Why Les Vedettes is very different from Max et Léon: the Palmashow explained

Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais tell us about the creation of their two comedies.

After the theatrical success of their first production The Crazy Story of Max and Leon (2016), to be seen again this Thursday evening on TMC, the team of Palmashow returns this week to the cinema and presents The stars, his second film. radically different from Max and Leonboth on the story and in the realization, The stars is a kind of “second first film” which brings back to the known universe of the Palmashow sketches while bringing a superior dimension to their cinema. It is then amusing to compare the two long ones. Here are the three main differences between the creations of the trio Jonathan Barré-Grégoire Ludig-David Marsais, explained by the two actors and co-screenwriters of the films.

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Characters first

In The stars, Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais, accompanied by their director Jonathan Barré, wanted to create a relationship completely different from the dynamic of Max and Léon. From now on, the main characters Daniel and Stéphane are not friends, and on the contrary hate each other. They evolve alone, before getting closer, but have their own personality. Something important for the trio, who wanted to work on a new form of friendship. Indeed, as they explain in a meeting with First : “This story is about these two guys who will find each other and who will have to move forward together, a bit unlike Max and Leon. We really wanted to flesh out the relationship between the two and how they will move forward together. We said to himself that this was the thing to focus on (…) Which was perhaps the pitfall of The Crazy Story of Max and Leonwhere the relationship of the two had not been treated. In our sketches, we love to build our characters, and in Max and Leon we skimmed over the characters. The duo has become a character. Jonathan said he always filmed them together as one character. In The stars we wanted to differentiate them profoundly so that the association of the two would be richer. On really wanted to work Daniel and Stéphane thoroughly. And in terms of play, it’s much more fun. Just the passage of the Prix à Tout Prix, the filming of the clip, it’s moments of comedy, just for us: we realized that when we laugh at our own jokes, often it works face to face. The spectators perceive that at one point we had fun. We genuinely had fun and tried to show it.”

And in the aesthetics, it was necessary to build two different atmospheres: “For Stéphane, we saw him as a bit American, a bit like Greg Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine, with his polo shirt and pleated trousers. When you watch a lot of American comedies, Americans often have this look. And in fact when we built the character, we said to ourselves that Stéphane is an American: he lives in the suburbs, he’s into consumerism, he’s got a lot of gadgets. We wanted to give him the archetype of the guy who thinks he’s an American. And for Daniel we rather saw The Big Lebowski, which was obviously a benchmark. The scene in the living room, where he is in a bathrobe and underpants, we totally assume that it is completely inspired by the character of Jeff Bridges in it, that’s obvious. Afterwards, we have this thing with the goat, from the beginning. Just the word goat (laughs) makes us laugh. We put a goatee on him, we put an earring on him…. We even said to ourselves: Daniel has a truck and he is sensitive. He kicks ass but he’s sensitive. He is violent but he has a love for music. He has a coquetry (laughs).”

Les Vedettes: three new sketches before the Palmashow film

Another approach to actors

On the side of the actors, the situation has also changed. There where The Crazy Story of Max and Leon continued to highlight favorite actors from the Palmashow sketches while bringing a lot of more well-known guests to the screen, The stars chose not to hire guests and on the contrary to stay on something simpler. “There are really great actors in France, and even us now we are a little in the pitfall of wanting to think for our sketches of better known actors to make guests, they explain. For this film, already it had to be credible and that people believe in this universe, we were afraid by bringing in an actor with a face that was too well known or too familiar to get out of that. And in addition, we wanted to surround ourselves with great actors, like Julien Pestel, Damien Gillard, Gaëlle Lebert… We cast them, we had them rehearse. When you’re a guest, you want to bring something extra, whereas these actors are really at the service of the script, and with them you can really have fun. For example Théo Gross, who plays nephew Bastien, we took a long time to cast him, and when we found him we saw that he had the intelligence for the role and once we found the styling and that we felt that he had the character we came to see him all the time on the set to add things (laughs). And there it is a real pleasure of comedy.”

They then explain that this desire to hire more recognized actors is rooted in a feeling of illegitimacy, a kind of cinematic impostor syndrome. How to be recognized, when one made jokes on TV? A question that dominated in Max and Leonbut who found his answer with The stars : “Contrary to Max and Leon where there were really a lot of guests. We were afraid of not feeling legitimate, so we surrounded ourselves with lots of people known to have the impression of being “part of the family” somewhere. And so in The stars we really said to ourselves that we had to tell a real story and not take people who risked getting out of the film. Just as Veber’s films are films in which we believe because we are centered on these two characters and there is not a big actor who is going to come and interfere with this exchange between the two. Hence the importance of the writing of the duo. We had to be strong enough together and we didn’t need to surround ourselves with funny names.”

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A matter of recognition

Finally, the first difference that is obvious as soon as the film begins: the universe of the film and its plot. While Max and Leon was happening in the middle of the Second World War, so in a very marked universe with a lot of codes to follow, The stars takes place in our time in a ZAC, on TV sets, in suburban residences. A universe marked by television and the need for recognition, where Max and Léon rather wanted to be forgotten. “We really like parody, and therefore television, but we thought it was interesting, especially with Jonathan’s work, to succeed in separating the fiction and TV game side. We had to give it a slightly pop dimension, that Jonathan has worked hard. And even beyond that, we thought that if we had something to say, and that in addition we laughed about it while writing… I remember with David that the scene of Price at Any Price, it’s the scene that we wrote in one day, we had a blast doing it, it was almost a driving force, this game sequence. The difference between what we do on television, where we directly parodies what we do, is that we wanted to tell a story of friendship in the film. We placed it in this decorum, because it speaks to us, and we needed recognition as an axis for this film. In this, television lends itself completely to these situations. It’s a subject that speaks to us a lot at the moment, and we wanted to tell that: two guys who are a little on the fringe, who are trying to integrate a little into a system that is pushing more and more for recognition. Today we isolate ourselves more and more in society and so we seek recognition through job ratings, employees of the month, social networks – find a comment, a good word, to get likes. Everything is noted and judged. We end up eliminating people. In the end it is very violent. What we wanted to tell is really this axis on recognition, with characters who have no perspective and rush headlong into this diktat, to fit in, who will be crushed by it, but who go when even end up finding themselves. Because they are ultimately the same, and that’s what they were looking for: a social connection.”

The stars, in theaters since February 9. Its trailer:

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