She had to fight for justice, but also to be heard and believed by those around her. Tennis player Isabelle Demongeot was raped for nine years by her trainer, aged 14 to 23. It is his story and his fight that tells on Monday evening the telefilm of TF1 Service stolen. It is the actress Julie de Bona who embodies the sportswoman. She is well known to TF1 viewers, having appeared in many fictions such as Le Bazar de la Charité and Plan B.

>> Find the media newspapers every morning at 9:10 am on Europe 1 as well as in replay and podcast here

To prepare for this role, Julie de Bona read Isabelle Demongeot’s book and met her. A more powerful source of information than a scenario, to fully understand what the tennis player has endured, put herself in her shoes, understand her feelings, her difficulties. Acting a true story is an exciting exercise for an actress, but it is also much more impressive than fiction.

“We, actors, make fiction to entertain and tell stories. But often our characters are imaginary. This leaves us a creative freedom”, explains Julie de Bona at the microphone of Europe 1. “There, I had so much want to respect Isabelle Demongeot, her drama and her story, that puts an additional pressure. I wanted to get as close as possible to what she lived, and not betray her. The shooting of certain scenes hurt me physically.”

What marked Julie de Bona in the story of Isabelle Demongeot is this kind of double sentence: having been raped for nine years, undergoing a trauma and, when she manages to talk about it years later, having to ceaselessly answer a question: “Why didn’t you say it before?”.

Years of having to justify himself, in addition to his legal fight for prescribed facts. Years also spent warning about violence in sport. “It’s something that she has been wearing for many years, since the end of the trial: to communicate, educate, change things in the world of sport, help parents protect their children,” recalls Julie de Bona.

“She’s been in this fight for years. I hope that the film will free her and that she will be able to share the responsibility with others, let go of the fight a little and live, finally,” she continues.