Series Mania 2021: Olivier Marchal tells his story alive in an unfiltered MasterClass

In front of the public, the actor and director gave himself open hearted on his very particular journey, from the Criminal Police to television.

Guest of honor of this 2021 edition of Séries Mania, Olivier Marchal did not pretend, in front of the public come in large numbers to listen to him, this Friday afternoon in Lille. The former policeman who became an actor, screenwriter, then director, returned at length to his very particular story, which led him to television and cinema screens. He recounted his past as a cop. His outstanding investigations. Even traumatic. Those who forged him and inspired his career thereafter. Throat tied, trying hard to contain his tears, he remembers that Christmas evening when he found two little girls executed in their bed by their father, in a bloody family massacre. “It ruined my life …”

The exercise was very emotional for those who are successful in adapting Purple Rivers for two years. It must be said thatOlivier Marchal has searched far into his memories, surrendering himself without filter to festival-goers. He remembers this “substitute French teacher, to whom I owe a lot. A teacher who knew how to channel the dirty kid that I was at the time, who was close to being fired from college, by making me do theater. I loved. First of all because it was cool, girls liked it … “, smiles the filmmaker who then explains why he did not immediately try to make a career, when he was dying of envy:

“For my father, being an actor was Gabin, Delon and nothing else. So I took the exams to join the police force … because I read a lot of detective novels. I wanted to to be a Belmondo or Lino Ventura cop. A movie cop actually. “

But very quickly caught up with the reality and the brutality of the field, the young Marchal suffers the full brunt of the violence of the society in which he lives. “I got to the criminal very early. And quite quickly I was confronted with the case that I related, years later, in my movie MR73. It marked me a lot. I became paranoid. I realized that there really are monsters on Earth. So I left and joined the anti-terrorist section.

A change of scenery and an upheaval in the history of the policeman, who will therefore meet people who will change his life: “I was hiding with Simon Michaël, my boss, who was working on the Ripoux script at the time. He told us about the scenes during the hideouts and he invited us to take a tour of the set. There I met Philippe Noiret, someone who meant a lot to me. I saw the spotlights, Pigalle lit up at night … “

Become “night-time”, Olivier Marchal then goes on night shifts, to have as much free time as possible to devote himself to his passion: the theater. “I had a relationship of a few months with a young actress, Michèle Laroque, not to quote her. And she told me that if I didn’t really try to become an actor, then I would regret it all my life. So I passed the Conservatory competition. I was accepted, and it was on … “

Immediately, his cop experience inspires Olivier Marchal. His vision of the profession. His painful memories too. “The very first screenplay I wrote was called Unimportant Cops. It was about the real life of cops, the ones you didn’t see in the movies.“The movie was never made, but the script was transformed some time later into an episode of Commissioner Moulin.

The voice becomes more trembling. Olivier Marchal then remembers the day when Yves Rénier, who disappeared last year at the age of 78, called him to tell him about his script. To tell him that he wanted to make it an investigation of the Commissioner Moulin. Or how the one who was going to become his friend, thus put his foot in the stirrup, a first step in this environment which made shine the eyes ofOlivier Marchal always…

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