France 3 is showing the film Monsieur Je-sais-tout tonight, in which Arnaud Ducret plays a football coach who sees his 13-year-old nephew, Asperger’s autism, land in his life.
The film is adapted from a book by Alain Gillot called The Penalty Area. The two directors, Stéphan Archinard and François Prévôt-Leygonie met him in La Rochelle, where he lives, to talk to them about their desire to translate his novel (the first!) Into a film and are surprised by his career. “He has a crazy career, completely atypical. He has had a thousand trades, from lumberjack to truck driver, while looking for a job in which he can write. One thing led to another, he became a sports journalist and then a reporter, toured the world and ended up setting foot in the cinema. He became a “nigger” with Luc Besson and worked with documentary maker Stéphane Peyron. “
In the book, the environment of the story is located in the east of France. In the film, in agreement with the author, the directors took the story further south and west, to La Rochelle.
“We were looking for a strong, athletic, sympathetic, thunderous actor, halfway between a Lino Ventura and a Gérard Lanvin. An actor capable of being in a coming and going of the game that is both internalized and very externalized, very physical, very empathetic when he plays the coach “. After seeing all his films, the two directors were won over.
Max Baissette de Malglaive won all the votes to play the character of Leo, the autistic teenager. “Max has maturity and wisdom (…) Personally I think he is a genius of interpretation. We can ask him what we want, he does it. He’s a chameleon “.
Before starting filming, the two directors introduced Malglaive’s Max Baissette to a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome. “He didn’t take his eyes off her during the three hour interview. Like he was vampirizing her / Yet when he started playing, he didn’t copy her. He invented his own Leo, but with a truth and an interiority that knocked us to the ground ”.
The duo of actors was difficult to film because of their height difference (1.92m / 1.53m). “We asked our cinematographer to play the magicians,” say the directors who had to make “cutouts” to give the impression that Max is constantly walking behind Arnaud, glued to him like a pilot fish on a shark.
Arnaud Ducret worked with his coach to be ready for the film. She also accompanied him during the first fifteen days of filming. He also saw Rain Man several times “to try to find Tom Cruise’s relationship with Dustin Hoffman.” The music for the film was often played on set.
Max Baissette de Malglaive struggled with the football scenes. A sport the teenager was not familiar with. “No matter how much I took lessons in Paris and then continued to train with a coach in La Rochelle, I struggled a lot.”
Vincent Barteau (Arnaud Ducret), 35, a 1.92m football coach, sees his nephew, Léo, 13, 1.53m autistic with Asperger and a distinguished chess player, tumbling through his daily life as a die-hard bachelor. This meeting, as singular as it was explosive, will turn the existence of Vincent MONSIEUR upside down and offer Leonardo the chance of his life.
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