The remake of My Boy, My Son, arrives in theaters today, still directed by Christian Carion who this time recruited James McAvoy to bring to life the new version of this story turned in a very particular way. Meet.
Released in 2017, My Boy staged Guillaume Canet as an absent father whose son was kidnapped. A film shot in an unprecedented way since the actor had not received a script and had improvised all his actions.
For the English version of the film, My Son, again directed by Christian Carion, James McAvoy followed the same exercise. An experience he tells us in the video above while the director tells us about this project like no other below:
DashFUN: what made you want to do a remake of My Boy?
Christian Carion : I wanted to do it again because of the process, which is that the actor does not have the script. He is like the character, he discovers everything in front of the camera, I said to myself if we change the actor, it will necessarily be another experience. My fear was to fall into a pure and stupid remake shot by shot, that is sure that it would not have made much progress.
I wanted to revisit this story with other actors, in another place and another language too, because in Anglo-Saxon cinema it’s a genre that is strong thriller, thriller, as with us elsewhere. And I said to myself if I do it in English, I will reach an audience that I had not been able to reach with the French film and so I took the opportunity to remake the film but a little differently, by changing a few ingredients .
Did you have James McAvoy in mind for the lead role from the start?
I had a shortlist of several actors and he was really into it. Even more when I had him really in Facetime because we were in the middle of the first confinement (…) and the Facetime was strong, he said to me “Wow me never I am never offered to know nothing so I want to do it, I want to experience this once in my life “. And since I think he’s one of the most talented actors of his generation, I thought to myself if he’s going all out, it can be exciting.
James, when you were offered this role, did you know the French film on which it is based?
James McAvoy: I did not know him. The offer came through my agent who told me “it’s a remake of a French film, the director is making his own remake”. I was a little [dubitatif] but when she described to me how we were going to make the movie, I quickly understood that if I was going to do it, I shouldn’t see [le film français] or its trailer. Because of the process, Christian was thrilled with the idea of preserving the authenticity of my reactions and actions. So it was better that I didn’t know what was going on.
Now that My Son is out, are you going to see My Boy?
Yes, I can’t wait to see it. But finding the time to see my own films is difficult so finding time for those of others is almost impossible but I want to see it, I am intrigued.
He is an actor who is very, very instinctive.
Did Christian, James McAvoy and Guillaume Canet have the same approach on the set?
Christian Carion: They did the same thing, and anyway there is no choice: they gave up. They found themselves in situations and from there, we caught their reactions. But they’re different and that’s what interested me, I said to myself, he’s a different actor, he’s a different character, he’s not the same DNA. And indeed there are things where they have the same reactions and others where it’s lived differently, that’s what I liked.
Did James McAvoy make any choices that surprised you during filming that you wouldn’t have imagined?
When it really went in a direction that was not compatible with the film, I would stop. I would tell him “Stop James, you can’t do this” and explain to him why but I didn’t tell him what I expected from him. I would bring him back to the starting point and he would reinvent something else, most of the time that was enough to keep making the movie.
He surprised me because he has a special relationship with violence. He knew Claire Foy very well, they did theater together for a long time, so there was an intimacy, a bond, an alchemy between the two that fed me a lot of things. He’s an actor who is very, very instinctive, sometimes even a little animal and that I liked because there is something in the character. He grabbed it: I gave him the keys to the film and somewhere he left …