To mark the release of the incredibly compelling LGBT love story Theo and Hugo, we managed to catch up with the talented French filmmakers Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, who wrote and directed this wonderful little film together – and here’s what they had to say.
You have worked on a few films together now, can you tell us a bit how you both got into filmmaking and formed this creative relationship?
Olivier: I was an editor, Jacques was a literature teacher.We both love Demy’s movies. Jacques wrote the scrip of Jeanne et le garçon formidable for friends without the goal of directing the film himself. We met at the composer’s house a bright Sunday of March. We fell in love on that Sunday. Then, rapidly came the idea of directing the film together. And since then we manage to imagine, write and direct films together.
Jacques: We don’t live together anymore. It’s not a secret and I don’t feel it changed the way we work much. Olivier has always been pretty interventionist in the writing process but in leaving me totally free. I’m the same with his directing. With the actors, the editing and sound mixing, I think we shared everything as usual, with our different skills.
What was the inspiration behind Theo and Hugo? How did the film come about?
Jacques: We wanted a film about the start of a love story. All our films are about love but we wanted to go back to the source. Maybe we were harking back to Jeanne et le garçon formidable, which was about the birth of an impossible love story. This time, we wanted a tale with a happy ending, even if the characters go through hard times that threaten their budding love story.
Olivier: Since we also wanted a gay film, about love between two men, it seemed obvious to start with sex. So we took our inspiration also from documentation on location at the Impact!
Were there any particularly tough scenes you had to shoot? Any problems you encountered and how did you overcome them?
Olivier: You probably think of the first long scene in the club. It was not so difficult to film even if we had to deal with some constraints.
Jacques: The shooting was really dense, the place is really narrow: so we had a very small space for the lighting and the camera. In fact probably it helps us to put the camera at the centre of the bed of love. The other difficulty was related to the sex itself, all the characters are actors, not sex performers so we had to be ready when they where ready.
Olivier: At the end of the 3 days we all agreed to say that it was really fun, sexy, and funny like it used to be in that club. Except that generally you don’t spend 8 hours downstairs.
How was it working with your two actors?
Olivier: Geoffrey Couët and François Nambot were so determined and they seemed so right for the part that it dissipated our concerns regarding the filming of the sex scene. They helped us move forward.
Jacques : Yes, it’s a question of choosing the right actors for the part and for working together. We spent a lot of time reading the script together, talking about the way we wanted to shoot the sex scene, of course ,but also the rest of the journey through Paris by night, answering any question from them. During those readings, we all understood that the most challenging thing was that we had a story to tell. To film the sex we had to be focused on the journey of the characters during that first scene, their emotions, the love at first sight, etc. Our actors were not only performing an unusual sex scene but acting it too.
Olivier: And the rest of the journey of the character through the hospital or Paris requires sense and sensibility.
Is there anything else on the cards at the moment, any new projects you are working on?
We’re at the beginning of the writing process for a new comedy more in the mood of Cockles and muscles. If we succeed in our writing it will be a film with at least 3 love stories and lot of dance but no songs. But who knows!
Theo & Hugo is out on DVD on December 5th. You can read our review of the film here.