Will Samuel be able to move forward after Leïla’s death in “Tomorrow belongs to us”? Axel Kiener came back for us on the departure of Samira Lachhab and teased us the rest of the relationship between Alma and Samuel.
AlloCiné: In Tomorrow belongs to us, the life of your character, Samuel, has just been turned upside down by the death of Leïla. How did you react when you heard of Samira Lachhab’s departure? Did she warn you of her departure long before this ark was filmed?
Axel kiener : No, it wasn’t something I was aware of. I was a little surprised, of course, but I still knew that Samira wanted to explore other things. She had asked to leave for a few months, because she had been in Tomorrow belongs to us for three years, she wanted to breathe a little. And I think that at the level of artistic production there was also a desire to kill one of the main characters, and they surely took advantage of Samira’s absence to submit this idea to her and suggest that she leave. And Samira accepted. I think that’s how it turned out, although I haven’t talked too much about it with her. And today Samira looks very happy, she keeps spinning (laughs). So I think it was bad for good.
You know, there is this three-year milestone which is always a bit critical when you shoot in a daily newspaper. From the point of view of the actors, the characters, like the producers. I imagine the public gets bored sometimes. And as an actor we necessarily wonder at some point what we’re going to do. Do I continue? Am I leaving. I know these are questions I ask myself as an actor. And as far as I’m concerned, it will be three years in January that I will be in Tomorrow belongs to us, so I will reach this critical threshold shortly.
Precisely, to go a little in this direction, did you have the feeling that the Samuel-Leïla relationship was starting to turn in circles and that it was necessary to make things happen in one way or another?
When I heard that Samira was leaving for several months, I told the production that if Leïla came back, I didn’t want her to come back the same way. I had the feeling that we had taken a look at the relationship between Samuel and Leïla, that we had explored all its ways. The separations, the reconciliations. Then what do we do? We become a little couple plan-plan? Dramaturgically, it’s not very interesting. Especially in a series like Tomorrow belongs to us where there must be daily twists. So for me, at the time of separation, this story had to be ended for good. I did not envision a flashback between Samuel and Leïla. That no longer interested me because we had gone to the end of the separation when Leïla left for Belgium. With very pretty scenes. And everything that we filmed afterwards in connection with his return and his accident was also very beautiful. We had some beautiful, very intense things to play together with Samira. It was a nice way of saying goodbye, for the characters, but also as actors, because we really said goodbye at that point.
For some time now, Samuel has been more successful in increasing his humanity and his fragility. Are you happy with this evolution and this new facet that the writers allow you to play?
Of course. There was a real evolution in the writing of the character and suddenly, me, as an actor, it allowed me to evolve Samuel towards something more generous, despite the not easy character that he is. knows (laughs). I think that all the tragedies he suffered and what he lived with the discovery of the existence of his daughter, and the love that Leïla gave him, it opened the field of possibilities for Samuel. And even if he remains a little dirty kid, to say everything he thinks and to think only of his face, he has really opened up to the other. And I really have things to bring to that side, on his sensitivity. It is important. Otherwise the character becomes just a caricature. And there is still the asshole who takes drugs, but that too we did the trick I think. And I don’t want to keep playing the same things over and over. So, yeah, I’m thrilled with everything I’ve been able to bring to the character lately and I feel like the audience has been enjoying it. And I’m happy with what we did on this last plot, around Leïla’s death. Because we shoot at a crazy pace and I think we got away with it. The result is frankly good.
What can you say about what awaits Samuel in the next episodes? Noor is going to take a step towards him and help him mourn, right?
Yes, I found it super interesting. These two characters hated each other above all, for all the reasons we know, and suddenly the death of Leïla will bring them together. They will find a common ground linked to their suffering following the death of the one who meant so much to them. Noor eventually realizes that Leïla was the love of her life and that she cannot continue to blame Samuel for everything she has suffered because of him. I find this reversal very interesting. Afterwards, I don’t know where it will go, if it will be developed or not later, but I find that it is a nice approach to the characters.
Noor will also encourage Alma not to let go of Samuel and help him through this difficult time. Do you think their love story has a future?
Yes. It’s a real love story that will develop, of course. I think it’s going to be solid between Alma and Samuel, it’s not a passing fad. There is a real breeding ground for love that is taking place.
There was a real beautiful chemistry evident from the start between Samuel and Alma. And also between Camille de Pazzis and you. Did you know each other before we toured Tomorrow Belongs to Us?
No, we had never toured together. But, for the anecdote, I had met Camille during an evening at TF1. It was around the time of the Charity Bazaar it seems to me. I went to say hello to a producer friend and he happened to be with Camille. We talked for two minutes, but that’s it. And time has passed. And then one day there was a casting for the character of Alma, after Samira left, and the producers showed me the girls who were going to be cast. I said “Ok, fine, let’s have a try.” But I also asked them if I could suggest someone. So I suggested Camille, who had already worked for TF1 and whose work I had seen a little, even though we didn’t know each other. The production said ok, I sent Camille a message on Instagram, and she agreed to take some tests. And during the tests it matched really well. So much so that the producer, Vincent Meslet, asked me if we already knew each other. There was obviously already a real chemistry in the image at that time.
So I am delighted. Glad to have thought of her, glad she accepted, and glad she got the part. It’s because of her talent that she got it, it’s not because of me, but I’m glad the production listened to my suggestion. And I’m delighted to shoot with Camille, she’s a great actress, and we get along very well. I find that his character brings a new breath, it really feels good. Alma is a bright person, even though she has had a somewhat chaotic and difficult journey. And she does good to Samuel.
Interview on October 22, 2020 by phone.