WORKING WITH UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, & HOW DE PALMA GOT INVOLVED
At Le Monde, Frédéric Krivine tells Laurent Carpentier and Aureliano Tonet about contacting Brian De Palma when he heard De Palma and Susan Lehman mention that their favorite French TV program was A French Village, and how he has been working to adapt his series for U.S. television:
Are Snakes Necessary? When filmmaker Brian De Palma arrived in Paris in 2018 to promote this noir novel written with his co-author and companion, Susan Lehman, the couple slipped a confidence to AFP: "Our favorite TV program? A French Village!" Frédéric Krivine, the creator of this series broadcast on French Televisions from 2009 to 2017, leaps from his chair. He has a project in his boxes. "If Régine Deforges could have done this crap with The Blue Bicycle, which during the Occupation transposed a history of the Civil War, I told myself that we could do the same in the opposite direction ..." From one national trauma to another, there are indeed similarities: comparable durations, torn families… “I sent a five-page note to De Palma. Half an hour later, I had an answer. He engaged directly."
So here is A French Village, which has sold in 65 countries, being adapted both in Spain at the time of the civil war, in the Italy of the Republic of Salo (September 1943 - April 1945 ), and in the United States… “Great filmmakers rarely make pale copies, reassures Frédéric Krivine, who watches over his baby. Personally, I prefer The Magnificent Seven to the Seven Samurai. "In terms of remakes, De Palma is a kind of specialist: Passion (2012), Mission: Impossible (1996) and, of course, Scarface (1983) ..." I saw the original, continues Krivine, that of Howard Hawks: It's another movie."
Attractive poster, project in progress, but nothing is won. "The United States is complicated," sighs Frédéric Krivine. He has already written the pilot, christened Clarksville 1861, named after an imaginary small town in Kentucky, a state cut in two during the Civil War. "To write a series about this period is to put the racial question at the center. From here, we do not realize how in the United States nothing is settled. And how narrow is the path whenever fiction is harnessed."
The adaptation highlights the cultural differences, the moral values that prevail from one country to another, from one era to another.
As a consultant, the Frenchman sought out Sundiata Cha-Jua, professor of African-American history at the University of Illinois. “Without him, there is little chance that the series will happen. We go back and forth. We get along very well, but he keeps telling me that I think like a white man, that I write like a white man, that I understand absolutely nothing about slavery… We'll see. Either way, Clarksville 1861 will only happen if there is a prominent black figure who supports the project. In the United States, you need an Oprah Winfrey or the Obamas, who are consultants at Netflix, to validate your project… ”
De Palma developing Civil War series Newton 1861