Huge success of confinement, the French rap series from Canal Plus returns with a season 2 centered on a female character.
2020 surprise card, Valid returns to Canal + with a season 2 still behind the scenes of the rap game, but under the gaze of a heroine. Meeting with his showrunner, Franck Gastambide, who tells us to pause the series to refocus on cinema.
Premiere: You don’t regret killing the main character after the huge hit in Season 1 of Valid ?
Franck Gastambide: No because when I made this decision I knew what I wanted to do next: start over with a new plot, and a new character, which is more feminine, who would allow us to tell things that we would have. could not tell by continuing the adventure of Apash. On this season 2 it plays better – the novice actors have become professionals – and with the team of authors we have a mastery of the narration of this series which allowed us in my opinion to change things. It was essential after such a violent and unexpected cliffhanger. But it’s true that there is a little anxiety because we really made people love this character. Every day I am asked in the street if he is really dead when the scene is quite explicit.
Valid season 2 is therefore centered on a rapper, L’Alpha, played by Laetitia Kerfa, who is unknown to the general public as Hatik at the time of season 1. Where did you find her?
Thanks to Screech, a rap music video maker who works with me on the show, who had the idea for Hatik before. From season 1 he told me: “If one day you need a girl, there is a pretty incredible girl who is in a small theater in Aubervilliers. She plays and she raps. “I kept that in a corner of my head and when I had the idea for season 2 I went to see her at the theater and it was obvious. Laetitia ticked a lot of boxes , and she squarely inspired the rest of the writing of Season 2 which was not finished at all when we cast it.
So she knew how to act, unlike Hatik who was only a rapper?
She had never shot in front of a camera but she had a real experience of the game unlike Hatik, Brahim or Saïdou. Being able to wear a play, alone on stage, is already an obvious guarantee of quality, not everyone is able to do that. It was very reassuring for me.
With this character of reminders, season 2 of Valid addresses very different issues, linked to her status as a woman. Can we talk about a feminist turn?
The will was obviously to put a woman forward, and the fights of a woman, not only in this rap world, but beyond on the scale of our country. And I don’t think you have to be a feminist to think that a woman has her full place in this environment if she does the job and is talented enough. We would also have thought that with a woman the series would become lighter, less anxiety-provoking, when in truth I think that season 2 is much darker, harder and deals with stronger themes. Also because she is a woman and she must necessarily fight. My character (DJ Sno, Editor’s note) is also skeptical at first.
Is there any pressure to launch this season 2, after the success of season 1 that some have blamed on confinement?
I find this ridiculous speech, it would imply that everything would have worked during confinement, which is very far from the case. For example Netflix had put its series in front of us Vampires with Oulaya Amamra, and it was a terrible failure. Containment has certainly increased the success of Valid, but it does not fully explain it. And honestly, the anxiety about the launch of a season of a series has nothing to do with that of a film release, when you wait for the figures of 2 p.m. with the fear that from the first day of the articles saying that Gastambide flopped. This is digital, whatever happens we will have millions of views and even if it works a little less well than the 1 it will remain a huge success.
Are you already working on season 3? Will she be directing one or another artist?
I give you an excluded: for the moment, I need to change universe and there will be no season 2 of Validated. After the phenomenal success of season 1 I had to go back but I can’t be that guy who will spend his life doing Validated, I need to explore other things, and I am by the way in the process of finalizing the writing of my new film, an action comedy that will be my biggest budget. I also need to let the rap game evolve, see how it inspires me, and maybe in two or three years Validé will come back with a new strong plot.
Do you have any news from Brahim Bouhlel, who is serving a prison sentence in Morocco because of a “humorous” video featuring children?
Brahim has been imprisoned for 5 months now, in difficult conditions. He is aware that he has done something stupid, that he has hurt people. I think he is paying dearly for it. We have him on the phone once every two weeks, calls that last two minutes and then it cuts off. He is going through very difficult times, on our side we help him and help his family. It will be released after the promo, we do not know in what state. We don’t turn our backs on him anyway. There were a lot of attempts at forgiveness, of letters to the King of Marco, so he hoped for a long time that it worked out, but when he understood that he would have to do his 8 months in prison for this failed video he had to take his illness patiently. I tell him to hold on because he will be out soon and will be able to make films. We will see it in particular the film of Mohamed Hamidi with Kad Merad (Honorary Citizen).