I had previously written about A Monster in Paris and I’m delighted that it is releasing today! I haven’t personally seen it, but it looks to be a beautiful film with a fun and deeply hearted story. I wanted to share with you some quotes from an interview with Vanessa Paradis (who plays Lucille) and Bibo Bergeron.
Could you describe Lucille to us?
Lucille is someone who tries to do the right thing without upsetting anyone while remaining her own woman. She’s both constrained and independent. She runs a cabaret, which involves a lot of responsibility and pressure and she has quite a bossy aunt who likes to be obeyed and wants Lucille to be a goody-two-shoes. But Lucille still manages to do pretty much as she pleases. Above all, she loves being on stage. When she’s up there singing, it’s as if she were escaping the routine and restrictions of her daily life. Which could explain why Bibo drew her stage costume with wings…
How did you “find” Lucille’s voice? Did the images help you build your character?
When we started work on the movie in 2005, there was just the script without images or anything. So, the creation of the character came from the voice and her motivations. From that point on, voice and image constantly informed each other, with the voice taking the image in one direction, then the images forcing us to be more precise in our interpretation and understanding of motivations, and so on. The whole piece developed out of this dialogue. The film grew out of nothing like a cathedral. It was really interesting.
Working with Bibo was fascinating. In animation, your performance can be much more over the top than in a regular movie, especially as speaking lines without being filmed removes a lot of pressure. You’re not thinking about hitting your marks and where the camera is. Animation relies more on instinct, and Bibo gave us a lot of freedom. He drew us into a playful, fun environment, exaggerated but never ridiculously so. He is very precise and always manages to capture the pitch and subtlety you associate with non-animated movies.
When and how did the A Monster in Paris adventure begin?
It goes back quite a few years to before Shark Tale. I’d been living in the USA since 1997 and this project came out of a kind of nostalgia for Paris. I wanted to make a movie about my city, a romantic movie that flirted from time to time with the horror codes. As a moviegoer, without being a total fan, I’ve always enjoyed the romantic aspect of horror movies. I also wanted to focus on the early 20th century, an incredibly effervescent period when science and technology was revolutionized—the automobile, trains—which has always fascinated me. That’s how I came up with Raoul and his constant desire for progress. Also, from the very beginning, I envisioned a very musical movie. Actually, to sum it all up, I put into the movie everything I like in a movie.
What were your inspirations for the mood of A Monster in Paris? The comic book artist Tardi comes to mind.
I’m a big fan of Tardi’s, but he wasn’t really a reference for this movie even though we’re fascinated by the same period in history. In fact, my major inspiration, in terms of writing and drawing the characters, is Franquin. I also kept in mind the work of the late-19th and early-20th century Impressionists, such as Alfred Sisley, for their ability to inject brilliance into fog, and play with colors and light. For the story itself, I was inspired by movies like The Sucker, The Easy Life and Hothead because the characters are so likable despite all their flaws. We were aiming for the polished writing that’s a major part of my movie culture.
In the end, has it remained faithful to your initial vision of the story?
It’s definitely grown! It’s like any idea—you sow a seed, which blossoms and grows and gives fruit. The story has evolved a lot. The first draft featured the Tiger Brigades, France’s first mobile police units, but they’ve gone. Lucille wasn’t a cabaret singer but a police photographer. She became a singer so the singing monster could be attracted to someone who also sings. A Monster in Paris is very different in the detail but totally faithful to what made me want to make it.
The soundtrack is so incredible. I love the music! How could you not fall in love with this movie just listening to Vanessa Paradis’s beautiful voice?
A Monster in Paris now available in retail stores nationwide, each of them offers exclusive features as well.
- Walmart: A Monster in Paris DVD (on-pack offer of $4.99 credit at Vudu!)
- Target: A Monster in Paris DVD (DVD includes Digital Copy – only at Target!)
- Available now on Amazon.com
Let me know if you pick it up and what you thought of the movie!
This is not a sponsored post, the information was provided to me and it looks like a great film!