Oussekine on Disney+: how the series was born… after 36 years of silence

Antoine Chevrollier is the first author to transpose the Malik Oussekine affair on the screens. Surrounded by a team of authors, he reconstructed the thread of this drama for Disney+. Meeting with the feathers of the series to understand its manufacture.

The first time thatAntoine Chevrolliercreator of the series, hears the name of Malik Oussekine, it is while listening The state kills of the rap group Assassin. The title was released in 1995, he was only 13 years old. Since then, the screenwriter and director has the feeling of being invested with a mission to tell this story. No one had done it before him.

The intimate prism, this mother who loses her son, interests me as much as the case itselfhe explains. In telling this story, I also wanted to illuminate our present. What didn’t happen? What turn was badly negotiated by politicians and our society after this tragedy?

Surround yourself to create

The release of such a series on the Disney platform is amazing. However, everything happened naturally. After directing episodes for The Office of Legends and season 3 of Black BaronAntoine Chevrollier is contacted by Pauline Dauvin, vice-president and director of programs for the firm. Oussekine has already been in the mind of the creator for decades. At Disney, the project won over and the kick-off was launched.

Nevertheless, out of the question for the creator to embark alone. To tell this story, he wants several feathers, different points of view, other sensitivities. So he creates a team. Cedric Ido – screenwriter and director -, Faiza Guene – novelist and screenwriter – and Julien Lilti – screenwriter – join him.

Document yourself, get to know yourself

The first stage of the work was carried out by Lina Soualem, documentary filmmaker. It was she who gathered all the information on the case: press articles, archive images, television reports… She also called on the witnesses and coordinated the writing. His role is essential for the future.

I no longer sleptshe says. All day I watched everything that came out on the case. Matter, there is. It was therefore a choice to hide this story and not to talk about it for years, the proof.”

Oussekine on disney+: how the series was born... After 36 years of silence
Thomas Desroches

From left to d. : Cédric Ido, Julien Lilti, Faïza Guène, Antoine Chevrollier and Lina Soualem.

For the writing to be fluid and for the cohesion of the group to be successful, it was necessary to discover each other. “Before even asking the first words, we talked a lot about Malik, our backgrounds and the eighties.details Julien Lilti. We are of the same generation, but our experiences are so different. Tuning our instruments requires trust, generosity and bringing the other inside oneself.”

On his side, Antoine Chevrollier met Mohamed, Ben Amar and Sarah Oussekine, Malik’s two brothers and sister. Thanks to them, the scriptwriters were able to discover the story from the inside. As for the gray areas, they have been romanticized.

Organize before writing

The team meets around a table every day. They write the main axes on Post-It sheets that they stick to the walls. At the end of the day, they tell each other the episodes again, one by one. Gradually, the material is worked on and the scenario phase can begin. “When one wrote, the other three continued to work on the structure and the trajectories”, says Antoine Chevrollier.

During writing, the documentation stage never stops. The authors watch again and again extracts from television news, old advertisements and even listen to old hits to immerse themselves in the era.

Oussekine on disney+: how the series was born... After 36 years of silence

The portrait of Malik Oussekine, played by Sayyid El Alami.

In their exchanges, each indulges in the intimate. All reveal moments of their lives. They infuse this sensitivity in the writing of the scenes. “The final sequence of episode 1, when the Oussekine family are holding each other in their arms, is something that really happened to Cédric Idosays Julien Lilti. There’s a lot of all of us on the show.”

Faiza Guene continues: “It’s very confusing. Sometimes, intuitively, we almost guessed certain things. When the family met Antoine, these elements were confirmed.”

With Oussekine, the screenwriters hope to bring to light a story that carried an entire country almost forty years ago. Telling and showing so that things don’t repeat themselves. Cedric Ido concludes:We must talk about this violence to prevent those to come.”

Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Paris and Lille, in March 2022.

Oussekine is available on Disney+.

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