In the series by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano broadcast on Arte, Philippe Dayan (Frédéric Pierrot) faces a gallery of new patients whose ailments resonate with his own anxieties. Meet the cast of season 2.
In season 2 of En Thérapie, broadcast every Thursday at 8:55 p.m. on Arte with five episodes per evening, doctor Philippe Dayan (Frédéric Pierrot), now divorced and living in a small house in the Paris suburbs, receives four new patients in his firm. Characters loosely based on those created by showrunner Hagai Levi in the original BeTipul series.
As the health crisis erupts, “we find ourselves in the middle of a great moment of uncertainty“, recalls Eric Toledano. “The first season worked, we feel a fairly strong and warm return, and at that time, we ask ourselves this question of continuing or not, whereaswe find ourselves in the middle of a great moment of doubts.
“When you’re a screenwriter or director, you wonder how to deal with it, how are you going to represent it and what are you going to say about COVID. It has impacted and questioned us all, and at the turn of a conversation with the production and Arte, we tell ourselves that we have to go head on, we have to talk about what we are going through.“
They then contact Hagai Levi to ask his opinion on this desire to deal with the health crisis, to which the Israeli showrunner responds enthusiastically. “But you are crazy, obviously you have to tell that moment!he told us. With Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat, screenwriter and writing director for this season, they then imagine how this crisis affects the characters.
“Dayan cannot go to see his father in an EHPAD, Alain cannot take a plane to join his daughter… We are locked up, prevented, are we connected to others or in the process of isolating ourselves.. there is a questioning that is generated and we say to ourselves that it is relevant to continue the reflection.“
“The desire for the collective that we had created in season 1 was even more multiplied with us, because we still wanted to create a team“, adds Olivier Nakache. “And there, we go even further into the soul of Doctor Dayan and that of his patients, thanks to these demanding authors and directors whose films we have so much appreciated.“
The scriptwriters then have nine months to write thirty-five episodes. A major test for Clémence Madeleine-Perdillat and her writing workshop, always with the challenge of modernizing Hagai Levi’s text, “to find echoes there with today“, but also to deal with a five-year ellipse, different from the original version.
Among the major changes made in this season compared to BeTipul, there is also the character of Claire, interpreted by Charlotte Gainsbourg, which has been totally modified since in the original series, it was the character equivalent to that of Esther played by Carole Bouquet, who we found facing Dayan in season 2.
The fruit of the work done with Emmanuel Finkiel, who directs the six episodes with Claire. “We were really in the free adaptation, and at the beginning we had a little underestimated the immense work that it was going to require in such a short time.“, continues the screenwriter.
“Claire’s writing was done in two stages“, explains the director. “A first time until episode 25, and then the rest was done a lot according to Charlotte Gainsbourg, by the fact that she created a character who could not be presupposed on paper. She did something completely believable, and at the same time so singular, that it could not have been imagined before.” The last episodes with Claire therefore took into account this encounter between the character and the involvement of the actress.
“The text seduced me a lot, because it happened to me in my life to be on the couch“, laughs Jacques Weber, who plays Alain, one of the new patients of this season. A business manager overwhelmed by a media scandal after the suicide of one of his employees, pushed to burn-out during the crisis sanitary.”We realize very quickly that we have to go through the heart of ourselves, it’s not just about interpretation. And if Frederic isn’t there, I’m not the same. We are not well all alone.”
“There were really times when I felt like I was in psychoanalysis directly“, he says with emotion. “I forgot that at the start I was a sort of stupid Bernard Tapie, and that all of a sudden behind him there is a human being, a sensibility. And I found myself, the little guy, with the billions of me arguing, in front of a psychoanalyst.“
For Eye Haïdara, who reunited with Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache after Le Sens de la fête, capturing a character is like a form of personal therapy. “On this adventure, we have the chance to go to the end of things. At the end of filming, I was ready to play Inès“, she laughs.”I think on this experience, it’s very fair to say that we don’t play alone” she continues, echoing Jacques Weber. “Without Frédéric, Inès would be different; without Agnès (Jaoui, the director), Inès would be different, without the team too.“
The actress then evokes a personal anecdote: during the filming, two technicians, a man and a woman, came to find her to tell her that they were disturbed by her character because Inès, it was them, she quotes. “I really had the feeling of having to take charge of this text, with this important question of duty. There are many themes that are universal in Inès.“
Aliocha Delmotte, meanwhile, discovered En Thérapie as a spectator, and landed a casting for season 2 thanks to his mother. “Every time I read the script, I recognized myself in the character. I experienced confinement exactly like Robin“, he recalls.
A young actor who seduced the director duo “shouting at Frédéric Pierrot“, laughs Eric Toledano. “He looked all calm, and then he yelled at me during practice, and he did it so well that I was very impacted, and I had no idea he had that in the engine .“
“With Olivier, we have already directed children, we made a film about a summer camp (Nos Jourshappy, editor’s note), and cIt’s very rare to find someone with so much listening at his age. It was one of the decisive elements when we chose him, the fact that he has this palette gave us confidence.“
For Suzanne Lindon, the character of Lydia was her first audition as an actress. “When I read the text, I didn’t want to leave this character to someone else, I wanted to defend her too much.“, she explains.”I think I’m too lucky to have teamed up with Frédéric, Arnaud (Desplechin, the director, editor’s note) and me. I was carried away by them, by listening and seeing Frédéric, and by meeting Arnaud. I learned everything with them because it was the first time that I was chosen.“
“Frédéric is a central element in the construction of the possibility of season 2, with this regularity, this investment, of reading the texts and reacting to them, of being there upstream… it is possible because at for a moment, we all have a relationship with Frédéric, in the investment he can have in this project“, emphasizes Eric Toledano.
“What touches me the most in this season 2 is that we had lively exchanges, on the scenarios, on doubts, and we avoided no subject, we faced them all“, continues Frédéric Pierrot. “ I have often considered that the cinema was a very violent activity, but there, a real energy circulated between us. It nourished and enriched us. What gives me immense pleasure in hindsight is to consider with what respect, courtesy and elegance all this was done with all the interlocutors.“