Stephen Chow was supposed to play Shaolinsoccerus in Asterix at the Olympics

Stephen Chow was supposed to play Shaolinsoccerus in Asterix at the Olympics
Pathé / Metropolitan FilmExport

Frédéric Forestier also regrets having had to cut a dance scene by Monica Cruz.

BFM TV looks back at the complicated creation ofAsterix at the Olympic Games, by Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langman, which attracted 6.8 million viewers at the cinema in 2008, but yet received bad reviews. Several reasons are mentioned to explain the failure of this French-style blockbuster, which cost 78 million euros, and we learn in passing full of anecdotes, especially with regard to its casting. In the process of writing, the producer thus had the idea of ​​integrating new characters in order to be able to hire international stars, and thereby find additional funding abroad. The team then cites two stars who were approached for this film: the Hong Kong actor and director Stephen Chow, who had just hit the world with his comedy on football. Shaolin Soccer, and the Spanish actress Monica Cruz, the sister of Penélope Cruz, who had a great success thanks to the series One, Back, Tres between 2002 and 2005. Extract:

Langmann hires several European comic stars, including the German Bully Herbig and the Spanish Santiago Segura, for whom the screenplay is rewritten. “It was around this time that the film got terribly enlarged”, confirm Alexandre Charlot and Franck Magnier. “He asked us to duplicate or even triple a character to be able to make room for the star of such and such a country where he hoped to find money to supplement the budget. Except that a good story has a certain flexibility. for a while, that hypertrophy ended up hurting the rhythm of the comedy a lot. ”

Some stars suffer the costs. Stephen Chow, who had agreed to play Shaolinsoccerus (a nod to his famous sports comedy), sees his role cut from the script. Thomas Langmann cites budgetary reasons: “It was a big track, with special effects, but it was the only thing that had no connection to the story.” “

Asterix at the Olympic Games: a film with a colossal budget

The writers ended up abandoning the project, exhausted by all these rewritings, and once the film was shot, the post-production team had to cut an hour of scenes to respect 1h40 of editing, and not the 2h40 of film for which Langmann was campaigning for.

“The film must be absolutely ready by January 30, 2008 due to commercial partnerships (including one with McDonald’s), it is finished “with a chainsaw”, according to one employee: “the film was not re-edited, it was extraction”. Dozens of rigged plans are thrown in the trash – “the least plan was 75,000 euros, it was delusional”. Entire sequences disappear, including a dance with Monica Cruz. (…) “Everything was a little bloated in the first version. Apart from the scene with Monica Cruz, which was quite nice, there were no huge regrets.”, details Frédéric Forestier, before adding: “Even today the film is quite long. 1h53, for children, is a lot.”

The article “Asterix’s secrets at the Olympic Games, the craziest blockbuster in French cinema” can be read here in full

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