After being presented to the public in the show “La Vie Normale”, Chouchou landed in the cinema in 2003. To create what would become one of his most famous characters, Gad Elmaleh was inspired by an encounter that occurred in Pigalle.
Pet : from stage to screen
After Hi cousin !Gad Elmaleh reunites with director Merzak Allouache for Pet. With this comedy released in 2003, the comedian offers a one-character cinematic adventure created for his sketches. That of Choukri, a North African immigrant who claims to be a Chilean refugee and who arrives in Paris with the aim of finding his nephew. Offering his services for cleaning, ironing and cooking, he is welcomed in the church of Father Léon (Claude Brasseur) and Brother Jean (Roschdy Zem).
Thanks to the priest, Choukri quickly becomes the handyman of psychotherapist Nicole Milovavovich (Catherine Frot). Alongside the latter, he can come to work as a “Chouchou”, a more playful and liberated personality. Chouchou then finds a job as a waiter in a transvestite cabaret in Clichy where his meeting with the charming Stanislas (Alain Chabat) will change his life…
Micheline Presle, Arié Elmaleh, Julien Courbey and Stéphane Boucher complete the cast of the feature film, which brings together nearly 3.8 million spectators in French cinemas.
A significant meeting for Gad Elmaleh
Chouchou’s first appearance is in the one-man show normal life by Gad Elmaleh. This character was born following a significant encounter for the comedian. While he is in Pigalle with his brother, the actor is arrested by a transvestite rue Lepic. Quoted by Firstthe latter would have launched:
You come, my darling. I will make you your fantasy…
The actor explains:
It was a Fellini figure, with her wig, heavy makeup and high heels. He also had a strong North African accent with a very effeminate voice. An amazing mix!
Very inspired by their exchange, he then created one of his most famous protagonists, in the same way as “le Blond” or Coco. To slip into Chouchou’s skin, Gad Elmaleh needs three hours of preparation. In addition to makeup, he must put on a sheath, breast prostheses and a wig. He says about this:
I shaved twice a day, because my beard showed from 3 p.m., despite the tons of foundation. Putting up with the itching caused by hair regrowth is not easy.
Conditions that end up cracking the comedian during filming. One summer day, no longer able to stand the heat, Gad Elmaleh rips off his wig and leaves the set, soaked and at the end of his tether.