A little something extra: a hilarious comedy… about disability (review)

Artus: “I was clearly told that people did not want to see disabled people in the cinema”

With A little thing in addition, a hilarious comedy about disability, he enjoyed phenomenal success in theaters. We met him the day before the release of his first feature as a director.

Does your desire to direct go back a long way?

Artus : I think I always had this idea in the back of my mind. But for a long time, I didn't consider it because I saw it as an inaccessible profession. Until the experience I had on certain shoots as an actor made me say… that deep down I could do better! (laughs)

How was the idea of ​​a comedy featuring characters with disabilities born?

I've been ranting on this subject for a very long time. So when I started to think about a film featuring these somewhat atypical actors, I couldn't see myself giving it to anyone else. In any case, I felt justified in it. And when we embark on a first film, we say to ourselves… that it will perhaps be the last! So I tried to put in everything that suited me and pleased me. And I found it crazy that so few people had wanted to go into this field before because people with disabilities have such an imagination that I knew that what they were going to give me in front of a camera was going to be crazy. .


We also imagine that if so few filmmakers have ventured into this area, it is also because they may have had difficulty finding financing, right? How did that happen for you?It was indeed complicated. What surprised me the most was how openly I was told things: that people didn't want to see disabled people in the cinema! These interlocutors did not even try to cover all this behind false excuses. We wanted to finance my first film but not with this population! But it's a blessing in disguise because, in the end, I was able to count on the best possible partners who offered me the means to make this film and who invested fully. Because A little something extra could never have seen the light of day without a united team.

How did you construct the structure of this story?

I had first imagined this film as a chronicle like our happy days. And then, the character of Sylvain who was born on stage took up space, gained momentum. And I said to myself that it was logical to integrate it into this story while being afraid that we would fall into a “ big comedy.” I didn't want it to damage the performance of actors with disabilities. The first big job was therefore to find the right balance. And to make this story of the robbery of Sylvain and his father who in the process pass for a disabled person and his educator a simple starting point for the film to really start on the bus on the way to the summer camp in the first exchanges between the characters, who are truly disabled.

How did you recruit this group of incredible actors?

None had played before. And it was a wish on my part. I was looking for different personalities and colors. And to find them, I simply made a post on Instagram where I asked the parents of people who have a little something extra and want to make films to contact me. I had no doubt that I would find them. And as soon as I saw Arnaud arrive with his Dalida tattoo explaining to me that he is a big fan of Dalida or Boris who is constantly disguised, I knew that I was on the right road, that what They were going to add poetry to my scenario, situations, dialogues that I could not have invented on my own or things that I could have been criticized for. But if someone tells me ''it's a lot no, a Down syndrome fan of Dalida'', I can answer that it exists!

This is therefore their first experience in front of a camera. How did you work with them before filming?

I rewrote their characters to suit them so that they felt perfectly at home. But from there, we don't really work upstream other than introducing them to the other actors: Clovis Cornillac, Alice Belaïdi, Céline Groussard… I'm not a big fan of rehearsals, I like the spontaneous side. This is the reason why, once on set, I wanted the camera to always be ready to roll to steal things here and there and follow their rhythm because it was important not to feel like they were playing. . And they all got used to the camera and the atmosphere of a set quite quickly. I like small mistakes, so I rarely correct things post-sync. I don't care if we don't understand this or that word as long as we understand the meaning of the whole. I want my characters to speak like they do in real life and not too smooth. It adds sincerity.

The fact of playing among them in addition to directing them is a major asset in this work, we imagine…

Yes because it allows me to take them towards certain things during the scene. There were even a few shots that I had to reframe because we could see the little combo with the image return that I had in hand to make the frame at the same time. I wanted to be in the battle.

The great success of your film is that we laugh with them and that you never apologize for the jokes you can make, you never follow up with a more “cute” scene where you would apologize for it. Was it obvious when writing?

Honestly, I don't have too many concerns about the valves. As on stage, I take the position that what makes me laugh will make others laugh! And as a viewer, I'm always afraid of the pathos you're talking about. I have trouble when I feel someone trying to make me cry. So that’s all I wanted to avoid. And then, there is an obvious fact that we must never lose sight of when we write, direct or act in comedies: the public is not stupid! I don't need to over-explain everything, starting with the valves! You have the valve, so much the better. Otherwise too bad you'll get the next one! In any case, I won't get another laugh by launching into an explanation of the text

So your writing logic hasn't changed one iota when thinking from stage to cinema?

Absolutely not. And this until the end of the adventure. Because as I do with my shows, I also tested the film a lot by multiplying test screenings. And again, it seems crazy to me that we don't do it more in the cinema. It would never occur to any comedian to go on stage without having first performed his show! May at the cinema, yes! Whereas this is where you can, for example, cut off certain valves not because they are disturbing but because you see that they are failing. I needed to hear these reactions. And without these test projects, I would never have obtained the film as it exists. And if I have the chance to do more, I will do it again, like Dupontel and others do.

Why did you choose to call on Clovis Cornillac to play your father?

I wanted actors with whom I had already worked. This is the case for Céline Groussard with whom I played on stage in Duels in Davidéjonatownfor Alice Belaïdi in Budapest and therefore for Clovis in If we sang, on the set of which there was something obvious between the two of us. A local side, a sharing of the same values. Not to mention obviously the fact that Clovis is a crazy actor. I remade myself Brice from Nice recently and his performance is crazy! Clovis is only 20 years older than me and, for this character, I liked the idea of ​​a father who had his son very young, which defined their relationship because he was not ready for this. age there. And once on set, his kindness was an important driving force for me. Because if Clovis is also a director, I never felt him judge me. That he agreed to follow me obviously helped me, as did the fact that, from the first day, my cinematographer Jean-Marie Dreujoux – who is also that of Jean-Jacques Annaud! – says to me “ so boss, what do we do? » Both gave me self-confidence and the legitimacy to take on this role of boss. Because I'm not fooled: when you're a comedian “seen on TV” making your first film, I know that three-quarters of the technicians see you coming in a bit like a loser. Which I understand because they may have had other experiences that make them think that way. Having Jean-Marie’s validation necessarily changes things…

How did you work with him?

I told him I wanted sunshine and joy! I also had a lot of very specific plans in mind. But what's great about Jean-Marie is his enthusiasm, his desire to try things he's never done. The word “no” does not exist with him.

This month of May marks a special stage in your journey, between the theatrical release of your first directorial film and The Pampas by Antoine Chevrollier in which you star and which will be presented at Critics' Week in Cannes… How are you experiencing this moment?

It's pretty crazy because it's the first time I'm going to present a film at Cannes. Here again, I am aware that I am a comedian and that I come from TV and that not many of us have the chance to experience what I am going to experience. So I'm glad to see things are changing a little bit. And I'm even happier to do it in a film by a friend like Antoine. We find it crazy to basically experience the same things at the same time. I hope it ends with big box office numbers on my side and the Camera d'Or on his!

A little something extra. From and with Artus. Also with Clovis Cornillac, Alice Belaïdi, Céline Groussard… Duration: 1h39. In theaters since May 1, 2024

Similar Posts