We are in 1972. Two years after his first production, Le Distrait, Pierre Richard puts the cover back, directing and interpreting the main character of Les Malheurs d’Alfred. There he encamped a professional architect who saw his buildings crumble. One day, when he decides to end it by throwing himself from a bridge, he crosses paths with Agathe, a depressed TV presenter. Together, they cheer each other up and Alfred finds himself, a bit by chance, at the head of a game show team. Luck will finally smile on him.
Le Distracted and Les Malheurs d’Alfred will bring together 1.4 and 1.3 million spectators respectively, making Pierre Richard a key figure in French comedy. Subsequently, in 1974, the actor shines in front of Claude Zidi’s camera in La Moutarde comes to my nose after having triumphed in the saga Le Grand Blond. The story follows Pierre, a teacher in a boarding school in a small town in the Midi. He also writes the speeches of his father, in full electoral election, without forgetting the articles for his friend Patrick, a critic of spectacles.
His students then have the good idea to invert the contents of the files. Pierre then finds himself in a host of funny and disconcerting situations. The feature film gathered 3.7 million spectators in 1974. A few years after this film, in 1981, the actor and director achieved recognition with the worldwide success of La Chèvre. The triumph does not stop at the borders of France and its 7 million admissions but extends in particular to Hong Kong!
The films with Pierre Richard work very well in these regions because of the very visual gags offered by the latter. In 1981, the actor therefore flew to the Chinese city to promote La Chèvre. The film’s distributor in Hong Kong then arranges a meeting for the actor. She would like him to meet martial arts star Jackie Chan. The latter also uses very visual gags in his works and the distributor would see a collaboration between the two artists.
“At the time, Jackie Chan was not what he became after, he was not making movies in Hollywood yet, he was only shooting in China”, confides Pierre Richard in his book I know nothing but I will say everything written in collaboration with Jérémie Imbert and published by Flammarion. The famous interpreter of Marin des mers de Chine or Battles de maître is enthusiastic. “Why not make a movie together?”, gets carried away by the actor? “A police comedy with a Chinese detective and a Frenchman, it could have been explosive”, says Richard.
The Foreigner with Jackie Chan on TMC: why did the filming cause panic in London?
“Maybe it’s a bit of my fault, I didn’t follow the blow, I didn’t say to my French producer: Let’s see Jackie Chan again. But Jackie could also have said to his producer: Let’s see him again. Pierre Richard. We didn’t and he left for the United States “, regrets the actor. We could have had a French Rush Hour almost 20 years before! The idea of a detective comedy with a duet that everything opposes exposed by Pierre Richard is found a little in the feature film worn by Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. The latter embodies a sort of American Pierre Richard, clumsy and cheeky.