“OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of spies” very quickly became a cult comedy thanks to the humor it displays. Jean Dujardin even pushes the song during the Bambino scene. But this passage was to be quite different originally.
OSS 117: a spy like no other
Before being picked up by Nicolas Bedos, the character of Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath played by Jean Dujardin was first introduced in two films directed by Michel Hazanavicius. At the very start, there is a series of OSS 117 novels, with a spy engaged in a whole bunch of missions. When the director and screenwriter Jean-François Halin embark on a new adaptation, they dare to take a small step aside to dive deep into comedy.
The plot of the first feature film, Cairo, a nest of spies, is located – as its title suggests – in Egypt. Sometime after the coup led by General Nasser, the situation is more than tense in the country. Agents from all over the world prowl the capital. France then decides to send on the spot one of his best elements in order to investigate the death of one of his colleagues. Except that with the unpredictable Hubert Bonisseur from La Bath, everything gets complicated very quickly.
Jean Dujardin covers Dalida in a cult scene
With its many tributes, its unstoppable sense of humor, and a Jean Dujardin in a state of grace, the film is a great success in theaters. It has 2.2 million admissions and above all quickly became a cult. We do not even count the number of strong replicas or striking scenes. One of them, the song toddler (reprise of the eponymous title of Dalida), is a hilarious moment of this first OSS 117. Jean Dujardin, mandolin in his hands, launches into a number that is not always mastered in front of an amused crowd and a disconcerted Bérénice Bejo.
If this passage marked the spirits, it could never have appeared in the editing. Indeed, in the first version of the scenario, Hubert was to shine in a tap dance number. Which would have required the actor to practice beforehand in order to be ready. However, he had to practice speaking Arabic with the help of a coach in order to be credible while singing. Time playing against him, he was content with phonetic learning. In the end, he comes out with the honors in this exercise and it is not sure that the scene would have been so striking with dancing instead of singing (even if he caught up with it later with The Artist).