Prepare a film about Florence Arthaud: “A rock’n’roll heroine who was not afraid of anything”

How long have you had this Florence Arthaud film project?

A year ago I bought the rights to Yann Queffélec’s book (“The Sea and Beyond”, published by Calmann-Lévy in 2020), but it had been a long time since I had the idea of ​​making a film about Florence. When I read the book, I said to myself: “Obviously…” So I adapted it into a screenplay, with the help of Yann Queffélec. This film is a beautiful story with this Rum Route that completes this picture, there is this friendship that unites Florence, Philippe and me.

Géraldine Danon, her husband Philippe Poupon and their children, Loup, Laura and Marion, live most of the time on the Fleur Australe, a polar expedition sailboat, specially designed for high latitudes and extreme conditions (Géraldine Danon Personal Collection)

When will filming begin?

We went back to preparation this month. We will shoot in Saint-Malo in June, but also in August, September and October. The film is scheduled to be released in September 2023.

We wanted to consider the ship as one of the characters in the film, just like the actors.

Which actress will play the role of Florence Arthaud?

I am Stephane Caillard. I recruited a hundred women, some famous, some nothing. Stéphane is quite exceptional, he has the stature to do it. She will be great in the role, I have no doubts about that. There will also be Pierre Deladonchamps who will play her brother, but also Charles Berling, Alison Wheeler, Alexis Michalik. Some characters are still being cast.

Of course there is this Pierre 1er trimaran which is part of history…

We wanted to consider the ship as one of the characters in the film, just like the actors. It seemed essential to us that it be the real ship. Suddenly, we came up with the idea of ​​this Route du Rhum. The trimaran is currently returning to France (Editor’s note: to be reviewed at Michel Desjoyeaux in Port-la-Forêt). We are going to use it in August, September and October and, right after that, Philippe will compete on the Rum Route on board.

In this Nov. 19, 1990, photo, French sailor Florence Arthaud stands on the float of her trimaran. "peter 1" a few hours before his victory in the 4th edition of the
The trimaran will be at the start of the Rum Route on November 6, 2022 with Philippe Poupon at the helm (AFP)

I tell her life from the age of 18, when she suffers a car accident that immobilizes her and plunges her into a coma where, a priori, all sports are prohibited.

Will this film portray Florence Arthaud’s entire life or will it be fictional?

Sometimes, to tell the story, you have to deviate a little from it. I think that to tell something concrete in the image I have of it, you have to know how to escape from reality to give strong images. But we will say that I am very close to reality. I tell her about her life from the age of 18, when she suffers a car accident that immobilizes her and plunges her into a coma in which, a priori, all sports are prohibited. We go from the 17-18 years to the end of her, her 57 years (Editor’s note: Florence Arthaud died on March 9, 2015 in a helicopter crash while filming a TV show in Argentina).

Who was Florence Arthaud according to you?

An extraordinary woman. In this film I strive to tell the story of the extraordinary woman she was, imbued with freedom, willing to pay the price, a feminist ahead of time, avant-garde, who paved the way for all the captains of the after. Florencia went to fight the men, on her own ground, and she defeated them. She was fearless, she was a rock and roll hero and truly forward thinking. That, I noticed while she was telling her life story.

He had such an extraordinary life that I had many choices.

How do you tell the life of such a rocker woman?

On stage, the difficulty for me was deciding, so many things happened in his life. She had such an enormous and extraordinary life that it was hard for me to choose. I had to make decisions to tell it as close as possible to what I wanted to show about it, to highlight it. As close as possible to the great light that emanates from it.

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