French studio Gaumont said Thursday that its upcoming Celine Dion film will not be a biopic but a fictional “homage” that draws heavily from the details of the singer’s life and uses many of her hit songs.
The film will be directed by Valerie Lemercier, who will also star as a character inspired by Dion. Lemercier plays “Aline,” a young woman who grows up in a large Canadian family, is discovered as a major talent in her teens, becomes a global sensation and experiences the tragedy of losing her husband, just as happened to Dion.
One of the highest-profile French films slated for 2020, “The Power of Love” is the latest project to tell the story of a celebrity singer, following smash hit “Bohemian Rhapsody,” about the late Freddie Mercury, and upcoming “Rocket Man,” about Elton John. “The Power of Love” will boast some of Dion’s biggest hits: “All by Myself,” “My Heart Will Go On” and “I’m Alive.” She and her record company have authorized the project and given rights to her songs.
Edouard Weil at Rectangle Productions, the Paris-based banner behind “Climax,” is producing, in association with Laurent Zeitoun (“The Intouchables,” “Ballerina”) and Caramel Films (“Ballerina”).
“The Power of Love” chronicles Dion’s life from her birth and modest upbringing in Quebec in the 1960s to her extraordinary rise to fame as a teen, and also her relationships with her manager and husband, René Angélil, and her family.
Gaumont’s Cecile Gaget said the film would be “a potential box office hit accessible to independent distributors.”
Gaumont, which co-produces and represents the film in international markets, will handle the French release on Dec. 2, 2020.
“The Power of Love” will shoot mainly in French and is set to start lensing in March for 18 weeks in France, Spain, Canada and Las Vegas. Lemercier, who has directed several successful films including “Palais Royal!” and “50 Is the New 30,” said she was inspired by Dion’s strength and determination.
The actress-turned-director said she was touched by Dion’s grief following the death of her husband and started reading and watching everything about the singer, Angélil, and Dion’s mother, Thérèse. “I discovered the strength of their love story and their great humor, and I better understood how the alchemy of their three individual ambitions made an unwanted, little girl the greatest star on the planet,” Lemercier said.
Gaget said Lemercier also had a successful career doing one-woman shows at big venues in Paris. “Valerie Lemercier is impressive onstage. She’s a powerhouse who knows how to move and how to dance,” Gaget said. “And she’s an perfectionist and an overachiever in many ways like Dion.”
“The Power of Love’s” key crew includes Catherine Leterrier (“Coco Before Chanel,” “From the Land of the Moon”), production designer Emmanuelle Duplay (“120 BPM”) and choreographer Eric Martin (Cirque du Soleil).