Three things to know about… Groundhog Day

The cult film by the late Harold Ramis has the honors this evening of Place au cinema, presented by Dominique Besnehard on France 5

A scenario inspired… by a story of vampires

Released in France in the heart of the summer of 1993, an endless day depicts a weather journalist condemned to relive the same day indefinitely. A cult comedy written by Dany Rubin. His very first screenplay for the cinema, the idea of ​​which came to him while reading Lestat the Vampire by Anne Rice (who took over the character she had created in Interview with a Vampire) around a fairly basic question: how to occupy unlimited time without falling into a boring routine? But very quickly he realizes that putting in pictures an eternal life will explode all budgets and that no producer will take such a risk for a beginner scriptwriter. So he will mix this idea with a concept that crossed his mind a few months earlier: a man who wakes up every morning to find that it is the same day repeating itself tirelessly. Thus will be born an endless day which he will choose to situate the action on February 2, the “day of the groundhog”, an American popular holiday but which the cinema had never seized until then. Looking for an agent, Rubin sends his script to Richard Lovett, the CAA agent, who gives it to one of his clients, Harold Ramis, made world famous by his character of Doctor Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters but whose last feature film as a director, Paradise Club (with Robin Williams) dated back to 1986 and had experienced a crushing failure that had bruised it. Ramis immediately hooked on what he saw as a comedy about redemption and embarked on the project at Columbia.

A role declined by Tom Hanks

It is Tom Hanks that Harold Ramis thinks of spontaneously to portray this unfriendly weather presenter who will, for love, transform himself over these endless days. But the comedian revealed five years earlier by Big assures him that he is then too locked into the roles of “nice” for the principle of evolution proposed by the scenario to work with the spectators if he takes the central character. Approached, Michael Keaton does not hang on and declines in turn, a gesture that he will admit to regretting years later. Dany Rubin then proposes the name of Kevin Kline but Harold Ramis will prefer Bill Murray, his longtime accomplice who was the hero of his first feature film, Crazy Golf. Rubin doubts his ability to play the full character arc, from cynical to bewildered lover. But Ramis assures him that Murray will know how to be both nasty and endear himself to the spectators. A winning choice which however will mark the end of 20 years of friendship between the two men, following disagreements on the project, Murray wanting to develop the comedy aspect, Ramis insisting on redemption. The promotion will be done in an icy atmosphere, Murray going so far as to refuse to talk about his director in an interview! In 2005, Ramis will try to reconnect with him by offering him to play in Fake friends. By his brother, the actor will send him an end of non-receipt. They will only meet again in 2014 shortly before Harold Ramis dies of a serious illness at only 69 years old and will reconcile

A second life in musicals

The success ofOne endless day in theaters could for a time suggest a sequel, inevitably quickly nipped in the bud by the Murray-Ramis estrangement. The film will be entitled in 2014 to its Italian remake È già ieri signed by Giulio Manfredonia. And initiated in the 1990s by Dany Rubin, the project of a musical – a time spent in the hands of Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, Into the woods…) – will eventually see the light of day in 2017 and will be awarded the Tony Awards for best actor (Andy Karl who took over the role of Bill Murray) and the best new musical of the year.

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