The quebec filmmaker Daniel Roby has certainly breathed a sigh of relief by revealing, finally, to the public this week its thriller English-speaking Suspect number one, the first big film of quebec to take the display since the reopening of the cinema. It is the director of Louis Cyr and Funkytown was the subject of this project at the end of arm for 13 years.
Suspect number one (the Target Number Ise, in the original English) is freely inspired by the story of Alain Olivier, a former drug addict from quebec who has been wrongfully convicted in 1991 for heroin trafficking. Olivier, who has spent more than eight years in prison thai (1989 to 1997), has always proclaimed his innocence, claiming to have been trapped by an operation of the Royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP) has gone wrong.
In the film, Daniel Roy tells how Alain Olivier – renamed Daniel Lightweight for legal reasons, and embodied by the actor Antoine Olivier Pilon – found himself in spite of himself at the centre of this operation sloppy, while following in parallel to the investigation conducted by the journalist Victor Malarek (played by Josh Hartnett), who has burst the scandal.
The quebec filmmaker has begun to take an interest in the case Alain Olivier in 2007 by reading an article on the subject in a journal.
“This fantastic story I was immediately arrested, tells Daniel Roby in interview to the Newspaper. I went to read other articles on the subject, including the reports of Victor Malarek. I then spent three months in court when Alain Olivier has sued the RCMP and the government. I have accumulated a lot of information. I felt that this story allowed me to address the question of the freedom of the press. If investigative journalism didn’t exist, Alain Olivier would have died in a prison in Thailand. “
Patience and determination
After a year of working on this story, Daniel Roby had already managed to lay a first version of the scenario. The project seemed on track, but for all sorts of reasons, the filmmaker had to wait ten years before being able to shoot the film.
“When I started writing the screenplay for Suspect number one (formerly called Gut Instinct), I thought that this would be my second feature film. But this is finally my fifth !, he said with a chuckle.
In 2008, Roby has put the project aside for a first time to go Funkytown, a film about the years of the disco in Montreal. He was then recruited to carry out the biographical drama Louis Cyr, who has been a huge success at the box-office in 2013.
A few years ago, he was finally ready to undertake the filming of Suspect number one when a foreign investor withdrew from the project at the last minute. Again, Roby was persistent and returned to the charge with new solutions to bring this project to completion.
“It has been a long journey strewn with obstacles, but at a given moment, everything fell into place at the right time. He just had to be patient and never let go of the piece.
“I think ultimately, it is a good thing to have produced films such as Funkytown and Louis Cyr before I tackle the filming of Suspect number one. It has allowed me to gain experience and to maximize the budget we had (about$ 7 Million). Mine nothing, this is my smallest budget since The white skin (his first feature). ”
The distribution of the film has also evolved greatly over the years. The fact that you have to wait that long to him has been entrusted with the main character of his movie Antoine Olivier Pilon, who would have been too young for the role a few years ago. He also had a blow of heart for the american actor Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor) who lends her traits to the journalist Victor Malarek.
“Josh really impressed me, highlights Roby. From the outset, he has been very generous and very invested in the project. He said it was the kind of role that was exactly what he was looking for at this stage of his career. It is also a lot of fun with this character. I find that there is something going on every time he is on screen. “
► The film Suspect number one, on display since Friday.