French blockbuster star is Europe's best-paid actor

28th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dany Boon netted millions of euros for his 2008 smash hit comedy, which makes light of prejudices against France's bleak north.

Paris -- The director and star of France's most successful film ever, Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis, has become the best-paid actor in European film history, an industry ranking showed Thursday.

Dany Boon netted 26 million euros (33 million dollars) for the 2008 smash hit comedy, which makes light of prejudices against France's bleak north, according to a chart of actor earnings published in Le Figaro newspaper.

Seen by more than 20 million viewers, the blockbuster grossed a total of 150 million euros at the box office, and is being remade by Hollywood actor Will Smith under the English title Welcome to the Sticks.

The 42-year-old Boon, who wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in Les Ch'tis, is the son of an Algerian boxer-turned-truck driver from northern France.

His film tells the story of a postman from the sunny south who -- to his horror -- is reassigned to the chilly, post-industrial north. The postman, however, soon finds great warmth in the region's inhabitants.

Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis
broke the French box office record held for decades by La Grande Vadrouille, the 1966 classic starring Louis de Funes.

Boon, whose real name is Daniel Hamidou, is boycotting Friday's French film award ceremony, the Cesars, after his movie was nominated for just one prize.

He has suggested the film's failure to pick up more nominations was a snub from an elitist milieu turning its nose up at mass appeal comedies.


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