After more than three decades as Father Firas, do you feel any fatigue?
no. Something remains for once a year. It’s been three weeks of filming in May. In addition, the game is constantly renewing itself. This story goes well beyond action. It’s a great moment to reunite with the teams and the venue.
You are 68 years old. At some point, you’ll be as old as the character!
Ah, if I could do that, it would save me putting on makeup. (laughs) But this old man is no longer old. When people ask me his age, I answer that he is several years old as there are steps in all the steps of the castle. So it remains ambiguous.
What do you have in stock for the candidates this season?
Each show will be placed under a different theme. With the help of secret weapons, the so-called Origins of Father Firas, I will regain power. These nine assets, symbolized by cards, each represent a different strategy for the nine offerings. They will change some events. Candidates will sometimes find a chance card that allows them to choose between two trials, and other times they will have to face a mysterious warrior. Each time you will create different atmospheres and scenarios.
Are there new characters too?
Yes fisherman. He is responsible for recruiting and training time masters. Otherwise, Willie Rovelli got out of his cell, but replaced his doomed clothes with the clothes of the sheriff of the fort. As for Cyril Gossbo (Cyril Féraud), Father Firas put him away in the castle storage room where he would receive the candidates.
The game has been adapted into many other countries. Are you surprised by their foreign counterparts to Father Firas?
Every country has its culture. The Koreans made him a kind of Napoleon with the typical hat. The Germans had dressed a woman with leather! And the Russians imagine a kind of Rasputin.
How did you get the role of Father Firas?
I was a dancer and wanted to quit smoking. I wanted to go into acting. I was part of a workshop with quite a few well-known actors, especially Marie Trentignan. That’s when I learned we were looking for someone to play on the small screen. At that time, it was very frowned upon in the profession to make television and more entertainment. Mary Trentinant and the others were trying to convince me not to. I told them it wasn’t a problem, because I would wear a mask and change my voice. They will not recognize me. On top of that, I was just thinking about going into hiding for one season. No one imagined it would last that long.
You will not only play the role of the character, but you will also design various Fort experiences!
Yes, after a while I started coming up with ideas. They were fascinated by what she imagined. I was interested not only in standing in front of the camera, but also behind it. It’s more creative. Even if I stop this part of the work today for “Fort Boyard,” because I’m also designing for “Koh-Lanta” events, which take up a lot of my time.
Is there a sadistic side to you in imagining these ordeals to which candidates are exposed?
Yes, we push candidates to their limits. From the moment we play with a phobia, we touch something sensitive. But it is very difficult to deal with it. If you push the envelope too far, it’s like dynamite, and it can explode in your face. If the candidate feels bad, the shooting should stop. You have to find the right dose. There is nothing closer to laughter than fear.
Among the specialties of “Fort Boyard” are all kinds of creatures: spiders, scorpions, snakes, rats …
Every year I would go see someone who has some kind of reptile and insect farm. I asked him if he had a new kind, because we no longer knew what to invent. What we haven’t done yet is a test with bees. I would dream about it. There is a species in Africa that does not bite. Just hearing the buzzing, it arouses excitement. But we have to be careful what we do with animals. It is very protected.
You mentioned it, and you are also the designer of the “Koh-Lanta” tests…
The idea to test the shaft came to me when I saw swans perched on mooring poles at sea for boats in Panama. I found it to be a very pure picture. And I made it into the game, but the test I’m most proud of is the steering. Each time, it causes completely different scenarios. It is also one of the most difficult tests, as it can last for 3 or 4 hours. Candidates come out bloodless.
“Koh-Lanta” will be taking a break with only one season this year. Was two shows a year too much?
completely. If it were up to me, I would have made the brand breathe a long time ago. We at the production company all agree to let the concept breathe a bit.
“Fort Boyard”, every Friday in the summer at 8:05 pm in Tipik, and on Saturdays in France 2 at 9:10 pm.
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