Valérie Lemercier is not just a fantastic actress. She is also a successful director, as proved in 2005 with her film “Royal Palace!”. A comedy for which she initially had another scenario idea.
royal palace : the triumph of Valérie Lemercier
Revealed in the late 80s via the series Palace, Valérie Lemercier has become a reference in French comedy in just a few years. Indeed, her hilarious humor coupled with a very mannered attitude delight the public and those who work with her. After collaborating in 1991 with the trio Jean-Marie Poiré-Christian Clavier-Jean Reno on Operation Corned Beefshe finds them two years later for an even more monstrous comedy: Visitors. Thanks to his exceptional performance, she wins the first César of her career and definitely starts his career in the cinema.
After finding success again with The City of Fear as well as with a role in a Hollywood production named sabrina, Valérie Lemercier chooses to go behind the camera in 1997 via his first film Quadrille. She repeats the trial two years later with The bottom. Like his first film, the returns are mixed. But the best is yet to come.
Thus, in 2005, Valérie Lemercier once again put on the cap of actress-director for the needs of Royal Palace! As often with her, the scenario is totally crazy. We therefore follow the life of Armelle, a speech therapist who is married to the youngest son of a king. When the father of the latter loses his life in a helicopter accident, the prince makes sure (by a competition of stratagems) to succeed him. Overnight, Armelle becomes queen. A task that is not easy to assume and that changes his personality completely.
Originally a more “political” film
Royal Palace! was a huge critical and commercial success. With a 5-star cast (in addition to Valérie Lemercier, there are Lambert Wilson, Catherine Deneuve and Mathilde Seigner), the comedy attracts 2.6 million spectators and finds itself nominated twice for the Césars. A great revenge for Valérie Lemercier, after the failure of her two previous feature films.
If the filmmaker was inspired by certain constitutional monarchies (even taking Lady Di as a model), the fact that her film takes place in a royal universe was not her original idea. Indeed, Valérie Lemercier initially wanted her comedy to be set in the political world. Its protagonist would then have been the wife of the mayor of a large city. However, the director changed her mind, believing that this universe is far too boring and boring for the public. So she turned to the spectacular antics of royalty, which she found more fun. The click of the change of writing from Royal Palace! was also a cut out photo she discovered in the magazine Point of view and which featured a crown prince fooling around while hanging from a rope. This photo then definitively convinced Valérie Lemercier to situate her decor in a monarchical universe.
This then allowed him to not only offer a tailor-made role to Catherine Deneuve who embodies the whimsical Queen Eugenia (herself inspired by Grace of Monaco) but also to maintain a certain political and republican bias. In effect, royal palace is a pastiche of the monarchy, as she asserts on Black screen :
It is true that I am not very royalist. There is a kind of injustice in these stories of descent, all the “sons of” do not necessarily have the skills, some of them are even sacred broken arms!