“Asterix and Obelix against Caesar” was the first live-action adaptation of the famous comic strip. Before Claude Zidi’s film, a certain Louis de Funès was interested in the universe and wanted to be at the center of a project in which he would have played the role of Asterix.
The characters Asterix and Obelix were invented in 1959, under the feathers of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The two men left figures in French popular culture that continue to be exploited. A new feature film directed by Guillaume Canet is also in preparation at the time of writing. It was in 1999 that the first live-action film adaptation was released: Asterix and Obelix against Caesar.
In the shoes of the two heroes, in front of Claude Zidi’s camera, we find Christian Clavier and Gérard Depardieu. The film tells the story of the struggle of a small village of die-hard Gauls against Caesar’s Roman troops. He gathered 9 million spectators in France and above all has the quality of launching the incarnations of the characters which will then be included in the cult Mission Cleopatra. Without this previous film, one can think that this brilliant comedy would certainly never have seen the light of day.
Before Asterix and Obelix against Caesar, others wanted to transpose the universe on the big screen. There was first Claude Lelouch, a few years after the birth of the characters. The famous French director saw the potential of such a universe but his goal was to surround himself with an amateur casting. Only way, from his point of view, to find people who would look like the figures in the comics. A daring and risky choice, which will kill the project in the bud.
But what interests us most is this failed adaptation initiated by Louis de Funès. The latter approached Albert Uderzo to test the waters and express his desire to play Asterix. However, the star was planning to make a major change to the character removing his mustache. He feared that this element would camouflage his face too much and that the public would not recognize him. It is not only for this reason that the project did not come up and it was not until the 90s that the two Gauls finally entered the dark rooms. We are ready to bet that an adaptation with Louis de Funès would have been a real commercial success given its popularity and that of comics.