Eiffel at the cinema, a twenty-five-year project: Part 3 – A thriller à la True Detective

Martin Bourboulon and Romain Duris enter the scene, Tatiana de Rosnay is inspired by Nic Pizzolatto’s series and the producer flashes on the revelation of Sex Education.

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 produced under the direction of Martin Bourboulon.

As it finally hits theaters this week, here’s the tale of its incredible epic.

By Thierry Cheze

Eiffel: a great popular film [critique]

The first parts are to be read here and the

We are in 2018 and this is where Martin Bourboulon comes into play, when his father Frédéric mentions his name to Vanessa van Zuylen. “Immediately I have a flash, explains the producer. I wanted a Gustave Eiffel director. Someone daring who was going to have to invent a new challenge. ” Bourboulon immediately fell in love with this story and only one name to embody Eiffel: Romain Duris. The new team therefore starts to move. Not without tensions, between a screenwriter who does not want to be deprived of the project of a lifetime and a producer and a director who also have their vision. The project will bend but never will break because all have the same goal: for the film to be made. What is not yet won when Thomas Bidegain comes to lend a hand to the scenario by working with Caroline Bongrand and Martin Bourboulon. At the same time, we obviously have to find the one who will camp Adrienne. A French actress lets it be known that she is interested but her hesitations are worrying. Until the day when Vanessa van Zuylen watches Sex Education. “And there I see our Adrienne: a punk with piercings and a cockney accent. A priori, nothing to see. But I have another flash! “ She discovers that the young actress speaks French. In a week, Emma Mackey says yes and Vanessa van Zuylen leaves with Martin Bourboulon in London to meet her. Their enthusiasm contaminates Pathé. Everything is finally rolling. Except that the filming dates for season 2 of Sex Education have fallen. And as she must then continue with Death on the Nile, Emma Mackey is no longer available until … March 2020. “So I bluffed, admits the producer. I made believe that everything was rolling. “

However, at the same time, the film suffered a new setback. On April 15, 2019, Pathé retakes the script. Vanessa van Zuylen then decides to contact her friend Tatiana de Rosnay who accepts a consultation. “She said to me: ‘Eiffel must be a True Detective thriller. You don’t have to know straight away who Adrienne is. ” “ She therefore has the idea of ​​the flashback story that Nathalie Carter comes to make concrete in writing. All at a steady pace to get the green light from Pathé as quickly as possible, while the bad news follows one another. TF1 says no, France Televisions too. M6 remains but hopes are quickly showered. “They tell me they love it but don’t make historical films or dramas anymore”, explains the 30 producer. “Except that Vanessa never lets go” insists Martin Bourboulon who builds the universe of his film with First Man in mind. “I loved the way Chazelle took us as much in the conquest of space as in the intimacy of his central character. This is exactly what I wanted for Eiffel. “ At the same time, Pathé validates the scenario. In June, all the lights turn green. M6, Île-de-France … even Emma Mackey’s dates!

Emma Mackey, the Eiffel asset: “My desire for French cinema was growing stronger”

Large popular fresco

The first part of the filming takes place from the end of August to October 2019. The second is set for March 17, 2020. But the Saturday preceding, Emmanuel Macron announces the general confinement of the country. “There, I tell myself that the film is dead, admits Vanessa van Zuylen. Then I pull myself together and decide to resume the fight. She then fights to restart as soon as possible. She juggles with insurance, health requirements, new dates to find for Emma Mackey. And nothing will be in vain. Filming for the second part resumes on June 1, 2020 for five weeks. A long postproduction phase then begins because the film struggles to find its balance. “We had beautiful images, magnificent actors but too little emotion”, sums up Bourboulon. But at the end of thirty-six weeks of assembly, Eiffel does indeed exist in all its ambition of great popular fresco. Its release is scheduled for May 5. A date that will be postponed to August, then to October 13. This time it’s the right one, Eiffel finally released in the cinema, after twenty-four years of twists and turns.

Excluded – Romain Duris: How I became Eiffel

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