Creator of the new French series on the platform, Quoc Dang Tran explains how he drew on his childhood memories, from Stand By Me to the Goonies, to imagine Parallèles.
FIRST : After carding with Marianneon Netflix, you’re tackling a completely different genre with Parallels…
QUOC DANG TRAN: The main coloring of the series, it is pure science fiction. Since we start from this basic question: “what if?” It’s a concept that we find in a lot of SF works. But at the same time, Parallels is also a mix of genres: there is a lot of romantic comedy, drama of course, also a bit of thriller… Having worked on many other things, like nox, Kabul Kitchenor Ten percent, I just love mixing genres. I do it naturally, without even realizing it in fact. And besides, I would go even further: I believe that my ambition for the future is not so much to invent a new genre, but more to mix genres at will. Trying new things on that path.
“In Parallèles, it’s really the human being that highlights science fiction”
Parallels is a Disney series. Did you have to adapt your way of writing?
Of course, there are Disney values. But these are values that match my references to me, who grew up in the 1980s, with The Goonieswith Stand-by-Mewith Back to the future. All this Steven Spielberg’s Amblin culture, which did not do gratuitous violence. I reconnected to this to develop Parallels and it ended up being quite simple.
When you imagine this kind of story with drawers, with intersecting worlds, is it complicated not to get lost along the way?
It takes a lot of method. You have to follow the plot closely. We don’t go into this thinking that if there are inconsistencies, it doesn’t matter, that people may not realize it… Especially since the public of this kind of series is very invested. It really requires a lot of rigor and we have developed a very solid structure, which works in itself and from which we have been able to derive consequences.
Seeing the first episode, we necessarily think a little about Dark. Parallelsit’s a Dark French or not at all?
Not especially. Afterwards, it’s true that there are points in common, in particular because we are in the same genre of fantasy and SF. Also because the heroes are teenagers. And finally because we find them in the forest. But the similarities end there with Dark. It’s the imagery – that bunker in the forest – that will call for comparison, but in reality the rest of the series has little to do with it. Darkas its name suggests, is a much darker series. Parallels adopts a lighter tone, and it’s very much a story about teenage friendships, in the vein of Stand-by-Me or some Goonies. We are really in that filiation and we certainly could not say the same thing about Dark.
Stephen King had dubbed Marianne in 2019. Who would you like to see validated Parallels in 2022?
It’s funny, because I’ve already thought about it! And imagine that I would love for Steven Spielberg to validate our series. Because Parallels, it’s really a tribute to his universe, to this cinema of the 80s. I grew up with Spielberg and his imagination… so if you ever meet him, drop him a note from me so that he watches the series ! (laughs) Unfortunately, I think, unlike Stephen King, he doesn’t tweet much…