Yves Rénier, recently deceased, is often remembered for his mythical incarnation of Commissioner Moulin. It is quickly forgotten that the actor was also a director. And long before the BBC and Netflix, he had the idea of making a film on The Serpent.
It’s an anecdote that can make you smile as much as it shivers down your spine. Now that Charles Sobhraj is known around the world, thanks to the success of the mini-series The Serpent, we take full measure of the horrors that this serial killer has committed.
Although a book was already dedicated to Charles Sobhraj, The Serpent’s Trail (Serpentine in English) published by Thomas Thompson in 1979, Charles Sobhraj has already made the cover of newspapers and made about him in the press. But nothing comparable to the now international notoriety that it enjoys today.
Yet this “celebrity” could have happened sooner. Yves Rénier already had the idea of making a film inspired by the murderous madness of Charles Sobhraj and his accomplices, Marie-Andrée Leclerc and Ajay Chowdhury.
An article by Release dating back to 1997 recounts the eventful return to France of Charles Sobhraj after his release from prison in India. At this time, Yves Rénier is delighted to be able to see the man he had already been interviewed twice in New Delhi when he was in prison. He delivers his motivation on a daily basis despite the hustle and bustle surrounding the arrival on French territory of the Serpent :
Sobhraj still has an unusual life, underlines Yves Rénier, he is both attractive and repulsive. Clever. Manipulator. He’s a chess player
Also in 1997, another article by The Independent this time confirms the excitement around the serial killer and concludes with his words: “Two months later, things are going well for the ex-convict. The directors are scrambling to obtain the rights to the films on its history, including Yves Rénier and Oliver Stone. Robert de Niro was nominated for the role. The manuscript of his memoirs is in the hands of the agents. Offers are under consideration.“