Passed by Deauville, Sitges and Gérardmer, “Teddy” is finally illustrated in our dark rooms. A horrific comedy that its directors Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma present to us.
Accompanied by the label “Cannes 2020”, Teddy caused a sensation in the few festivals he visited. Whether it’s Sitges, where he won the Critics’ Prize, or Deauville. It was on the stage that we had met his two directors, ahead of the successful screening of this horrific comedy in which a young outsider believes he is becoming a werewolf.
After Willy 1er, co-directed with Marielle Gautier and Hugo P. Thomas, Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma spent the second on their side, but it is together that they answer our questions on this feature film.
DashFUN: They say that it is more difficult to make a second feature film than a first in France, and you did not choose the easy way because you made a genre film. Was it as complicated as you imagine?
Zoran Boukherma: It was tough yes, but I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that it’s a genre film. I think that has to do with the fact that it’s both a genre film and a dramatic comedy. It was not very clear on paper for people: before we had made Willy 1er, which is rather naturalistic even if it is a little pop in the way it is made, so they wondered why we were going towards genre.
Ludovic Boukherma: And what was important to us was to make genre cinema with the touch that we had in Willy 1er, which is a touch of rural France with a slightly quirky universe. A bit funny, yes. We wanted to put all of this in the film, so on paper, a genre film that takes place in rural France, with comedy, it was more disconcerting for people than if we had announced that we would be making a pure genre film. .
And that’s what makes the film so special: you feel it’s really French, in a good way, and that you haven’t tried to copy what the Americans are doing. And he remains close to “Willy 1er” because, deep down, he also speaks of a marginal.
Zoran Boukherma: And yet we love American genre cinema, but we didn’t want to make a pastiche. Or a movie that thinks it’s an American movie, which never really works. We wanted to take our references instead: we grew up with the adaptations of Stephen King, with Tales from the Crypt, with the films of Wes Craven… We wondered how to take these references and appropriate them to bring them into a frame French. And assume that we are in France.
Ludovic Boukherma: It was even the starting point. The desire for the film was to make a horror film in the countryside where we grew up. What if we made these two things meet which, a priori, do not meet? By making a real horror film, but anchored in rural France with people who have a southern accent – since we grew up in Lot-et-Garonne – and above all normal people. The first desire was even that, beyond the horrific aspect.
On paper, a genre film set in rural France, with comedy, it was more disconcerting for people than if we had announced that we were making a pure genre film.
What led you to the werewolf, which is quite rare in horror alongside vampires and zombies?
Ludovic Boukherma: It all started with something pretty funny. After Willy 1er, we were trying to write our second feature and we struggled a bit. We wrote a lot because we didn’t really know what we wanted to do. But we went on vacation to the Jura, and to shoot a short film there we bought a mask and werewolf hands from a joke and trick shop.
And there, by looking for what we could do, we rediscovered the pleasure of when we were kids, of making monster movies. So we made this short film, super modest and shot on the phone, and it all started from there. And we found that if you took a classic werewolf movie in its structure, like The Werewolf of London or Ginger Snaps can be, and watched it today, you saw it differently.
We had the impression that the background, often a coming-of-age story, was becoming something else. Potentially anger, marginalization. And that’s also what made us want to make a film about mutation, about becoming a monster.
Werewolf hands, are they the ones we see in the movie?
Ludovic Boukherma: It could have been, but it’s a costume that was made by Christophe Calcus for the film. What we had before was …