Five years after the film “Robbers”, Julien Leclercq and Sami Bouajila are back for the series of the same name, available on Netflix. The director joined forces with Hamdi Hlioua, creator in particular of the “Cannabis” series, with a view to expanding this universe and offering an even more ambitious show. Focus on the series and meeting with its creators.
Heist season is on!
From September 24, 2021, Netflix subscribers can discover the series Robbers, inspired by the film of the same name released in 2016. Obviously this owes nothing to chance since it is Julien Leclercq, director of the film, who here derives his story with Hamid Hlioua in a serial format, 6 episodes of about 45mn. Heavy weapons, taciturn and honorable gangsters, young people who want to get out of it and families of organized crime, everything is there for a big blow to be struck. In the manner of Zero Zero Zero, or even of Gangs of London, Robbers thinks big by offering several points of view and a plot with multiple ramifications.
Of great action and family tragedy
It was in video, and in a good mood mixed with the excitement of the imminence of the broadcast, that we were able to discuss with Julien Leclercq and Hamdi Hlioua on this series of action with unprecedented ambition. Ambition is the key word of the approach, the idea of developing as much as possible what was posed in the 2016 film. Neither one nor two, the term of BCU (Cinematic Universe robbers) imposes itself during the exchange! Far from establishing a form of hierarchy between the cinema and the series, the two authors insist on the deepening of the characters allowed by the format of the series, the inclusion of several plots, of several places, in short an a priori development without limits for a creator.
Hamid Hlioua : I loved Julien Leclercq’s work as a director in the cinema, and I had great memories of the film Braqueurs. So when I was offered to join him and imagine a new chapter of BCU (laughs), it was very exciting to come back to this kind of action thriller and reinvent a story there. We met up with Julien very quickly on how we were going to do it. We especially wanted to make a family tragedy, with this triptych: tension – action – family.
Julien Leclercq : 80 days of filming at this rate, it’s very intense. There is no second director, no second team, it took a lot of energy. You have to give birth to a four-hour film, with all these characters. I made a promise to myself as a director on the artistic direction, the stunts, the casting of the secondary roles … Everything had to be coherent, and at the level of what I like on the other side of the Atlantic. .
A movie like Earth and Blood, it’s 35 days of shooting for 1h20 of film. Series Robbers, it’s 80 days of shooting for 4 hours.
Sami Bouajila, chief robber
Series Robbers is not a sequel to the film, since for those who have seen it the fate of Sami Bouajila’s character is unequivocal. He therefore does not play Yanis Zeri but Mehdi, a seasoned robber whose charisma and cold determination command respect, without ever having to raise his voice. That is, for the actor Caesarized in 2021 for A son, a fourth collaboration with Julien Leclercq. And he is full of praise for Sami Bouajila, whom he considers his “cinema brother”.
JL: He’s my cinema brother, I’ve done four projects with him, and he’s more and more handsome, more and more feline, more and more intelligent. As Hamid says, it’s mathematical: 1h20, it’s a short film, all in tension. A series like this takes 4 hours, so you can’t crash the cast, the leader cast. So I put a lot of pressure on myself, we have to think of an actor who can be there for several seasons. There is like a lock, success or not, we will not be able to change it, and luckily Sami Bouajila as a robber is a perfect cast.
Black cap, black jacket, even darker look, Sami Bouajila excels in this role, and above all he allows the other characters to develop. If he captures the light, it is to better reflect it on his playing partners, in particular and first and foremost the young Tracy Gotoas, charismatic and lively young girl who decides to take her destiny – and her love – in hand. Another special mention to Samuel Jouy, whose presence makes us regret that we do not see him more on our screens.
Brussels, a free city at the crossroads of cultures
The plot of Robbers takes place in Belgium, and mainly in Brussels. Its colors, its nights, its recesses and its avenues, Julien Leclercq’s camera …