French Sarkozy movie scared off backers: producers

1st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A new film about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's rise to power scared off promoters with its red-hot political theme, its producers said on Friday.

"We were faced with a hot potato... Everyone threw it on to someone else," said Eric Altmayer, joint producer of the movie titled "La Conquete" ("Conquest"), in an interview published on the movie website

"From the start, the project was considered dangerous and risky," he said, adding that French public television channels "all turned the film down."

"The script was leaked here and there," said his brother and co-producer Nicolas Altmayer. "I am convinced, even if I have no proof, that it went all the way to the Elysee," the presidential palace.

Thanks to a track record of successful movies including the "OSS" spoof spy adventures, the two managed to get backers to make the film, with director Xavier Durringer at the helm.

They said they have entered it for this May's Cannes Film Festival, whose selection has not yet been announced, and have scheduled it for release in French cinemas in May.

Respected stage actor Denis Podalydes plays the main role, resembling Sarkozy in dark blue suits and cropped curly hair, in the story of an ambitious politician's road to the presidency, complete with real Sarkozy quotes.

"We thought the French public broadcasters were going to commit to the project like the BBC committed to 'The Queen,'" said Eric Altmayer, referring to the British film about Queen Elizabeth II.

"Then they said no, without any explanation," he added.

"This soft self-censorship explains why in France there are almost never any films made about politics."

© 2011 AFP

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