In 2011, Kad Merad went behind the camera by directing his first feature film entitled “Monsieur Papa”. A title reminiscent of another film released in the 70s. A family link between the two films perhaps?
Mr. Papa : first director’s cap for Kad Merad
A regular figure in French comedy for years, Kad Merad delivers his first film as a director in Mr. Papa. A decisive step in his career that he could also have refused. Indeed, initially, the actor simply had to occupy the leading role. However, when he read the script, the actor also wanted to take on the director’s cap. Finally, Kad Merad occupies a role in front of and behind the camera. He is supported by his wife at the time Emmanuelle Cosso-Merad who is in charge of writing the screenplay, and also plays a small role in the film.
Monsieur Papa therefore follows little Marius Vallois, twelve years old, who wishes to have a father in his life. Consequently, he does everything to find it, even if it means committing the worst possible stupidities. His mother, Marie Vallois decides to hire an unemployed person named Robert Pique, to play a father figure. The latter’s mission is to disappoint Marius, so that the young boy stops his research. What is initially a twisted ploy will nevertheless weave a very strong bond between the three characters.
Regarding the distribution, in addition to Kad Merad, the film can count on the presence of Michèle Laroque, Vincent Perez, Clovis Cornillac, Olivier Baroux and the revelation Gaspard Meier-Chaurand who plays the role of young Marius.
Mr. Papa received the First Film Award for Kad Merad at the 2011 COLCOA Film Festival held in Hollywood. Paradoxically, he was also crowned at the Gerard du cinema ceremony (equivalent to the Razzie Awards).
Neither adaptation nor remake
In view of the title, some initially thought that Mr. Papa was an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Patrick Cauvin in 1976. The novel gave way to a film adaptation, released a year later and directed by Philippe Monnier. You can find great names in French cinema such as Claude Brasseur, Nathalie Baye, Daniel Auteuil, and Josiane Balasko. The pitch of Mr. Papa tells the story of ten-year-old Laurent Lanier and his father Franck. The fusional relationship between the two characters is, one day, upset by the arrival of Jeanine, Franck’s new girlfriend.
the Mr. Papa by Kad Merad is therefore not a remake of the film released in 1977. Moreover, the actor-director already knew this film. He thus asked the authorization of the holders of the rights of the work. to use this title for the purposes of his feature film. His request was accepted without much difficulty.
Not to be confused with an American film
Another confusion: the 2011 feature film has nothing to do with Mr. Papa, French title given to an American comedy released in 1996. In this film directed by John Murlowski, we find a Santa Claus all in muscles who brings order to a small Californian town. Note that Santa Claus is played by American wrestling legend Hulk Hogan. There is also a future star of the small and big screen: Mila Kunis.