The Wolf and the Lion: 5 things to know about Gilles de Maistre’s family film

On October 13, spectators will be able to discover the story of the unique friendship between two animals usually opposed in Le Loup et le lion by Gilles de Maistre. Before seeing it in theaters, 5 things to know about this film for the whole family.

THE WOLF AND THE LION

On the death of his grandfather, Alma, a young 20-year-old pianist, returns to his childhood home, lost on a desert island in Canada. There, everything changes when a wolf cub and a lion cub in distress appear in his life. She chooses to keep them to save them and the unlikely happens: they grow up together and love each other like brothers. But their ideal world collapses when their secret is discovered …

The Wolf and the Lion by Gilles de Maistre, on October 13 at the cinema.

THE GENESIS OF THE PROJECT

“How about bringing together the two legendary predators of cinema, the wolf and the lion?” It was on the set of Mia and the White Lion that the idea was born to stage the encounter between a wolf and a lion, two animals generally considered to be natural enemies.

The wolf and the lion: 5 things to know about gilles de maistre's family film - news...
The wolf and the lion

While preparing another parallel project that will not finally see the light of day, director Gilles de Maistre meets Andrew Simpson, animal coordinator specializing in wolves and dogs, who has worked for the cinema for almost 30 years. (The Revenant, Game of Thrones, The Last Wolf).

A discussion between Andrew Simpson, visiting on the set of Mia and the White Lion, and Kevin Richardson, a zoologist specializing in lions, hyenas and panthers, sparked a flash of inspiration for the French director. His wife Prune de Maistre then got down to writing the script for The Wolf and the Lion.

The wolf and the lion
2020 May June Productions – Galatée Films – Wematin Productions – Studiocanal – M6 Films Photo Emmanuel Guionet

FOUR WOLVES AND TWO LIONS

For the purposes of filming, produced without special effects, the film crew welcomed four wolves and two lions, including Walter and Paddington, who play Dreamer and Mozart on the screen. Before launching, Gilles de Maistre and Andrew Simpson made sure that these species could coexist. And to their delight, the result was more than satisfactory!

“The funny thing is that they learned from each other. For example, the lion started digging burrows with the wolves! ” tells the director in the press kit. As with the film’s tandem, a unique relationship was created between the animals throughout the filming. “Their brotherly bond is remarkable. It proves that a canine and a feline can be friends, and even more than friends. And if these two natural enemies can be brothers, that means anyone can. ”

A TEAM OF SPECIALISTS

To supervise the animals on the set, Gilles de Maistre surrounded himself with a team of experts, starting of course with Andrew Simpson, who was accompanied by Caitlyn Olsen, a young woman from South Africa whose father has a refuge for endangered animals and zoo survivors. The director had met her on the set of the documentary series Petits princes.

In order to protect the teams as well as the animals (and possible walkers), a fence 2.5 meters high had been erected all around the sets, and could be moved every evening depending on the shoot.

THE FILM’S MESSAGE

With Le Loup et le lion, Gilles de Maistre wants above all to share a message in favor of the protection of nature and animals. “I start from the principle that we must do positive ecology, we must show beautiful things to want to protect them. […] The world is beautiful, let’s protect it and discover this world through cinema, ” he confided to the microphone of France Blue.

The wolf and the lion
2020 May June Productions – Galatée Films – Wematin Productions – Studiocanal – M6 Films Photo Emmanuel Guionet

AND AFTER ?

Once filming was over, the wolves in the film were supposed to join Andrew Simpson’s ranch in Canada to live in semi-freedom in large enclosures, while the lions were to move to South Africa on a reserve in semi captive managed by Kevin Richardson.

It was obviously without counting on the unique bonds woven between the animals of the film. So as not to separate them, Andrew decided to keep the lions with him in Canada, since they grew up in this country. “They became so close that it was found to be cruel to separate the wolf and the lion, and we have taken steps to ensure that they have a good life on Andrew’s reserve,” explains Gilles de Maistre.

From October 13, discover this incredible story of friendship on the big screen in Le Loup et le lion.

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