“Aline”: the true-false biopic of Celine Dion, by a bluffing Valérie Lemercier

(AFP) – Humor, the second degree and a sincere admiration: with “Aline”, a true-false biopic dedicated to Celine Dion, Valérie Lemercier pays tribute to the Quebec mega-star, whom she embodies … from 7 to 50 years old.

Pushed back twice due to a health crisis, this Franco-Canadian blockbuster at more than $ 30 million, hits theaters Wednesday in France – almost a year to the day after its initial release date – and at the end of the months in Quebec.

“It’s a great relief,” Valérie Lemercier told AFP. “One year is a very long time, especially since we didn’t know what was going to happen to the film”.

Cut in its tracks by the epidemic and the closure of cinemas, could the film have only been released on streaming platforms? “They tried to pick us up but we resisted. This film is a great show and you have to see it in a big way in the cinema,” she said.

Freely inspired by the life of the international star, the film tells the story of Aline Dieu (played by Valérie Lemercier, from childhood to her 50 years), a Quebec singer propelled to the rank of international star thanks to her exceptional voice. .

– True-false biopic –

“I did not want to make fun, there is a lot of second degree but it was never a question of making fun of me. He is someone I admire a lot,” said the actress and director.

True-false biopic, this sixth feature film by Valérie Lemercier (“Marie-Francine”, “100% cashmere” etc.) does not fully match the singer’s life: “I preferred to invent it, to make it to leave room for my creativity “.

Valérie Lemercier “didn’t want us to be in pure imitation. She wanted us to stand out from the people we had to embody,” says Quebec actress Danielle Fichaud, who plays Aline Dieu’s mother.

On the Quebec side, the performance of the actors is remarkable. And Valérie Lemercier, known for her spectacular metamorphoses as in “Agathe Cléry” (2008) or “Palais Royal” (2005), blends in with Celine Dion’s body language, voice and costumes.

“I never considered having someone play the role. I wanted to play her. I like to dress up, make characters and I have always played children so I said to myself: + why not help myself of what I have already done +? “, she explains.

A metamorphosis made possible thanks to the play of special effects, which required more than six months of work from the film’s technical team, specifies the director.

– “200% in songs” –

“When I was singing, luckily my team was there to let me be 200% in my songs. It’s a film that we prepared a lot to allow me when I was playing to have fun. sees on our faces if we are not enjoying ourselves, ”she explains.

“There were two Valérie. The one who plays and the one who directs. In rehearsal, it was Valérie who directs: there, she looked at us, she even wrote our text, which she knew by heart. C ‘is a great actress! “Says Sylvain Marcel, 57, who plays Guy-Claude, the music producer who delights the heart of the singer, despite their age difference (modeled on Celine Dion’s husband, René Angélil ).

“It was a work of sharing because we both had the right to stop her when her accent sounded too false. Each time, she listened to us and resumed”, adds Danielle Fichaud.

For Quebec actors, little known outside Quebec, the shooting will remain a “highlight” of their career, crowned by a “magical” event: the presentation of the film in Cannes last July, out of competition.