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As his hockey movie Goon prepares for its February release, Canadian actor Marc-Andre Grondin on Monday will begin filming L’homme qui rit (The Man Who Laughs), an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel.
The period epic also stars Gerard Depardieu and Emmanuelle Seigner. Its budget is said to be more than $12 million euros. With Jean-Pierre Ameris in the director’s chair, L’homme is shooting in Prague and will also shoot in France.
The novel, first published in 1869, told of a young man (Grondin) with a face mutilated to appear that he is constantly laughing. As with many of Hugo’s books, the tale spans years, is filled with a huge cast of characters, and contains several twists and turns. The man, who works in a travelling caravan and is named Gwynplain, is revealed to be a son of a baron who was kidnapped at the age of two, sold and disfigured, and is now heir to a vast fortune.
(The character was a visual inspiration for Batman’s arch-foe, the Joker.)
Depardieu portrays Ursus, the man with a wolf companion who finds the disfigured boy, and Seigner an aristocrat who is initially aroused by Gwynplain. Christa Theret plays Dea, a blind beauty who tragically loves the disfigured man.
The role, which calls for three hours of makeup a day, was a much sought-after part not only because it involves Hugo, one of France’s literary icons, but also a chance to work with Depardieu.
Grondin, who won acclaim for his work in the French-Canadian film C.R.A.Z.Y. and is the only Canadian to have won a Cesar, just wrapped shooting on the 80s set French-Canadian drama L’affaire Dumont. Goon, in which Grondin stars with Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel and Alison Pill, opens February 24 in Canada via Alliance. That same day is will be on VOD in the U.S. and released in the U.S. theatrically March 30 in via Myriad.
Grondin is repped by UTA and Thruline.
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