Screenwriter Caroline Bongrand’s bluff to adapt Gustave Eiffel’s life to the big screen.
This article was originally published in the Premiere n ° 517 (April 2021).
An adventure made of endless stop-and-go for a quarter of a century, and a happy outcome: Eiffel, a great love film against the backdrop of the construction of the famous tower, was able to see the light of day under the direction of Martin Bourboulon.
As it finally hits theaters this week, here’s the tale of its incredible epic.
By Thierry Cheze
Excluded – Romain Duris: How I became Eiffel
What does the fate of a film depend on? Sometimes a childhood memory that resurfaces when you don’t expect it. A miniature Eiffel Tower that serves as a blanket, for example… But be patient. Because the story ofEiffel, the third feature by Martin Bourboulon after the two Mom or dad, is a real saga. And to tell it, you have to go back in time … until 1997. Author of five novels, Caroline Bongrand has a desire for cinema. She sets sail for Los Angeles within the prestigious USC where she is taught that she must propose as many projects as possible, as often as possible. The novelist therefore applies this concept to the letter and, in her tour of production companies, after a complicated meeting, inadvertently collides with the boss of the box who invites her to pitch her stories to her. He doesn’t cling to any. ” Nothing else ? “ he throws him. “ Yes, but it’s too expensive for you! ” Obviously, that piques his curiosity. She panics, but the memory of her 6-year-old blanket resurfaces. “I give him a hand: the Eiffel Tower. And, bluffing, I begin to explain to him that it was built out of love in the shape of an A like the first name of the one Gustave Eiffel loved. “
The bluff works. He signs her a contract. In a panic, Caroline Bongrand calls a friend in Paris, asks him to raid bookstores to find books on Gustave Eiffel and send them to him. Four days later, she immersed herself in it… and discovered that everything she had invented was true or almost. “Gustave had madly loved a woman named Adrienne. They were brutally separated because Adrienne’s bourgeois family did not find him good enough for her. And he was heartbroken for it. I also find out that he initially refused to build the tower. Before, suddenly, to change your mind. Without anyone knowing why. ” Caroline Bongrand holds the basis of her screenplay. A romantic film combining a heartbreaking love story and the construction of one of the most famous monuments in the world.
To be continued…
Eiffel at the cinema, a twenty-five year project: Part 2 – Depardieu, Adjani, Besson and Ridley Scott Eiffel at the cinema, a twenty-five year project: Part 3 – A thriller à la True Detective