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Les revenants - First press release (official synopsis, casting news, etc)

I wanted to cram all the Canal+ news I had in a single post, but halfway through writing the whole thing, I realized it was probably too much for one thread. I'll post another thread in a few days ;). It means there's not a single information related to english-speaking TV here, sorry, that's going to be in the next one. Well, since you're here, why don't you stick around ? Canal+ just published a press release of their upcoming (late 2012 / early 2013) fantasy drama series, Les revenants (meaning "The returnees"). In that press release we learn many things.

We knew that the show would be based on the 2004 film of the same name, but now we have an official synopsis :

In Annecy, on the same day, people from different age and different social classes, all of them disoriented, try and come home. They don't know yet that they have been dead for many years, that they didn't get older and that no one expects their return. They're determined to regain a place that is no longer theirs. But they quickly find out that they're not the only people returning from the dead and that their return has brought increasing disturbances in the region. What if it was just the beginning of a much bigger upheaval ?

Canal+ makes it official that the first season will have 8 episodes (50-55 minutes each). Shooting starts next Monday in and around Annecy (Haute-Savoie), it will last four and a half months (March 26, 2012 - August 13, 2012).

This series will be based on the 2004 film Les revenants (= The returnees, translated as "They came back" by the Wellspring company for the US DVD release), written, directed and edited by Robin Campillo. He's the editor on all five films of Laurent Cantet, co-writer (with Cantet) on his last three : L'emploi du temps, Vers le sud and Palme d'or winning, César winning and Oscar nominated film Entre les murs. This has been in gestation at Canal+ since Fall 2007 (it was considered unlikely to happen for quite some time until 2011 when this project was reactivated without Campillo's involvement). It's not a follow-up to the movie, you don't need to see it first (a good thing, not many people have).

All 8 episodes were written by Fabrice Gobert, writer/director of the 2010 film Simon Werner a disparu (= Simon Werner has gone missing), nominated at the 2011 César Awards (the french Oscars) for Meilleur premier film (= Best first film). He was helped by a few writers such as Céline Sciamma (Naissance des pieuvres, Tomboy), Nicolas Peufaillit (Chrysalis, Un prophète), Catherine Hoffman (Un admirateur secret), Emmanuel Carrère (La moustache), Nathalie Saugeon (Mascarades, Kaboul Kitchen), Fabien Adda (?) and Camille Fontaine (L'oeil de l'autre, Coco avant Chanel).

All 8 episodes will be directed by Frederic Mermoud (Complices) and the creator/writer of the show, Fabrice Gobert.

The original score will be composed by Mogwaï.

And now, here's the cast :

1 — Anne Consigny will have the leading role. Her breakthrough came in 2004 when she appeared in L'équipier and the amazing 36, Quai des Orfèvres (from Olivier Marshal, creator of Canal's Braquo), two successful, critically acclaimed films. But she's perhaps best known for her roles in the brilliant Le scaphandre et le papillon (= The diving bell and the butterfly, nominated for 4 Oscars). She's a 3-time César nominee : in 2006 for Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé (= I'm not here to be loved), in 2009 for Un conte de Noël (= A Christmas tale) and in 2010 for Rapt (= Abduction). She co-stars in a new Alain Resnais film, Vous n'avez encore rien vu (= You haven't seen anything yet). She worked for Resnais in 2009 on his previous film, Les herbes folles (= Wild grass). It's not Anne Consigny's first TV series : she starred as Présidente Grace Bellanger in the political comedy L'état de grace (6 episodes, 2006) and she guest-starred in 4 episodes of the critically acclaimed crime drama Les beaux mecs (8 episodes, 2011). Both shows were produced for France 2.

Anne Consigny has been nominated for three Césars but among the other stars of Les revenants, there are also two 2012 César winners and two 2012 César nominees in the "meilleur espoir" (= most promising newcomer) categories :

2 — Clotilde Hesme played supporting parts in Les amants réguliers (= Regular lovers), Les liens du sang (= Blood ties) and Chansons d'amour (= Love songs). She had her first leading role in Angèle et Tony, for which she just won a César.

3 — Grégory Gadebois played minor parts in a few films before his big leading role break in Angèle et Tony, for which he won a César a month ago. He's currently in Les adieux à la reine, a period film starring Léa Seydoux & Diane Kruger.

4 — Guillaume Gouix played a few recurring roles on TV series such as Les bleus and Les beaux mecs. He also played a minor role in Midnight in Paris before he got nominated for a César for playing Jimmy Rivière in the eponymous movie.

5 — Céline Sallette's first supporting roles were in films like Meurtrières (= Murderers), La chambre des morts (= The chamber of the dead) and Le grand alibi (= The big alibi). She played small roles in Marie-Antoinette and Hereafter. Her career is climbing up fast recently : she got her first leading role a month ago in Ici-bas (= Down here), she was nominated for a César Award for her role in L'apollonide, she will co-star in Jacques Audiard's upcoming movie De rouille et d'os (= Of rust and bone) starring Marion Cotillard, she will co-star in Costa-Gavras' new film Le Capital, and she will play the iconic actress Simone Signoret in a biopic about the no-less iconic Yves Montand, named Montand (he will be played by Thierry Neuvic, one of the stars of the Canal+ series Mafiosa who also appeared in Hereafter and in Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows).

Also starring are :

6 — Ana Girardot : after a leading role in the only film from the creator of Les revenants, Simon Werner a disparu, she is now playing Isabelle Forêt in Cloclo, the Claude François biopic from Florent Emilio-Siri (starring Jérémie Renier).

7 — Frédéric Pierrot : he's the only actor seen in the 2004 film to work on the TV show. He co-starred alongside Anne Consigny in the TV series L'état de Grace. He's also had supporting roles in films such as the interesting sci-fi gem Immortel - Ad vitam and recently the incredible Polisse.

8 — Samir Guesmi : seen in the great thriller Anthony Zimmer (poorly remade as The Tourist), in another great thriller Ne le dis à personne (Tell no one) and in the Canal+ landmark series Engrenages (= cogs, aka Spiral).

9 — Jenna Thiam : she's a young actress, so she didn't have the opportunity to act in many films/series other than a guest role in (insert sarcastic intonation here) the overly ambitious TF1 series Clem.

Sources : Canal+, Imdb, Allociné and my limited knowledge.

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