A new tape for Asterix

A new strip for Asterix

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PARIS – What do Guillaume Canet, Gilles Lellouche, Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Pierre Richard, Philippe Katerine and singer Angèle have in common? These great stars of French cinema and European music are all part of the cast of the new film Asterix, which hits our screens in two weeks. 

First live-action Asterix film to be released in theaters since In Her Majesty's Service , in 2012, Asterix & Obélix: The Middle Kingdom will be released in Quebec on the same day as in France, February 1st. It is the actor and director Guillaume Canet (Les petits mouchoirs) who this time slips into the skin of the famous little blond Gaul, in addition to having directed the film. His good friend Gilles Lellouche succeeds Gérard Depardieu by donning the Obelix costume.

Scripted by Canet, Julien Hervé and Philippe Mechelen, The Middle Empireis not an adaptation of a comic book album created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The new film recounts the adventures of Asterix and Obelix, as the two brave Gauls embark on a journey to China to help a princess liberate her country.

Meet on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Rendez- you from Unifrance, in Paris, Guillaume Canet did not hide that he felt enormous pressure a few days before the film's release. It's only in France, The Middle Empire is expected as a savior by the French cinema community, in a context where films from France have struggled to attract crowds since the post-pandemic recovery.

“There is already pressure because with such a budget [around $93M], the film has to work [at the box office], confided the actor and director.

“But there is also additional pressure from the whole industry. Because after this pandemic, even if the cinema is starting to pick up a little, it is still fragile for French films. A big French film like Astérix could serve as a driving force for the other productions that will follow.”

Marion Cotillard plays the role of Cleopatra.

Refresh the franchise

As was the case in previous films, this fifth Asterixin live action brings together a host of stars and surprising flash appearances. Guillaume Canet entrusted the role of Cleopatra to his companion, Marion Cotillard. Vincent Cassel dons the costume of Julius Caesar, while Pierre Richard embodies the Druid Getafix.

Vincent Cassel as Julius Caesar.

“There was a desire on our part to refresh the franchise and change the actors,” said Canet.

Several unexpected appearances are also on the program, including that of the Belgian singer Angèle (in Falbala) and the famous footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic (the formidable Antivirus warrior).

The singer Angèle in Falbala.

“I really wanted to have big stars in the film because it’s a bit of a trademark of Astérix, admits Canet. On the other hand, I really wanted them to have a real character and real scenes to play. I didn't want it to be free.”

  • Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire takes the poster in Quebec on February 1st. We will come back to this.