The Origin of Evil: 5 things to know about this game of family massacre with Laure Calamy

On the occasion of the release of “The Origin of Evil” by Sébastien Marnier, here are five things to know about this family thriller with Laure Calamy.

The Origin of Evil of Sebastien Marnier

With Laura Calamy, Doria Tillier, Dominique White

What is it about ? In a luxurious villa by the sea, a modest young woman finds a strange family: an unknown and very rich father, his whimsical wife, his daughter, an ambitious businesswoman, a rebellious teenager and a disturbing servant. Someone is lying. Between suspicions and lies, mystery sets in and evil spreads…

A film about the family

The Origin of Evil 5 things to know about this
Laurent Champoussin

In his personal life, Sébastien Marnier sought to find his place in his family by using humor. At the same time, he held a role of observer there which nourished him to write, and this since childhood. Thus, The Origin of Evil is inspired by many people he knows. The director explains:

“Jeanne is a secondary character but she sheds light on the note of intent of the film. Returned from abroad to follow her mother, she finds herself in this haunted palace to be an observer but also an actress. It is a film about the Family where everyone plays a role, so it’s also a film about the Actors.”

Draw on his experience

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Laurent Champoussin

In The Origin of Evil, Sébastien Marnier recounts a particular moment in his mother’s story. One day, at the age of 60, the latter found her father: he was a banker in Poitiers, rather to the right of the political spectrum (while the filmmaker comes from a communist family from the city of 4,000):

“My mother loved it from the first second when my brother and I were almost banned from dating right-wing people! It was beautiful and sweet to see, but it stirred me a lot: this meeting was shatter a number of my parents’ principles.”

“The meeting between my mother and her father did indeed begin with a phone call, with the same lines that you hear in the film. The sequel is much more fictional and romantic. And much more twisted! When Stéphane arrives in his new family, she’s lying.”

The villa as a central character

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Laurent Champoussin

When writing the screenplay, the house where the film takes place appeared in an abstract way in the mind of Sébastien Marnier, like “a large Riviera-type house”. The director then remembered that he visited an atypical villa in 2018, a sort of ostentatious and kitsch palace. He remembers:

“When I revisited it in anticipation of the movie, it struck me as really weird and scary and I suddenly realized how I could use it from basement to ceiling – I didn’t recreate anything in the studio. During location scouting, I filmed and photographed her, then I rewrote the script based on her.”

“I couldn’t imagine any other house for the film. Who else but Louise to have a pink marble staircase! And all camera movements became possible in these 4,500m 2! As the character of Louise throws nothing away, however, it had to be fulfilled.”

“In terms of logistics, especially for the decoration team, it was a real challenge. From the writing, I made it clear that it was a house that looked like a mausoleum. Damien Rondeau, the chief decorator, and his fifteen team members had to dress him and they ended up bringing 3,000 items back to that house.”

A common point

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Laurent Champoussin

After Impeccable and Exit time, Sébastien Marnier is directing a new thriller with The Origin of Evil. For the director, these three films also have in common to stage class defectors. Thus, in Irreproachable, the character of Marina Fois tried in vain to rebuild his life in Paris. In The Hour of the Exit, Laurent Lafitte finds himself propelled into a world that is unknown to him.

Atypical composer

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Laurent Champoussin

Pierre Lapointe composed the music for the film with real instruments. Sébastien Marnier wanted something organic, but also emotional and electric: “There are therefore impulses, screeches, disturbing croaking of frogs…”

“This is the advantage of working with a musician who is not experienced in the exercise of film music. There is no automatism and the result is very singular. So much so that this music only resembles to itself: it is varied and yet remains very homogeneous.”

“Pierre is a musician that I have been following for twenty years. We met six years ago and we became rather good friends. I can’t find any equivalent in France: he can work for exhibitions, be a jury at The Voice, collaborating with stylists or the Museum of Fine Arts.”

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