Despite its public and critical success, Mixte will not be renewed by Amazon for a season 2. Meeting with producer Laurent Ceccaldi, who retraces for us the journey of this quality series, which has perhaps not said its last word …
The meeting with Laurent Ceccaldi, producer of Mixte, took place a week before the announcement of the non-renewal of the series by Amazon. That day, it was a question of talking about his work and then the birth of the series, its long-term production and its success in esteem, crowned with the Audience Award for the French series of the year in Canneseries. On the announcement of its cancellation, a new interview naturally stalled. What happened, what can we hope for now? We took stock.
AlloCiné: How do we find ourselves producer of the first original French series of Amazon Prime?
Laurent Ceccaldi : “A lawyer by training, I started working at SACD, then at Gaumont Television before moving on to literary development, then production, where I worked for three years in an audiovisual group called Zodiak In particular, I produced Le Septième Juré with Jean-Pierre Darroussin, awarded a double FIPA d’Or (best fiction and male performer).
It was in 2014 that I joined forces with Caroline Solanillas to create the production company By car Simone, with the ambition to produce exclusively TV fiction. Our natural tendency is towards prime-time fiction.
One of the series we are most proud of …
We worked a lot for France Télévisions. We did comedy series like Hôtel de la plage or more dramatic TV films like Death in the Soul by Xavier Durringer. We also worked for TF1, in particular on a fiction inspired by a true story, which worked very well: They exchanged my child with Julie de Bona.
Then, one thing leading to another, we also did a police mini-series on France Télé which also made us gain visibility: Kepler (s) with Marc Lavoine. This, until Mixte, co-produced with Autopilot Entertainment, one of the series of which we are most proud, the first French series entirely financed by Amazon, which tells the story of the arrival of girls in a boys’ high school in France, in the provinces. , in the early 1960s. “
How easy was it to launch Mixte, and when did Amazon enter the game?
“Mixte is a project by Marie Roussin, which she has been carrying for a very long time and which she proposed to us, ten years ago or so. It was called Mixed Voltaire at the time. We were crazy about it because we found the idea as simple as it was brilliant. The first episode was brilliant. We obviously tried to sell it to traditional linear chains.
But you have to remember that this was a time when Netflix had yet to launch its hit teen series. However, in Mixte, we still have a main point of view which is adolescent.
The traditional channels needed a more adult point of view for their premium dramas, so it was not easy for them to produce our series. Things have changed a lot today thanks to the arrival of platforms in France.
Added to this, the filming side of the 1960s, necessarily induces an additional budget for sets and costumes. So there was some hesitation on the part of the linear chains. The job we do is also a job of opportunity. A project is going to be in the air at one point, not the next year. You should neither be early nor late. “
Amazon immediately said yes! We felt the new world was coming.
“There we were ahead, we knew we had a great project. We were a little desperate not to find the niche until the platforms arrived and Netflix took hold in the landscape in record time. 4 years ago, Amazon was just starting its search for original content in French. When we pitched the series to them, they immediately said yes!
There we felt that the new world was coming, with less formatted series. Our little music went very well to Amazon which gave us artistic freedom and incredible resources, in full covid. Filming was due to start on March 18, 2020 when everything stopped.
We returned home, we waited four months, we started filming in early August 2020 under very complicated conditions with filming suspensions due to several cases of covid among the actors, the establishment of a large team entirely dedicated to filming safety, which Amazon does not mess around with. Without them, we would never have been able to do it under these conditions. “
Marie Roussin, the creator and screenwriter, had she immediately imagined a season 2?
“Marie Roussin and her team of authors created the arches of season 2, that is to say the continuation of the adventures of the main characters that we left at the end of season 1, such as Michèle and Laubrac, who do not would not have remained isolated for long. ”She imagined jubilant dramatic trajectories.
Mixed on Prime Video: there will be a real change in part 2 according to the actors
What is fabulous if we are lucky enough to be able to do a season 2 is that we know our characters, our actors, we know how far they can go and we have fun with it all. On season 1, power was given to Marie as an author, screenwriter, designer, but also as a showrunner.
A series that corresponds to the dreams of its creator Marie Roussin …
She had the power to artistically decide the casting, the sets with us. It’s quite exceptional that the writers can go on set every day. She knows the actors perfectly. It was a great experience for her and for us because we like to support the creators, who like her, want to invest beyond writing the screenplay. Here again, it is an evolution of the author’s status which has been encouraged by Amazon and which tends to settle permanently in the French audiovisual landscape.
In the TV series, the role of the director is less ominpotent than in the cinema. It is more in the service of a story developed by the author, the producer and the broadcaster. The realization sublimates what the screenwriter imagined. It went extremely well on Mixte and that’s one of the many reasons we’re proud of it. It’s a beautiful series that corresponds to Marie’s dreams. “
At the end of this first interview, Laurent Ceccaldi told us his hopes for a season 2, which he awaited renewal or not, depending on many parameters such as international success, the series having been launched in French-speaking countries. in June and internationally at the end of September. A few days later, the sentence fell.
Mixed on Prime Video: no season 2 for the French series
Amazon does not renew Mixte. What happened? What are the reasons given? Have figures been provided?
“Amazon is very happy with the quality of the series and its critical success. The completion rate is excellent, meaning that most of their subscribers have gone through with the series after starting it. do not know the audience figures, in France and internationally, but they are below the expectations of our sponsor, given the importance of their investment in the production and promotion of the series.
We are very frustrated because we have the impression of having contributed with Mixte to making Prime Video a reference channel for premium French fiction.
It is indeed a series that was expensive, mainly because of the additional costs associated with filming during the second wave of the pandemic. And the promotion they did at the time of release was massive.
We understand these economic arguments, all broadcasters think in terms of return on investment and set audience targets, but we are very frustrated because we have the impression of having really contributed with Mixte to what Prime Video become a benchmark channel for premium French fiction. “
Wasn’t it considered to make a second season with less resources?
“This is one of the arguments that we put forward, especially since on a second season, we are already saving on preparation: we have our cast, our sets. With the experience of the season 1, we can optimize costs. But these arguments did not carry enough. “
We can’t bring ourselves to abandon all these characters that we adore. We still hope to make a sequel …
What was your ambition for the overall development of the series before this news?
“The initial ambition was to produce several seasons, each season representing a school year. And that the narration goes until 1968 which symbolically marks the culmination of this societal change whose premises are described in the first season.”
What state of mind are you in now and beyond?
“It’s still very fresh but we are trying to make sure that the series continues in another form. We cannot bring ourselves to give up all these characters that we adore. And then we are very attached to its creator. , to the actors, to the team.
Everyone gave their best and the result is frankly a success. We can see that the series has been appreciated by many people, professionals and the general public. Mixed brings together all the generations in front of the screen, you can watch it with your teenagers, which is rare! We still hope to make a sequel. “
(Re) discover Mixte in pictures