted. And if all goes well I should shoot two films for the cinema soon.
The Fugueuse trailer, which begins tonight on TF1 and is already available on Salto: