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French Borat, Maximy, heads to U.S.

'Spend the Night' is film adaptation of TV series

Now it’s France’s turn to unleash a “Borat” on the U.S.

Lensing begins Stateside next month on “I’ll Spend the Night in Hollywood” in which French freeloader Antoine de Maximy will travel from the East Coast to the West, relying on the hospitality of strangers. Pic is produced by indie shingle Bonne Pioche, the company behind “March of the Penguins” and will be distributed in France by Buena Vista. Wild Bunch is selling internationally.

“Antoine inveigles his way into people’s lives, like Borat, but he’s not so mean,” said Buena Vista France topper Jean-Francois Camilleri. “He can’t speak English very well but he knows how to communicate with people and he is very funny.”

Despite appearances, project is not a “Borat” rip-off, but a bigscreen adaptation of a cult three-year-old Gallic TV series “I’ll Stay at Your Place,” which has had repeat airings on the thematic channel Voyage, paybox Canal Plus and pubcaster France 5.

Maximy, its star and one-man film crew, has visited some 30 countries, getting himself invited into people’s homes and finding out about their culture.

The feature film, budgeted at E1 million ($1.35 million), will stick to the same low-tech principles as the show, with Maximy traveling alone and filming his adventures with a hand-held camera. The filmmaker has been a documentary maker and a TV presenter, giving him the chops for the task.

Producer Yves Darondeau said: “He’s a likeable guy with a well-meaning curiosity that gets him into some hilarious situations. The film will be a little bit Tintin goes to America.”

Lensing starts in New York in June, and winds up on the West Coast later on in the year, ahead of a February release.

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