Valérie Lemercier: “Aline is a vision both faithful and fantasized of Celine Dion”

Aline
Gaumont

Valérie Lemercier packed the Croisette with her “true / false” biopic.

Aline should have been released at the end of last year, but the film has been postponed to November 10, 2021, following the winter 2020 reconfinement. Valerie Lemercier has just presented it on the Croisette, out of competition, we share our interview with the actress-director published in issue 512, with David Fincher on the cover. Here are also some photos of the rise of the steps of the actress-director and her Quebecois actors: Roc Lafortune, Danielle Fichaud, Valerie Lemercier, Sylvain Marcel and Pascale Desrochers, all excellent in the film. They were also entitled to a long “standing ovation” at the end of the screening.

Cannes 2021: Aline's team climbs the stairs
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Cannes 2021: Aline's casting on the red carpet
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Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier conquered Cannes with Aline
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Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier surrounded by her actors: Roc Lafortune, Danielle Fichaud, Sylvain Marcel and Pascale Desrochers
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Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier and Sylvain Marcel, who plays Guy-Claude (inspired by René Angélil)
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Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier is preparing to unveil Aline
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Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier on the red carpet of Aline, her "right wrong" Celine Dion biopic
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Cannes 2021: Danielle Fichaud (Aline's mother) poses with Valérie Lemercier
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Cannes 2021: Aline’s team climbs the stairs

Cannes 2021: Aline’s casting on the red carpet

Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier conquered Cannes with Aline

Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier surrounded by her actors: Roc Lafortune, Danielle Fichaud, Sylvain Marcel and Pascale Desrochers

Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier and Sylvain Marcel, who plays Guy-Claude (inspired by René Angélil)

Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier is preparing to unveil Aline

Cannes 2021: Valérie Lemercier on the red carpet of Aline, her “true-false” biopic of Celine Dion

Cannes 2021: Danielle Fichaud (Aline’s mother) poses with Valérie Lemercier

With Aline, Valérie Lemercier tries something new: the fan biopic [critique]

In Aline, Valérie Lemercier pretends to be a child, cries, laughs, loves, sings (for false), dances (for real). His most successful role and film to make you love him again.

Céline Dion seems far from your dramatic and even musical universe.

Not really. Like her, I come from a large family, I was complexed by my physique, I had excruciating teeth… I have listened to her a lot since 1995. During her husband’s funeral in 2016, I was touched by her loneliness, I don’t know why… Anyway, a year later, I blurted out on the radio, like a joke, that my next project would be a Celine Dion biopic. That same evening, my head decorator, Emmanuelle Duplay, called me to tell me that it was a great idea.

Aline proceeds from the reappropriation by you of a well-known and caricatured personality to whom you give back a certain nobility. Was it your goal by finding Brigitte Buc, your co-author of Royal Palace! ?

Brigitte had a decisive role in advising me to change the names. From that moment on, we were able to take liberties, invent lots of stuff… Calling the film Aline also freed me from the weight of physical resemblance at all costs. There is only one Celine Dion, not two. When I look Cloclo, for example, I do not see Claude François but Jérémie Renier.

The distance you mention is paradoxical because the film is very documented, realistic in a way.

I have read everything, seen everything on her for months to feed the story. Aline is a film at “Celine Dion perfume” as I usually say. I told my collaborators right away that I wanted us to like the character. Anything that didn’t look like Celine Dion or that she wouldn’t have done, I didn’t keep. It is a vision that is both faithful and fantasized.

Yes because Aline looks like you too. There is this moment when you appear as a child on TV which evokes a famous sketch for Les Dulls or a stinging scene which seems to refer to Visitors …

I play children in all my shows, it’s not specific to the Dummies sketch. So I didn’t think about it, nor did the Visitors. We have one thing that particularly unites us: the stage, and the physical sensations it provides. I know when we sweat when we come out. If it had taken
assigning the role to someone else, I would have been annoyed. But since I don’t play that much, I reserved it for myself! (Laughs.)

Upon arrival, the film is surprisingly benevolent and shows a star obsessed with his life as a cushy couple with her husband, Guy-Claude, evocation of the famous René Angélil …

I find this couple touching and what they’ve built together, too. At 12, Céline said on TV shows that she wanted to be an international star. René, who was quite a visionary, mortgaged his own house to produce his first record. He then had a theater made in Las Vegas for her, that’s crazy, isn’t it?

You place René Angélil on a pedestal. Did you idealize it and, if so, why?

I am convinced that he was a very good man. I read the enormous book dedicated to him and spoke with people who knew him and who said nothing else. I dream of him. She is someone I would have liked to meet and have by my side. My life might have been sweeter.

Aline is less a biopic than a fable about the couple seen through the prism of the star system. What were your inspirations?

I reviewed some biopics, Amadeus, Cloclo, but my main inspiration was The fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulain. I find Jeunet’s management of ellipses and the passing of time great.

Aline is the most expensive French film of the year. The absence of big names by your side suddenly seems like a risky bet, but also proves your faith in the story you are telling.

I have always believed in stories. Everyone knows that apart from Catherine Frot and Fabrice Luchini, nobody fills the rooms in France on his name alone. But behind Aline, the star is after all Celine Dion, ten thousand times better known than me! (Laughs.)

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