While the heroes of “Here it all begins” went through hell in the episodes broadcast this Wednesday and Thursday on TF1, Jérôme Navarro, the director of the prom sequences, reveals the secrets of how this disaster ark was made. .
A few months after the arch on the inter-school competition which marked the departure of Clement Remiens and welcomed Michel Sarran as an exceptional guest, Here it all starts once again puts the small dishes in the big ones this week by proposing a disaster plot which began yesterday on TF1 with the long-awaited prom of the Auguste Armand institute and was quick to turn into a nightmare for the heroes from the Serie.
While the party is in full swing, the disco ball that overlooks the dance floor crashes to the ground. It is then the turn of the metal structure which is hung on the ceiling to yield. Joy then gives way to panic and fear within the ballroom. Before the students and teachers of the institute find themselves stuck, with no prospect of a way out. And that the ceiling does not begin, in turn, to fall on their heads.
And who says exceptional episodes obviously says extraordinary device for the daily soap opera of TF1 which intended to create more than ever the event with this arch of all dangers.
Made by Jerome Navarrowho is one of the regular directors of Here it all begins and is also working on tomorrow belongs to us, the sequences taking place within the ballroom required a week of filming alone. With, as a bonus, seven additional days of preparation for the director and his teams compared to what is usually done on the series.
And if Jérôme Navarro is not a novice when it comes to disasters – the fire at the Mas de Demain belongs to us in 2019, it was already him! – he admits to having had a lot of fun with the different technical issues specific to the Here It All Begins ball. “On a classic episode, we know where we are going, whereas here it is a montage that is set up in front of us and everyone gets involved”. Especially since, from the fall of the disco ball to the manufacture of an identically reproduced model of the ballroom, the challenges were multiple.
Three different mirror balls, “two decorations” (or almost), and a lot of dust
While the scriptwriters of Here it all begins could have opted for an instant disaster, they preferred to go step by step, which greatly contributes to the suspense and the unpredictability of these two episodes. It all starts with the disco ball, which Salomé barely manages to avoid (Aurelie Pons) and Axel (Thomas DaCosta). And this element of the decor, so central to the plot, required a lot of preparation.
“When I discovered the set, I said to myself, ‘All right, there’s going to be this ball that falls, but then you have to justify the fact that everything else follows.’ It was a real challenge and that made me happy. had a lot of fun”explains Jérôme Navarro, who drew almost all the plans necessary for the realization of the ball. “There had already been an explosion and fires in the series, but we had never gone in this direction before”.
“We did several tests with the disco ball. Because, casually, it has to crumble in a certain way, that it crashes and that we have the impression of heaviness. So we used three different types of balls: a first one very big at the beginning, which we see at the start on the ground, then a second which falls on the actors and which is therefore lighter, and finally a third in model which is smaller “.
To give the impression of a ceiling splitting and fragmenting before collapsing, the decorators of Here Everything Begins made a model of the ballroom, which allowed them to be able to go all out in the destruction without having to use of digital effects.
“In the ballroom setting, I couldn’t go up with cranes to make tight shots of the ceiling, I couldn’t show bits of beams coming off, otherwise I couldn’t make it. I had a week of filming with the actors on the ground to box things that fall on the characters in particular”reveals Jérôme Navarro about the trade secrets of the most impressive sequences of the plot “Bal de promo”.
“As for the inserts, the low angles, or the shots on the ceiling, when you see the beams coming off, I shot all that the following week, depending on everything we had done before. A model had been built at 1/2th, half the normal size. The decor teams were brilliant, they followed me, they weren’t afraid. They made me a great decor, in duplicate, of the entire ceiling”.
“So as soon as we see the ball up close, the ball coming off up close, or a beam falling, it’s model. We even put dust on the model. And in addition, afterwards, there were some digital special effects that occasionally added little sparkles or dust falling in the foreground. But that’s very rare. It’s mostly mock-up.”.
So much preparation and reflection on these different elements was obviously essential to ensure the smooth running of the shoot when the time came, once on set. And to avoid the slightest risk being taken by the actors or the various technicians of Here it all begins.
“If we hadn’t had this preparation, we would have been blocked”continues the director, who co-directed these two episodes with Christophe Barraud and Laurent Bourdier. “Above all, you have to not take any risks with things that fall. Just for the disco ball, we did four rehearsal afternoons. First with the ball alone, then with the actors the day before filming. “.
“You have to rehearse a lot of times and synchronize everything. And when everyone is in sync, we can start filming. Especially since on a series like Here it all begins, we can’t redo the takes 15 times. The dust, which was diffused in the room with the help of cannons, you can’t do it twice. Not only because the whole installation is heavy. But also because the actors are all dusty (laughs). It’s very complicated. But visually it was interesting I definitely wanted that when everything drops they light up with the laptops I think it works on screen“.
Carrie and Final Destination as references
Beyond the impressive and breathtaking sequences that punctuate the episode of this Thursday, May 5, Jérôme Navarro and the screenwriters also wanted to have fun with the codes of the genre and with the viewers in order to make this prom a real unforgettable event. and marking the history of the series.
“I really wanted it to be enjoyable, for us to have fun with the viewer. I wanted to show the ceiling very closely, for us to have fun with the details. good at first, and then having fun watching the drama that happens, like in old movies like Carrie“.
The movie of Brian DePalma is not the only cinematographic inspiration that can be noted in the disaster episodes of the ball since, as soon as the first images of the plot were broadcast on social networks, fans noticed a small side Final destination in the shots where a bolt that keeps the mirror ball hanging from the ceiling falls on Salome’s shoulder. A reference that the director of Here it all begins fully assumes.
“There are a lot of films and series with which we have played. Final destination obviously, in the scene of the bolt for example. We prepare the spectator for what is going to happen and we have fun with that. It’s super fun for everyone”.
And if “everything is longer” on such a shoot, which also requires rehearsing choreographies for the dance scenes, Jérôme Navarro ensures that everyone had a blast, from the actors to the extras, including all the members of the technical team.
“Everyone was on board with me. The script amused me a lot. It was quite simple on paper, and once on set it became enormous. But there was energy that came from everywhere. The extras are a lot of fun, the actors too. We just had to coordinate all that”.
The most observant viewers may have noticed that the episode broadcast this evening on TF1 was shorter than usual since it only lasts 22 minutes. And if questions of budget can obviously have something to do with it, the idea was above all, for the director, to lose nothing of the tension which emanates from this tragic prom.
“When we do sequences like these, it’s very dynamic. We knew that everything was going to go very quickly”explains Jérôme Navarro to our microphone. “I could hardly extend the sequences. The production knew it. We had warned them and there was no problem with that. And since the episodes are complicated and expensive, there was no point in extending the sequences of artificial way. We wanted to keep the episode as it should be, that is to say very nervous at the end”.
The result, hyper dynamic and gripping, proves the director right and should delight all fans of Here it all begins. And if the dust and the rubble will leave room in the next episodes at the time of the reconstruction, the consequences of this tragic ball will certainly be felt for some time yet in Calvières and within the institute.
After all, the hand found under the rubble by Louis (Fabian Wolfrom) could well be a harbinger of major upheavals in the lives of apprentice starred chefs.