The cult Hibernatus is broadcast tonight on TFX. For the occasion, return on the very difficult relations between Louis de Funès and the director Edouard Molinaro.
In Hibernatus, the body of a man frozen in a block of ice is found in Greenland. Victim of a shipwreck in 1905, Paul Fournier, 25, is thus kept in perfect condition. He meets his descendants and that doesn’t really please everyone …
The film, released in September 1969, is the second comedy directed by Edouard Molinaro and worn by Louis de Funès after Oscar (1967).
The two artists are not the best friends in the world. They had a very stormy relationship, whether on the Oscar or Hibernatus set. The filmmaker preferred to balance the scenes between his star and the other actors rather than focus his film on it.
This inclination, which did not really please De Funès, gave rise to heated altercations on the set. The relationship between Molinaro and the star of the French comedy was so bad that the producer Alain Poiré, president of Gaumont, had to intervene to calm things down.
Nor was the director the type to laugh at Louis De Funès’ antics in front of the camera. This disconcerted the actor a lot, who liked to have his audience won over to his cause, especially the directors.
For example, in Oscar, the actor slowed down the filming of a crucial scene, the famous “nose tirade”, being asked to deliver his piece of bravery. All this to take revenge on the too serious side of Molinaro.
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In 2013, Edouard Molinaro told Télérama that he had agreed to make Hibernatus so that Gaumont could support him in a project that was close to his heart: My uncle Benjamin.
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Due to Oscar’s triumph and its 6.1 million admissions, the studio had insisted that the filmmaker start another comedy with Louis De Funès. Unfortunately, this 2nd collaboration with the actor turned out to be even more complicated and stormy than the first:
“A nightmare as soon as the film was written. We did eight screenplays, which de Funès refused one after the other. Worse than that: we started filming on the eighth adaptation, or the ninth, and, at the end of eight days, he decided to return to … the first!
He was a star, he was the boss. The shooting was very tense, in a situation of armed peace. As it was going badly, I wanted to leave before the end of the shoot. It was Louis who wanted me to stay. I was a prisoner “, Molinaro confided to Télérama on January 12, 2013.
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During his successful acting career, Louis de Funès experienced numerous disputes with directors, producers, actors or members of the technical team.
For example, in the cult film Le Corniaud by Gérard Oury, he persisted in playing as neutral as possible. All this because he felt that Bourvil was privileged and better put forward compared to him.
Also in this interview with Télérama, Edouard Molinaro concluded however: “Later, on the set of My Uncle Benjamin, I lost my wife, who was killed in a plane. Louis came to the funeral, he was charming.
In fact, with de Funès, we were a difficult couple, we gave birth in pain, but our babies are not too missed. “
With 3.4 million spectators won over, Hibernatus rose to 5th place among the greatest hits of 1969.