In 2019, comedian Thomas Ngijol embarked on the production of a superheroic comedy: “Black Snake, the Legend of the Black Serpent”. Did you know that this feature film is actually adapted from one of the comedian’s sketches?
Black snake : when French cinema turns to superhero films
In 2019, Thomas Ngijol once again goes behind the camera to stage Black Snake, Legend of the Black Snake. Helped by his partner and collaborator Karole Rocher, he thus directed this superheroic comedy quite unprecedented in the landscape of French cinema. The story tells the fate of Clotaire Sangala (Thomas Ngijol), forced to return to his native country in Africa, after years spent in Paris. He must therefore readjust to another way of life. It was then that he was bitten by a mysterious black snake, and thus develops unprecedented superhuman powers. Addicted to women and the easy life, he will have to take his new responsibilities in hand.
On the casting side, the feature film notably brings together, in addition to Thomas Ngijol and Karole Rocher, Edouard Baer, Michel Gohou or even Jérôme Le Banner. On the box office side, Black snake counts a total of 174 422 entries. But did you know that this story actually is adapted from a sketch by Thomas Ngijol?
From sketch to screen
Initially, the idea stems from a sketch by Thomas Ngijol. The comedian has indeed written a sketch centered on Superman, and on its non-existent relationship with Africa. His entourage and his producers found the idea brilliant, and pushed the actor to develop this idea more deeply. This is where the project was born Black snake, helped by one of its co-authors, as Thomas Nigijol recalls:
We built the character, then I found the plot, the setting. I wanted to treat the subject with humor while giving it a very real frame. So I chose the period of the 70s which I find rich in events that could be told in the form of a comedy. This is the starting point!
Thomas Ngijol then wrote the screenplay for his film with his two co-authors, before directing it with Karole Rocher. The comedian and filmmaker specifies:
We corrected some elements of the script because they did not suit us. This four-handed work allowed us to build the project together and to have a common vision of the film. Each scene had to be precise, so we worked a lot on the characters and the dialogue. We reworked the script until it was exactly what we wanted to tell. It is through this work of rewriting that I was able to appropriate this project. I even brought a personal touch to it that is not that of comedy.
Black Snake unfortunately did not receive a very positive critical reception, either from the press or the spectators. Just on Allocine, the feature film counts scores ranging from 1.9 for spectators to 2.4 for the press. But for the curious, Black Snake, The Legend of the Black Snake is available on Netflix.