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French TV hit Call My Agent could be coming to America

Actors in French TV series Call My Agent can't wait to start work on a feature-length movie of the blockbuster show with New York tipped as the likely location, they told AFP at the Cannes festival.

French TV hit Call My Agent could be coming to America
Gregory Montel, Camille Cottin and Nicolas Maury, stars of 'Call My Agent'. Photo: Valery HACHE / AFP.

The series of four seasons, originally produced by French TV and called Dix pour cent in French, became an international smash hit after streaming on Netflix, propelling the French cast, especially Camille Cottin, to global stardom.

But fans of the series, which chronicles the goings-on at a Paris showbiz talent agency, have had to wait for more episodes as Covid-19 put the brakes on shooting.

The series’s producer, Mediawan Studios boss Thomas Anargyros, told French radio in April that there would be a single feature-length episode of Call My Agent to be produced this year and broadcast by early 2022.

While the location has not been confirmed, all signs point to New York City.

“I’m not sure how much I can say about New York for now, but it’s in the process of scripting,” Nicolas Maury, who plays the agency’s assistant, Hervé, told AFP in an interview on Sunday.

“I’m all packed already,” he laughed. “New York is a city I love and that I fantasise about. It would be amazing to go there, great fun,” Maury said.

READ ALSO The French in-jokes from TV series Call My Agent

Cottin, who plays one of the senior talent agents in the series, also seemed ready for the trip when asked about a shoot in New York. “If I need to pack my bags and go, I will,” she told AFP.

But Maury still sounded a cautious note, saying that the Covid risk could affect the project, its timetable and its financing. “Everything is still fragile at the moment,” he said. “If there’s only enough money to go to (French industrial city) Clermont-Ferrand, then that’s where we’ll go. Only joking.”

The feature-length episode would serve to bridge the gap between the show’s fourth season, which aired last year, and a fifth season, which producer Anargyros said he hoped to tackle quickly after the feature.

Commenting on the international success of Call My Agent, which is being adapted in several countries, Maury said he had only become fully aware of it recently.

“Some international artists I admire came to see me this year and that was very moving,” he said.

“It’s a comedy about work. And I think a lot of people are interested in that. Work is a big part of our lives,” Maury added.

“All these stories about the office, about colleagues, affairs of the heart and the betrayals — I find they’re all done very intelligently in Call My Agent.”

Some industry observers, meanwhile, already see Camille Cottin as walking in the footsteps of Marion Cotillard, who has conquered Hollywood. Cottin is already in a major US production, co-leading opposite Matt Damon in Stillwater, which premiered at Cannes this year out of competition.

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CULTURE

Asterix: Five things to know about France’s favourite character

Asterix is hitting the box offices again, so to celebrate here's a look at France's most treasured hero.

Asterix: Five things to know about France's favourite character

If you have walked past a bus stop anywhere in France in recent weeks, then you have likely run into film posters advertising Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom.

Starring high-profile French actors Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel, France’s film industry is hoping that this film, capitalising on France’s nostalgic relationship with the comic series “Asterix” will bring box office success.

The Asterix comic book series was first published in 1959, and tells the story of a small Gallic village on the coast of France that is attempting to defend itself from invaders, namely the Romans. Asterix, the hero of the series, manages to always save the day, helping his fellow Gauls keep the conquerors at bay.

As the beloved Gaulish hero makes his way back onto the big screen, here are five things you should know about France’s cherished series:

Asterix is seen as the ‘every day’ Frenchman

“Asterix brings together all of the identity-based clichés that form the basis of French culture”, Nicolas Rouvière, researcher at the University of Grenoble-Alps and expert in French comics, told AFP in an interview in 2015.

READ MORE: Bande dessinée: Why do the French love comic books so much?

The expert wrote in his 2014 book “Obelix Complex” that “the French like to look at themselves in this mirror [of the Asterix series], which reflects their qualities and shortcomings in a caricatured and complacent way”.

Oftentimes, the French will invoke Asterix – the man who protected France from the Roman invaders – when expressing their resistance toward something, whether that is imported, American fast food or an unpopular government reform.

The front page of French leftwing newspaper Libération shows President Emmanuel Macron as a Roman while Asterix and his team are the French people protesting against pension reform.

The figure of ‘a Gaul’ is a popular mascot for French sports teams, and you’ll even see people dressed up as Asterix on demos. 

A man dressed as Asterix the Gaul with a placard reading “Gaul, Borne breaks our balls” during a protest over the government’s proposed pension reform, in Paris on January 31, 2023. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

Asterix is the second best-selling comic series

The series has had great success in France since it was first launched in 1959, originally as Astérix le Gaulois. It has also been popular across much of Europe, as the series often traffics in tongue-in-cheek stereotypes of other European nations – for example, caricaturing the English as fans of lukewarm beer and tasteless foods.

Over the years, Asterix has been translated into more than 100 languages, with at least 375 million copies sold worldwide.

It remains the second best-selling comic series in the world, after the popular manga “One Piece”.

There is an Asterix theme park 

The French love Asterix so much that they created a theme park, located just 22 miles north of Paris, in the comic series’ honour in 1989.

The park receives up to two million visitors a year, making it the second most visited theme park in France, after Disneyland Paris. With over 40 attractions and six themed sections, inspired by the comic books, the park brings both young and old visitors each year. 

READ MORE: Six French ‘bandes dessinées’ to start with

The first French satellite was named after Asterix

As Asterix comes from the Greek word for ‘little star’, the French though it would be apt to name their first satellite, launched in 1965 after the Gaulish warrior.

As of 2023, the satellite was still orbiting the earth and will likely continue to do so for centuries to come.

Asterix’ co-authors were from immigrant backgrounds

Here’s become the ‘ultimate Frenchman’, but both creators of the Asterix series were second-generation French nationals, born in France in the 1920s to immigrant parents.

René Goscinny created the Asterix comic series alongside illustrator Albert Uderzo. Goscinny’s parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Born in Paris, René’s family moved to Argentina when he was young and he was raised there for the majority of his childhood. As for Albert Uderzo, his parents were Italian immigrants who settled in the Paris region.

Goscinny unexpectedly died at the age of 51, while writing Asterix in Belgium. From then on, Uderzo took over both writing and illustrating the series on his own, marking Goscinny’s death in the comic by illustrating dark skies for the remainder of the book.

In 1985, Uderzo received one of the highest distinctions in France – the Legion of Honour. Uderzo retired in 2011, but briefly came out of retirement in 2015 to commemorate the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who were murdered in a terror attack by drawing two Asterix pictures honouring their memories.

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