INTERVIEW – In front of and behind the camera a VisitorsWarner TV’s first original French series in 8X26 minutes that he also wrote about, Simon Astier tells us more about his vision of the comedy and his references made in the United States.
Simone Astier (Hero Corp, Kaamelot ) created, produced and executed Visitorsthe first French original series of Warner TV, with a very nice eclectic cast: Tiphaine Daviot, Vincent Desagnat, Florence Loiret-Caille, Henri Guybet, Vincent Deniard, Arnaud Tsamère … A fiction in 8X26 minutes, half comedy, half – science fiction and many other things, to be discovered from May 10 at 20:55, in which he plays Richard, a policeman from the city of Pointe Claire whose couple is in trouble and who finds himself confronted with extraterrestrials …
TV MAGAZINE. – What is the genesis of this project?
Simone ASTIER.- I like stories that take place in worlds far from our reality, an exotic and spectacular environment, it is also a way to talk about us. I’ve always wanted to tell about extraterrestrial invasions. I was fed by the films of the 90s. It is a comforting universe because this mystery accompanied me as a child. I responded to Warner’s project request and voila! They remained faithful despite postponements linked to the health crisis.
Does American production mean more means?
No, it is a series that can be defined as independent, we are far from classic budgets, but we had crazy freedom! Also, we campaigned to have our childhood Warner logo in the credits, and working with Warner meant I could use images of Batman you hate Gremlins ...
How do you know a gag will work?
I have no idea. Oddly, I never think about people, the effect it can have on them. For having done so many scenes, we are always surprised by a laugh. It is never where I imagined it to be. When I write, I try to talk about something I know, that I have experienced, more at the level of the themes and what they say about the human. As for the humor, that’s mine. I feel it as I will feel it in real life. We can never know, otherwise it means that we apply formulas, while singularity is essential.
How would you rate your humor?
Freddo. I love phlegm, distance, English comedies, with something a little schoolboy at times, or clever at times. But I like “serious” comedy, when nothing around indicates it’s funny. There are references to the homage, such as a file X that shook my childhood or Night of the Living Dead in the fantastic comedy. It is truly a declaration of love for a generation of series or film.
In all positions, how much time do you find to devote to your acting job?
We would like more and more time, but this creates an urgency that can be interesting. It pushes you to your limits, it forces you to be efficient, inventive, get to the point.
As an actor, do you have a typical background?
It depends, there is a difference between the scene and the image. I only act when it’s fun, so sometimes I don’t even feel like an actor. For Visitors, I wrote a character who goes through a moment of his life with doubts, questions that I know. So the preparation happens right from the writing, which is responsible for real life. The background work is already done, it’s easier when it’s my words, I don’t need to connect to the character. Then there is the assembly of the game with that of the others.
Does the comedy, the rhythm of which must be precise, leave room for improvisation?
Not too much. There is a musicality. The actors who are strong in comedy are very technical.
Comedy series, especially in France, are difficult to make …
The comedy is extremely intimate. To make people laugh is often to compensate for modesty, so it is difficult to transcribe it in the image. I don’t know if I’m doing a comedy. The tone of Visitors it tells me what I am, with melancholy, distance, comedy, drama … Comedy doesn’t hold everything together, it’s sprinkled.
What did you mean Visitors?
This is a reverse love story. The couple is the basis of this series. We wonder what these two are doing together and, going back in history, we realize how much they unwittingly disliked each other, and how much they can love each other again. People are now so educated in serial storytelling, flashbacks, flashforwards … We have total freedom of tone and narrative tool. I no longer hold back from the script.
What was the gap compared hero body ?
We have grown older, he is more adult, we have also become more skilled in our trade. The series evoked a question of legitimacy, of the weight of belonging. This is someone who has moved on in life. He carries a lot of things on his shoulders. There is a melancholy but in the action. They are characters poorly equipped to do what they have to do but who have a moving and fragile personality.
What a pleasure it is to be a simple director, to slip into the patterns of a series you don’t like Mortal?
I often use the metaphor: this job is to drive cars. If I am invited to drive a beautiful car, I do it with great pleasure. And the universe of Mortal it is very strong. It is an urban universe, contemporary, very defined, concrete, with magic.
Which of your activities is the most fulfilling?
All. That’s why it’s messy sometimes! I’m not very clanic. I got a lot of people involved VisitorsI like the idea of expanding the strip.
What your parents Lionnel Astier and Josée Drevon and your stepbrother Alexandre (Kaamelott, Asterix: the domain of the gods)?
I didn’t grow up with Alexandre. My parents gave me respect for work, taking things seriously. I grew up behind the scenes of a public theater, a national stage. I’ve always seen passionate people who worked like dogs. You must never stop seeking, creating, failing to improve. Work in my family is almost a religion.
You wanted to be a director, why did you go in front of the camera?
Yes, I’ve always seen myself more in directing, even with Alban Lenoir, my childhood friend. My first project at 18 was to direct it and we had so much fun we played together. I’ve always had the sensitivity to want to tell stories through images. But acting, the verb is right, is really a game with my friends.
What do you keep from experience Kaamelot?
It is an incredible phenomenon. We had the texts in the morning, we learned to wear makeup, we had to be efficient. There were so many talents that a very strong point of view was needed: my character had to stand up, with convictions. If you have to stick to one thing, it’s sincerity, the heart you do things with. There is an urgency in TV, in the series, which makes us draw on experience, on references, I like this a lot. Cinema remains a desire but it is another rhythm, another commitment.
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