Dany Boon and Philippe Katerine got involved in the action scenes of the comedy “Le Lion”. For one of them, the two actors were treated to an eventful excursion by helicopter over Paris.
Lion : a buddy movie French-style
Almost 40 years after the adventures of Pierre Richard and Gérard Depardieu in The goatDany Boon and Philippe Katerine perpetuate the tradition of buddy movie French style with Lion. The lion is Leo Milan (Dany Boon), a patient in a psychiatric hospital who claims to be a formidable secret agent. When he tells his doctor Romain Martin (Philippe Katerine) that his partner is about to be kidnapped, he doesn’t believe a word of it.
But when his wife Louise (Anne Serra) is actually taken hostage, Romain asks Leo for help. Once out of his cage, the lion goes on a rampage and drags his shrink on an adventure filled with fights, shootouts and chases. What to ask the doctor about the true nature of his patient: is he dealing with a mythomaniac or a real spy?
Carole Brana, Sophie Verbeeck and Samuel Jouy complete the cast of this comedy, the first solo feature film by Ludovic Colbeau-Justin, co-director of That’s all for me with Nawell Madani. Lion does not meet with the expected success when it was released in 2020, barely exceeding 450,000 admissions, which did not allow it to reimburse its estimated budget of 14 million euros. A substantial sum in particular due to the many action scenes.
A new physical role for Dany Boon
After Crazy Raid, Dany Boon performs a new important physical preparation for the needs of the film. Trained by the stunt coordinator Gilles Conseil, the actor once again gives of himself alongside his partner Philippe Katerine, who is also entitled to a few fights. For the actor and director of Welcome to the Ch’tisthe main objective of this training was to look believable as a spyas he explains for the press kit :
It was very important in this story to believe that “The lion” is really a secret agent. I worked a lot preparing the stunts for example, as I had been able to do on Crazy Raid. They are movie characters with pretty strong flaws: look at Jason Bourne. But they also remain war machines, capable of waking up at any time…
An eventful helicopter ride
Asked by First at the Alpe d’Huez Festival where the film is presented, Ludovic Colbeau-Justin claims to have sought the right balance between comedy and action. To do this, he did not hesitate to cut certain spectacular sequences, such as a shooting for which 10,000 cartridges were needed. On the other hand, the filmmaker did not deprive his feature film of a perilous helicopter ride over the capital. An important passage that the director didn’t want to shoot on green screens, as revealed by its two main actors. During an interview for Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont, Philippe Katerine said:
It was a very strong argument when reading the script. Already, to make the helicopter, me I had never made. (…) It was very engaging, super exciting on paper and then to do it too. Even to see it. (…) I felt good seeing life as a bird, I really liked it. It is stunningly beautiful. We were above Paris, we had all the permissions, and then we still had to avoid buildings. It was still very exhilarating to do.
Dany Boon adds:
Ludovic Colbeau-Justin didn’t want us to shoot on a green screen, but really in a helicopter. That’s what we did, and flew the helicopter a bit. (…) It’s not faked that.