At 77, he directs his fourteenth film.
After "the War of Fire", "the Name of the Rose", "the Bear", "Seven Years in Tibet" or "Stalingrad", Jean-Jacques Annaud is used to colossal projects.
The filmmaker tells us why he took an interest in the Notre-Dame de Paris fire, and how he intends to make a film that is both romantic and ultra-documented.
“Notre-Dame is burning”, with a colossal budget of 30 million euros, will be released in April 2022.
When did you get the idea for this film?
The night of the fire, I was in a house with no television and, listening to the radio, I said to my wife: "Imagine how many morons are going to want to make a movie!
I know very well the cathedral, I love gothic architecture, I immediately felt the incredible dramatic tension of this Wagnerian drama.
And then, from filming "The War of Fire", I know how terrible and photogenic fire is at the same time.
However, eight months after the fire, Jérôme Seydoux
(Editor's note: CEO of Pathé)
offered to make a documentary on the subject.
And you offered him a fiction ...
I told him that I didn't think the archives were sufficient to tell about the fire.
It was true: everything I film there, no one has been able to film it.
You are committed to reconstructing reality in its smallest details ...
Yes, because the devil is in the details: for people to accept extravagant stories, the details must not undermine their credibility.
However, on the night of April 15 to 16, 2019, events followed one another in an incredible, sorry and wonderful way.
Why tell anything other than this spectacular and senseless truth?
The closer I am to reality, the more effective the film will be.
To read also On the set of "Notre-Dame burns", the film-reconstruction of Jean-Jacques Annaud
“Notre-Dame is burning” will still be supported by some archival images.
You have launched an appeal to collect the videos filmed the evening of the fire ...
We received about 3,000. Some were taken with cell phones, others with professional cameras, by individuals or foreign TV channels.
These are irreplaceable images, because I could not burn the cathedral a second time!
April 15, 2019, the spire of Notre-Dame de Paris collapses devoured by flames
It is still unclear what caused the fire.
You who have investigated, do you have a conviction?
There are several hypotheses, all of which I filmed.
To know my opinion, it will be necessary to see the film
The feature film costs no less than 30 million euros ...
I don't want to know that!
On the set of "The Lover", I rehabilitated a village on the banks of the Mekong, made a ferry ... One day, I turned around and saw 150 trucks: I realized that they were
There, I told myself that my job was to direct my actors, not to worry about the number of vehicles in the parking lot.
This is what I did, even when I shot very expensive films like "Seven Years in Tibet"
(Editor's note: $ 70 million each)
As I had slipped one day to Claude Berri: "It's not what a film costs that is important, it's what it is supposed to bring back!"
Netflix will soon be shooting a series on the Notre-Dame fire.
You said that the platform wanted to recover your decorations ...
Yes, I wish them the best.
But it's true that for the sets, I didn't like it ...
Are you always so calm on set?
I have the whole film in my head, an extremely competent team, talented actors and superb sets.
And there is a fervor on this plateau.
I am extremely spoiled: I continue to make the films I want, with incredible freedom.