France’s most famous Catholic priest, Abbé Pierre, will be portrayed in a €15 million ($17.5 million) biopic movie produced by SND and Wassim Beji, who previously teamed on “Yves Saint Laurent.”
Titled “Abbé Pierre, a Century of Devotion,” the movie will be directed by Frederic Tellier (“Goliath,” “Through the Fire”) with Benjamin Lavernhe (“The Speech”) playing the title role, alongside Emmanuelle Bercot (“Mon Roi,” “Polisse”).
SND, the commercial arm of French TV network M6, is producing the film with Beji at WY Productions and will launch sales at the American Film Market. “Abbé Pierre” will start shooting in December.
Tellier, who depicted the world of firefighters in the critically acclaimed film “Through the Fire,” has done extensive research on the French priest’s legacy in order to chart his life.
Born and raised a Catholic, Henri Groues became a member of the Resistance during World War II, an experience which shaped him and catalyzed his desire to help others. From the end of WWII to his death in 2007, Abbé Pierre lived many lives, he was even involved in French politics, becoming deputy of the Popular Republican Movement, and founded the Emmaus movement, an org dedicated to helping low income and homeless people and refugees. Abbé Pierre met Charlie Chaplin, the General De Gaulle and Albert Einstein, among other iconic figures.
“Telling the extraordinary achievements of Abbé Pierre will allow us to make a film about France’s 20th century history, weaving art and emotion with an epic and cinematic dimension,” said Ramy Nahas, head of international sales and distribution, who added that film will be uplifting, heart-warming with a contemporary resonance, as it will give a perspective on today’s civilization.
The key crew includes cinematographer Renaud Chassaing (“Through the Fire”), costume designer Charlotte Betaillole (“Goliath”), set designer Nicolas De Boiscullé (“De Gaulle”) and makeup artist Flore Masson (“Titane”).
Besides “Yves Saint Laurent,” SND’s previous biopics include “De Gaulle,” a film about the French resistance hero who became President of France.