In 15 years, Antoine de Maximy has visited more than 60 countries for his program J’irai rire chez vous, broadcast on France 5. The concept is simple: go alone with his cameras and try to get invited to the locals. With his red shirt, his video equipment and his good humor, the host-globetrotter made his concept a success on the small screen. In 2008, Antoine de Maximy adapted his program for the cinema for the first time with J’irai rire à Hollywood.
The feature film performed well in theaters, attracting more than 250,000 spectators. This gives ideas to Antoine de Maximy who will work on a feature film script based on the concept of his show. This time, the film will be a total fiction and will be called: I will die in the Carpathians. The story begins with a trivial car accident on a mountain road.
Antoine de Maximy’s car was washed away by a river and the body of the globe-squatter was not found. Luggage and equipment are repatriated to Paris. Agnès, the editor of the series, decides to finish this last episode. After viewing the images, she tackles the editing of the film. But details catch his attention. Agnes begins to have doubts. The story might not be that simple …
On the occasion of the release of the feature film on September 16, we went to meet this colorful character. We were able to explore his extraordinary career with him in our Fun Facts, the video of which you can watch above. Between the invention of the cinebulle and his death threats in Bolivia, the director gives us some tasty anecdotes. We also asked him some questions about I will die in the Carpathians.
AlloCiné: By transposing I will go to sleep at your house in fiction, weren’t you afraid of losing the spontaneity inherent in the concept?
Antoine de Maximy : I wasn’t afraid of losing spontaneity because I didn’t even consider it happening. I was following my idea, I was seeing this movie. In these cases, it is important to ask yourself questions anyway, but you must follow its guideline. We must not get lost. Now that the film is done, I know it works. Of course my producers had doubts, and I go even further: we shot the sequences first with the small cameras … if that didn’t work, I don’t know whether to do the rest.
It’s kind of weird because I found myself playing my own part.
How to put yourself in the shoes of an actor for the first time?
It’s kind of weird because I found myself playing my own part. But it’s a role I’ve been doing for 15 years so it’s something that I master well. So, I didn’t have the impression of being an actor. I had the impression of reliving a scene that I had written, already experienced. I didn’t feel like an actor and it feels, it feels authentic. And I don’t claim to be an actor. I’m not at all sure I can. It’s not the same process; but i love exploring, trying to do something else.
How did the work with the actors go?
Working with Alice Pol and Max Boublil was pure happiness. I was a little scared to come across some capricious actors, or those who didn’t trust me. There, I ran into normal people, good actors without the star side that scared me. We got along really well and suddenly, I managed them better. Everyone told me, be careful with fiction, you need the direction of actors. Looking back, directing actors, in my opinion, is a lot about communication. If you can be clear about what you want and don’t lose them in bullshit, that works great.
What helped was filming with the material from I’ll Go To Sleep With You. There was no technical team around, not a visible technician.
You shot a large part of the film in Romania …
I didn’t know Romania well, I went there once, 15 years ago. What was still a challenge was to make it all look real. Romanian actors were super good! They were all looking for jobs. What also helped, is to film with this material, that of J’irai va rire chez vous. There was no technical team around, not a visible technician. When you play the scene with the actors, it’s just them and me. It gave an authenticity that we would not have had if there had been the pressure of a team around.
We can have fun watching the film to unearth full of small details, clues on the outcome …
It goes way beyond that! Where I am very happy with the film is that everything Alice Pol will discover by looking at the images, the viewer can see before her. It’s all in the pictures. It even happened that people went to see the film again, during the preview tour, to find the clues. It’s also a game, and that’s why you have to see it in the movies. On TV, you’re less likely to see the details.
You don’t have a channel that keeps a program for 15 years if people don’t follow.
How do you explain the success of I will go to sleep with you?
I think it probably comes from the authenticity. I’m the same on the show as I am in life. And the real reason is the public. You don’t have a channel that keeps a program for 15 years if people don’t follow. And for that I say thank you to the public.
What motivates you to continue playing the French Indiana Jones?
Indiana Jones … (laughs) What always motivated me, from the start, is to do different things. I’ll go sleep with you, it’s not at all the same from one episode to another. I did this whole period of documentaries, scientific expeditions, animal films … it lasted 15 years. I was making a very good living, and when I decided to do I’ll go and sleep with you, I stopped everything.
I wasn’t paid at first, no one wanted it. It’s the same for this film, I had to do a crowdfunding. There it is done, I hope it will work. And afterwards, I want to do other things, another film, but it’s going to be hard because I don’t want to do the sequel to that one. It turned out to be a game. Nobody wants it, but I can do it anyway. It motivates.