The film “Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire”, directed by Guillaume Canet, was released in cinemas this Wednesday, February 1. Here’s everything you need to know about Gaullois’ new adventures in China.
From Toutatis, Asterix and Obelix are back! Twenty years after the phenomenal success of “Mission Cléopatre” directed by Alain Chabat, two famous Gauloises are back on the big screen. meanwhile, it was “Asterix at the Olympics” in 2008 and “Asterix and Obelix on Her Majesty’s Service” in 2012.
For these new adventures, Asterix and Obelix, not forgetting Dogmatix, find themselves in China, in 50 BC, to help a princess save her country. On their way, they will find Caesar and his mighty army.
No Gérard Depardieu for Obélix
It is not Gérard Depardieu who plays Obélix as in the previous four films. Director Guillaume Canet, who booked the role of Asterix, called on actor Gilles Lellouche to play Obélix. The actor, aware of the “great responsibility” he undertakes, had to gain twenty kilograms to play this role.
An original script
This new opus of Asterix and Obelix is not inspired by a comic strip by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The script is original. It was written by Guillaume Canet, Julien Hervé (former author of “Nowhere else” and “Guignols de l’info”) and Philippe Mechelen. (former author of “Guignols de l’info” and of the “Les Tuche” film series).
5 star cast
A host of stars appear in the title: Vincent Cassel as César, Marion Cotillard as Cléopatre, Jonathan Cohen as Graindemaïs, Pierre Richard as Panoramix, Audrey Lamy as Bonemine, Angèle as Falbala but also Ramzy Bedia, Jos. Garcia, Manu Payet, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Florent Manaudou, Philippe Katerine, Jérôme Commandeur, Orelsan, M, Bigflo & Oli, Mcfly and Carlito, Jason Chicandier or Gérard Darmon.
Filming has been delayed by Covid-19
Filming on “The Middle Empire” was originally planned for spring or summer 2020. Covid-19 and shutdowns forced producers to postpone filming to March 2021. It takes place at the studios of Bry-sur-Marne and at the former airbase 217 between Brétigny -sur-Orge and Le Plessis-Pâté. Some filming takes place in the Moroccan desert. Filming in China was abandoned for health reasons and was replaced by images shot on the Sancy massif in Auvergne.
A budget of 65 million euros
“Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire” required a budget of 65 million euros. It is the ninth most expensive film in the history of French cinema. Wide distribution is set in 900 cinemas.
What do the critics say?
The Parisian condemns a “twisted script” and believes that Gilles Lellouche is doing better than Guillaume Canet, described as a “pale Asterix”, compared to Christian Clavier, Clovis Cornillac or Edouard Baer. The daily laments “an endless parade of extras” with all the celebrities in the credits. ABOUT drops, “It’s not easy to invent a new Asterix without an original comic strip. It’s good fun.” For the film magazine First“everything is not successful (the kung-fu fights, the parade of accessory stars, from Angèle to McFly and Carlito, the strange lifelessness of some scenes), but the strongest idea is, contrary to Chabat’s adaptation, say the figure of Asterix and Obelix again at the center of history”. Tele-Free time“Guillaume Canet doesn’t revolutionize the franchise, but it does provide an enjoyable family adventure film, better than the previous two.”