For his first achievement, Gad Elmaleh portrayed the megalomania of a bling-bling billionaire. A look back at a comedy that parodies the nouveau riche.
Coco, 40, wealthy self-made man has built a colossal fortune thanks to “wriggling water”, a subtle blend of still and sparkling water. This white gold exported all over the world ensures it an insolent success. Incorrigible megalomaniac, the entrepreneur plans to turn his son’s bar mitzvah into a pharaonic feast, just to wow his hundreds of guests. Small problem: a certain Zerbib, a jealous competitor, plots in the shadows to spoil the event for him …
On the occasion of the replay of the comedy by and with Gad Elmaleh, this evening on TFX, a look back at its making. If at the beginning of 2009, the editorial staff of Première was a little disappointed with the result (our review is to be read below), they were able to ask the creator of Coco a few questions. Flashback.
By Jean-Baptiste Drouet.
Favorite: The Metamorphosis of Gad Elmaleh
Coco? Does this name mean anything to you ? Logic: this colorful megalomaniac is one of the stars of Normal Life, the one-man-show that Gad Elmaleh performed throughout France in 2005. In 2006, producer Alain Goldman, who cried with laughter upon seeing the show, slips to his friend Gad: “Why don’t you adapt this figure to the movies?” Gad accepts on one condition: he wants to direct the film and play the title role. It will take a year and a half to write the screenplay and complete the casting. Fan of Jean Benguigui and of Jacques Spiesser, Gad wants these two actors to be part of the adventure. The first embodies the awful Zerbib, Coco’s sworn enemy. The second plays an old France prefect with undeniable class.
When filming begins in December 2008 in Versailles, Gad is in heaven : “I took great pleasure in going behind the camera”, remembers the comedian. “I discovered that to realize was to show my perception of the world with total freedom.” The comedian discovers the magic of cinema: unlike the stage, a limited space where the artist expresses himself only through his texts and his gestures, the big screen can illustrate, with a great deal of resources, the incredible megalomania of his hero.
Coco likes nice cars? The production will requisition an armada of black Mercedes 600 whose number plates are signed “COCO”. The billionaire likes to travel by yacht and helicopter? A gleaming 50-meter boat with its full crew and two helicopters are rented for a week for the only shot where Gad sits, hair in the wind, on the deck of a yacht launched at full speed. For this other hilarious sequence where Coco, in a bathrobe and thong, relaxes in the sauna, the producers have privatized the Ken Club, the most chic spa in the capital.
Highlight of this flashy show: the famous final scene of the bar mitzvah that Coco is organizing at the Stade de France. For this single sequence, the most expensive of the film, 180 extras, four generators, 20 semi-trailers of 33 tons, thirty security guards and two helicopters are transported in the middle of the night around the real Stade de France. This extraordinary logistics, which still cost a quarter of the 15 million of the initial budget, does not worry too much Gad Elmaleh :“No budget can match Coco’s megalomania!”
Here is Gad Elmaleh’s video interview about Coco, during which he ensures that his character is inspired by real megalos. Without citing them, but we know since the distribution of Kings of scam on Netflix that Mardoché “Marco” Mouly certainly served as a model for him to imagine this story:
Kings of the scam: when reality goes beyond fiction [critique]
Our review of Coco : Coco is the opposite of Chouchou, a modest but happy hero. Megalomaniac but alone, this sacred Coco wants to shine more than the sun with his Mercedes, his yacht and his skyscraper stamped with his initials. Bling-bling, he is ostentatious persona, offering his mom a huge apartment and dreaming of a crazy bar mitzvah for his son. But, at the end of an hour of vain posturing against a background of heavy gags, the irresistible character – from the show Normal Life – gets stuck in his money like Scrooge in his heaps of gold. Coco Elmaleh struggles … Because, while on stage, he can be delirious in front of a conquered audience, he forgets that comic cinema requires real narration, progressive, structured, written and impeccably rhythmic. Coco lacks that chiseled alchemy of laughter so well mastered by Francis Veber, who has always preferred comic duets to jaw-dropping solos.
Guillaume Depardieu and Gad Elmaleh were the first casting choices for La Vérité si je mens!