Guillaume Labbé in Parallèles on Disney+: “I’m really the pioneer of series…

A new original French series has just arrived on Disney+: Para//èles. Four of the comedians of the show spoke with AlloCiné about this delightful project.

After Family Weekend last month, a new French original series landed on Disney+ on Wednesday, Para // èles.

We met several members of its cast, bringing together many familiar faces from the French small screen, including Guillaume Labbé (Lieutenant Retz), Naidra Ayadi (Sofia), Omar Mebrouk (Adult Bilal) and Thomas Chomel (Samuel) responded to our Questions.

Can you introduce us to Parallèles?

Naidra Ayadi: It’s a series that talks about four teenagers who find themselves in their lair and a somewhat special event will happen, quite incomprehensible since [l’un d’eux]Samuel, in a fraction of a second, will find himself alone without his three friends who will have disappeared in front of a young man in his thirties…

Guillaume Labbe: It’s a French science fiction series. Quoc [Dang Tran, le créateur de la série, ndlr], the directors and the production did not try to make an American-style science fiction series, because quite simply, we don’t have those budgets and it’s not the same know-how. So it’s really focused on the characters and their development.

Science fiction – for me and this is perhaps not the author’s opinion – is almost a pretext for talking about adolescence, this period which is all the same very special, and also fraternity, to feel like the unloved son of a family and the birth of a monster if you are not loved or if you feel unloved.

It’s a treat to play!

Who are your characters?

Guillaume Labbe: Me, it’s Lieutenant Retz, who tries to understand what’s going on, and he’s a character that I love because he’s really not a cop who’s only there to pass on information, this which can be done in other series sometimes. There really, from the beginning, from the reading, it exists, it is thick one has the impression of knowing it.

He’s kind of funny in spite of himself because he’s very, very, very rational and he’s immersed in an investigation that’s really not rational. So he doesn’t understand what’s going on and on top of that he has a feeling of love happening, so for someone as rational as him, feeling and love are a ball in a game of bowling and he’s trying to stay straight and he can’t do it at all. So it’s a treat to play!

Thomas Chomel: My character is Samuel. He is Bilal’s best friend, Victor’s brother and a friend of Romane but with some things to discover [à leur sujet]… I can’t say too much! He’s a character who is a little shy, a little withdrawn, who doesn’t dare say too much and show what he feels and suddenly that’s why at times it can be a little complicated with Romane, with Victor and his parents.

Guillaume labbé in parallèles on disney+: "i'm really the pioneer of series...
Disney+

Naidra Ayadi: I am Sofia, the mother of one of the teenagers, Bilal. I am a researcher at the ERN, she is a brilliant woman who raises her son alone. They have a very strong, very close relationship. They have a great relationship of trust, they know each other inside out. She would, of course, be ready to do anything for her son.

Omar Mebrouk: I have the chance to interpret the role of Bilal. I play a teenager in an adult body. There are two Bilals. This character is a very empathetic person. He has three pillars in his life, they are science and mathematics, his mom and his friends. He will be dealing with something that will alter his balance.

Precisely, how did you approach the fact of playing a teenager in the body of an adult?

Omar Mebrouk: There’s something very exciting about doing that, it’s character rich to be able to be a teenager and be 10 years older. All the more so because we are not on something parodic, on what we imagine to be a teenager. It went through a lot of discussions with Quoc, the creator of the series, and the directors, Jean-Baptiste Saurel and Benjamin Rocher. It was discussions, clarifications but something enjoyable to interpret.

I loved that it made me think.

What attracted you to your role?

Naidra Ayadi: It’s a very solar role, I really like the energy that Sofia has. I think it’s great to embody a strong, single, balanced, brilliant woman. It was great to enter a supernatural universe but which highlights things that we all go through, human relationships, everyone’s questions… It crosses different genres, I quite liked that. It’s a teenage movie, at the same time there’s science fiction, romantic comedy, there’s plain comedy and a little bit of personal drama.

Thomas Chomel: What attracted me to the series is this fantastic side, already, which I have always adored since I was very young. And there is also the complexity of the script written by Quoc, which is brilliant, where at times, I was reading the script, I didn’t understand everything, I had to go back to put things back in place in my head. I loved that it made me think. And I loved my role because I directly imagined all the little touches that I take from myself and bring into the character.

Parallèles is one of the first original French Disney+ series. Is there a resulting pressure?

Guillaume Labbe: No, not at all as an actor. If I think about it, I’m really super proud, even more after seeing the first two episodes on a cinema screen. And the fact that it’s magnificent, frankly the image, the light, the framing choices, the music, the sound… In fact, I’m especially proud of the object.

Afterwards, obviously I have a little trick of saying to myself “Ah, that’s cool, I’m going to be a veteran”. I tell myself in 10 years, I will be the old man who will say “Hey, my old man, I did the first Disney series” and like on Netflix with Plan coeur, it was almost the first or the first, I tell myself I am really the pioneer of French platform series.

Guillaume labbé in parallèles on disney+: "i'm really the pioneer of series...
Disney+

Omar Mebrouk: The pressure, at the start of the project, came more from the fact of having to defend such a rich, substantial character, on such a long project. It was a first for me, I had never spent so much time on set for the same project. I felt that we had to be solid on the supports from the start. But at that point, for me, I really think about how to create this character, that it has consistency and a connection throughout.

Thomas Chomel: There is no particular pressure in addition. I read the screenplay for Parallèles like any other screenplay. Obviously, while reading Disney, I thought of all the films that accompanied me in my youth, even though I am only 19 years old. But for me, it’s like another shoot, I take it naturally.

And for you Naidra, who will also be in Oussekine, expected later in the year?

Naidra Ayadi: It’s special because there we deliver two completely different series that I am very proud to present. I’m very happy to be part of it, they’re two totally different worlds. I think it’s great because it brings a fairly diverse panel. A pressure, well yes, because I hope that I would not have the responsibility [d’un échec] but I’m pretty confident.

I will still have to pay a subscription!

Do you have a favorite series on the platform?

Guillaume Labbe: I don’t watch so many series, I’m not the right customer. Right there, I’m starting to look, I’m starting to see that there’s a lot of stuff and I’m disgusted because I tell myself that’s it, I have to subscribe to Disney+ because it’s so rich that I have no choice, I’m going to have to pay a subscription again, I can’t take it anymore.

Thomas Chomel: A series that I loved on Disney+ is Loki. At first I didn’t think at all, I really started the series without having a particular passion for the character of Loki and in the end I got hooked directly.

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