Cannes 2022: Alain Chabat, Laurent Lafitte, “Le Petit Nicolas” and them …

On Friday, they were surrounded by an impressive battalion of school children from Cannes, invited to go up the stairs and witness the display of Petit Nicolas – What are we waiting for to be happy?by Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre.

A real swarm of supercharged kids. The next day, on Majestic beach, it was much more cozy. At the same time, Alain Chabat and Laurent Laffite came to talk to us about this wonderful animated film, in which the creative process that preceded the birth of Little Nicholasin 1956, while discovering the fate of René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé.

On screen, the paper hero invites himself, as if by magic, into the daily life of his author and designer. For the two actors, it’s about magic to accompany a hero who shook their childhood …

What does Le Petit Nicolas mean to you?
Alain Chabat: A very good childhood memory. I swallowed the books one after the other. I felt like I heard the characters talking, it made me laugh out loud. I think I found taste to read there without it being scary. Later, I often immersed myself in these stories.

Laurent Lafitte: Me too, I was really into it. I read them and reread them, I identified myself. I was sorry to leave them, happy to find them. I found this feeling much later with Friends, I had the impression that it was my group of friends.

Anyone could identify with a member of the band?
AC: I saw Nicolas as a little cook. And I felt like I had a little bit of each of them in me. Except the percussion meter. Was it Rufus? If it is, I’ve totally invented it! [le personnage s’appelait Maixent, Ndlr]. Me, I was not a fighter, I was hit.

Alain Chabat: “I’m still hyper-influenced by Goscinny”

Alain, when Anne Goscinny, René’s daughter and co-screenwriter, asked you to do her father’s voice, did you say yes without hesitation?
AC: I thought a little, because I thought that responsibility was important. Then I said to myself that if Anne Goscinny had offered to lend my vote to her father, it was because she thought I could do it. After this mini-pressure, I got started.

How did you work during the recording?
LL: the process was different from a dubbing to an Anglo-Saxon animated film, where the production is finished and where one has to put in the boots of the actor who created the role in the original version. The animation had to end according to what we had to do in the recordings.

We know the characters from Sempé and Goscinny by heart, much less their lives, told on screen …

LL: I discovered all this while working on this movie. The creation of the universe Little Nicholas was created through the meeting of two beings who had different lives, but who also shared cracks. It’s a classic story, one alone in his room imagining something and watching the world take over. But I still find it annoying.

Laurent, have you met Sempé?
LL: No, he’s very old today [il a 89 ans]. I know he saw the movie and it touched him a lot. That alone is amazing. His work is so impressive, he is an absolute genius.

Alain, in addition to bringing Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra to the screen, do you have a sense of great closeness to Goscinny?
AC: His sense of comedy speaks so strongly to me … I love this way of being discreet around the message of performing the show, but without ever making it a hollow thing. I’m still hyper-influenced by him. It is somehow attached to a large part of my comic book readings. Me, if I had created at all lucky LukeI would have stopped there and I would have been super happy with my life.

He did Iznogoud, Little Nicolas, Asterix, he was editor-in-chief of Pilot, he created the Idéfix studio to make animation … So much talent in the same person, it’s a crazy thing, like his work discipline. And Sempé is a giant cartoonist. I have the impression that he attacks directly with the pen, without a line of pencil underneath. All this has a mysterious side.

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