“Les Compères” is the first film by Francis Veber where a man named François Pignon appears. And faced with the success of the comedy, then that of “The Fugitives”, Pierre Richard is convinced that the character belongs to him.
Freinds : both make the father
After The goat and before The fugitives, the cult duo formed by Pierre Richard and Gérard Depardieu teamed up under the direction of Francis Veber in Freinds. Released in 1983, this comedy begins with the runaway of young Tristan Martin (Stéphane Bierry).
Faced with the inactivity of her companion Paul (Michel Aumont), Christine (Anny Duperey) decides to call on two former lovers to try to find her son. The first, Jean Lucas (Gérard Depardieu), is a rough and straightforward kind of journalist. The second, François Pignon (Pierre Richard), is a sensitive and suicidal loner. To convince them to go looking for Tristan, she makes them believe in turn that they are the father of the boy. Between them, the agreement promises to be complicated and not really cordial…
If it does not equal the 7 million entries of The goat, Freinds all the same met with great success, bringing together more than 4.8 million spectators in French theaters. Nominated for the César for Best Actor for Gérard Depardieu as well as for Best Original Screenplay for Francis Veber, the film was entitled to its American remake in 1997, entitled funny dadsdirected by Ivan Reitman and worn by Robin Williams and Billy Crystal.
The first François Pignon
Freinds also marks the first appearance of François Pignon, usually likeable and unlucky heroes, often taken for a fool, in a film by Francis Veber. Previously, Jacques Brel interprets it in The Troublemakerroom adaptation The contract signed Edouard Molinaro. Jacques Villeret (The dinner of fools), Daniel Auteuil (Closet), Gad Elmaleh (Lining) and Patrick Timsit (The Troublemaker) then succeed Pierre Richard in the skin of this emblematic character in the cinema.
The “tall blond” also hopes to be able to embody it a third time after The fugitives in The dinner of fools but the director prefers Jacques Villeret, who already lent him his features in the play. Pierre Richard says to himself saddened to see François Pignon escape him, considering being the comedian attached to the protagonist. Quoted by France Sundayhe declares :
It disappointed me a bit. Given the big hits I had had with it, I felt, perhaps pretentiously, that it was a bit mine.