On the occasion of the release of “Green Shutters” by Jean Becker, a melancholy chronicle centered on the life of an aging actor played by Gérard Depardieu, here are five things to know about the film.
What is it about ? “Les Volets Verts” paints the portrait of a sacred monster, Jules Maugin, an actor at the height of his glory in the 70s. Under the famous personality, the intimacy of a man is revealed.
Birth (turbulent) of the project
Green Shutters is adapted from the novel of the same name written by George Simenon and published in 1950 by Les Presses de la Cité. It was first and foremost Gérard Depardieu who, in the course of a conversation during the summer of 2017, advised Michele and Laurent Petin to read this book.
The producers then take an option on the rights of the book from the son of its author, John Simenonthen call Jean-Loup Dabadie to adapt it. The famous director wrote a first draft of the screenplay, but died in May 2020.
Bertrand de Labbey, Dabadie and Depardieu’s agent, then offers Michèle and Laurent Pétin to solicit Jean Becker, who happily accepts. Canal+ very quickly adhered to the project, but France Télévisions, which has always financed the director’s films, is skeptical:
“They see in the relationship between Maugin and Alice an ambiguity which worries them and which none of our arguments will succeed in erasing. It is therefore our own funds which will make up for their absence”, recall Michèle and Laurent Pétin. Filming can then begin in August 2021.
A legendary couple
Fanny Ardant and Gérard Depardieu have played together about ten times. For Jean Becker, they refer to those well-known actor couples that existed at one time, such as Simone Valere and Jean Desailly, Madeleine Renaud and Jean-Louis Barrault Where Delphine Seyrig and Sami Frey. He specifies :
“In life, Depardieu feels a deep love for Fanny Ardant. So their complicity in life is also found in the film and it is not necessary to explain it. In Les Volets Verts, he behaves like a vis -à-vis her because he feels that she is going to escape him.”
The same car as Piccoli!
To pay tribute to Jean-Loup Dabadie and the years Jumpproducer Laurent Pétin insisted that the character of Felix (played by Benoit Poelvoorde) drives the same Alfa Romeo as Michael Piccoli in Things of life (1970).
The choice of the 70’s
If the plot of the novel takes place in the 1950s, Jean Becker chose to place the film in the 1970s. He justifies this choice: “At the beginning, the story took place in contemporary times, but by reading the book, I said to myself that it was impossible, so much the life of the actors of today does not have anything any more to do with that of these monuments of the preceding generations as it is the case of Maugin, the character of the book by Georges Simenon.
The Fishing Sequence
Originally, Jean-Loup Dabadie had imagined, instead of the fishing scene between Depardieu and Poelvoorde, a game of bowls (as the film takes place in the South). But that did not suit Jean Becker, who says:
“I thought of a scene that I had experienced. One day, in Casamance, I went fishing on the high seas on a boat that had four seats lined up at the back. As soon as one of between us took a fish, we systematically exchanged our places to supposedly spread the luck.
“And it happened that I caught the first fish and then I caught some from the four seats, while the other three did not catch anything, which pissed them off to the core.”