Feb 102017
 
Théo Fernandez as Gaston Lagaffe in 'Gaston Lagaffe' film (ill. Franquin, photo from allocine.fr)

Théo Fernandez will play Gaston

Following on the heels of the Petit Spirou film and the Spirou & Fantasio film, it’s recently been reported that a film version of Franquin’s Gaston Lagaffe is also moving forward. Actors have been cast, and filming is scheduled to start as soon as March, for a release in April 2018 (beating Spirou & Fantasio – which has a 20 June release – to theaters). The Gaston comic takes place in the Spirou universe, of course – more specifically at the (fictionalized) offices of the Journal de Spirou. However, it is not clear whether this will be the case in the movie, and whether there will be any kind of “shared universe” connection between the two films.

Much of the attention has been focused on the casting of young French actor Théo Fernandez as Gaston Lagaffe. Fernandez is best known for playing the son “Coin-Coin” in the 2011 family comedy Les Tuche and its 2016 sequel. At only 18, he is younger than how many fans imagine the character. However, there is nothing in the comic that contradicts the idea that Gaston is quite young when he starts: his creators, Yvan Delporte and André Franquin, started working at the Journal de Spirou at 17 and 21, respectively. (Also note that Fernandez looks a little older in the most recent photos than in the portrait shown here.) As for the rest of the cast…

Announcement poster for Gaston Lagaffe film (image from demotivateur.fr)

Announcement poster

Pierre-François Martin-Laval (“PEF”): Prunelle

Pierre-François Martin-Laval as Prunelle in 'Gaston Lagaffe' film (ill. Franquin, photo from purepeople.com)The film is being directed by Pierre-François Martin-Laval (48), who is also co-writing the script (with Mathias Gavarry) and playing the role of Gaston’s long-suffering boss, Prunelle. Martin-Laval is an actor and comedian often known by the nickname “PEF”; he was a member of the comedy group les Robins des Bois (“The Robin Hoods”), and he’s had success as a director with the 2013 comedy Serial Teachers (Les Profs), adapted from the comic by Erroc & Pica (whose old Spirou pitch was featured a while back).

 
Alison Wheeler: M’oiselle Jeanne

Alison Wheeler as Moiselle Jeanne in 'Gaston Lagaffe' film (ill. Franquin, photo from femina.ch)Alison Wheeler (30) will play Miss Jeanne, who works in archives and is Gaston’s sweetheart (though perhaps their romance will play a bit differently in the film). Wheeler is a French actress and comedian, who was in The Grad Job (À Toute épreuve, 2014) with the new Spirou, Thomas Solivères, and in a small part in Thanks to My Friends (Le Talent de mes amis, 2015) with Fantasio, Alex Lutz. She stars in various TV and radio shows, and was also a weather presenter for a while.

 
Arnaud Ducret: Longtarin

Arnaud Ducret as officer Longtarin in 'Gaston Lagaffe' film (ill. Franquin, photo from normandie-actu.fr)Officer Longtarin is perhaps Gaston’s main nemesis, his sworn enemy in a long-running “War of the Parking Meters” (which mostly consists of Gaston trying to evade the traffic and parking regulations Longtarin enforces). Arnaud Ducret (38) is apparently one of Martin-Laval’s repertory players, having appeared both in Serial Teachers, its sequel, and in the French stage show of Spamalot (which Martin-Laval directed). He also does a one-man show, appears on television, and did the French dubbing for Chris Pratt’s role in The Lego Movie (2014).

 
Jérôme Commandeur: Monsieur De Mesmaeker

Jérôme Commandeur as M. De Mesmaeker in 'Gaston Lagaffe' film (ill. Franquin, screen capture from 'À Fond', "Full Speed" (2015) via toutlecine.com)Monsieur De Mesmaeker (named after Jidéhem’s father and translated as “Mr. Parker” in Spirou Reporter scanlations) is a serious and important businessman that the company, represented by Prunelle, is always trying to get to sign certain contracts… He will be played by Jérôme Commandeur (40), an actor, comedian and writer/director. He has had an extensive career in television, and appeared in movies including Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, 2008), Les Tuche (2011, with Théo Fernandez), and Ma famille t’adore déjà ! (“My Family Already Loves You”, 2016), which he also co-wrote and co-directed. He also hosts the French film industry’s César Awards this year.

 

There has already been one previous film adaptation of Gaston, with the 1981 critical and commercial flop Fais gaffe à la gaffe ! Although directly based on the comic, Franquin refused the filmmakers permission to use his character names, so the main character (played by Roger Miremont) is known only as “G”.

  6 Responses to “Gaston also goes to the movies”

  1.  

    Nothing odd about Gaston being 18 in the film. He’s constantly called ‘youngest servant’ in the comics (in the Dutch translation, at least).

    •  

      I vaguely recall something similar in Scandinavian translations, but I looked through my French Gaston collection, and I couldn’t find anything like that (either in the comic or in the en direct de la rédak articles by Yvan Delporte). He’s usually referred to as “our colleague” or “the hero without work” – the closest might be an occasional le gars (“boy/young man”), but I’m not sure exactly what age range that can refer to, since les gars can mean “guys” in general.

  2.  

    Welp. Didn’t see that one coming.

    Although I gotta say, it would be very interesting if they went with the “shared universe” approach and had Spirou and (especially) Fantasio cameo. With all these Spirou universe based movies coming out, it seems like a bit of a missed opportunity if they don’t tie them together in some way.

    •  

      That would be neat for fans, and all these movies coming out together leads one to wonder whether they’ve been inspired by what Marvel is doing, building some kind of Dupuis Cinematic Universe.

      However, I tend to doubt that they will try to create a proper shared universe. It doesn’t look like the movies share the same production company or have any overlap on the creative side. And unlike with American superhero comics, you don’t really have a huge set of interlinked comics to base it on: after Spirou and Gaston (and Marsupilami already done), what are you gonna do? A Petit Noël movie? There have been a couple of Natacha cameos/crossovers, so there’s that, I suppose…

      Also, the whole situation where Spirou and Fantasio are employees of the comic magazine they star in raises a lot of questions that I think a movie is better off steering clear of. (Then again, it would be a shame if Gaston’s employer is reduced to just some generic company.) So I’m guessing if there’s any link at all between the two movies it will at most be a small cameo or some kind of reference.

  3.  

    Some more photos and info (in French) on this site. It seems Franquin was against the idea to adapt his series into film, but had some admiration for the enthusiasm of the crew…

    http://lagaffemegate.free.fr/film/pagefilm.htm

    There was also a short-lived TV-series in the 80’s where mime actors in huge plastic masks performed the roles of Spirou, Fantasio and Gaston, which, judged from the look of it, truly appears horrible…

    http://lagaffemegate.free.fr/merci/index.htm

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