On the occasion of the broadcast of the last episodes of “Mon Ange” this evening on TF1, meeting with Muriel Robin, the star of the series, who tells us about this very strong role, written for her. As well as his desires for comedy and his projects for 2022.
AlloCiné: When promoting Jacqueline Sauvage, you said that you would be ready to play in a series if the role was “nice”. Today you are finally the heroine of Mon Ange. Who made it the right project?
Muriel Robin : In saying that, I was thinking above all of a recurring series, over several seasons. Mon Ange is a mini-series, it’s as if I was making a TV movie in two big parts after all. But what I liked was this character of Suzanne. His loneliness, his strength, his courage. A term that is not used enough, but women, overall, are courageous. They amaze me, they overwhelm me, even in less serious situations than the one Suzanne is going through.
And then, she disturbs Suzanne. She arrives in this beautiful nature, and suddenly there is this village with secrets, family secrets. And when you arrive like that and you’re not welcome, it’s brave. And I like it. I like annoying people. It’s great to disturb. We make things happen, we change the point of view. It is the opposite of being frozen. And people don’t like to be moved in their certainties. Because otherwise everything will go downhill. But too bad if it tumbles, because what is being rebuilt behind is stronger, more solid, more true.
I had a lot of scenes where I don’t speak, and that interested me a lot. The viewer can put whatever he wants in the scene when the characters are not speaking. It’s almost the spectator who feeds the character at that moment. So here it is, that’s a bit of all that I liked. Also with the theme of female alcoholism which touches me a lot. I hope one day to do something just about it. But there is already that in Mon Ange.
And then Kika Ungaro, the cinematographer, who had already worked on Jacqueline Sauvage, created a special light and atmosphere. The production used the word “western”, it needed a special atmosphere. And it’s true that if we were in the United States, Suzanne would go into a saloon, all heads would turn, there would be a sound of harmonica, some Ennio Morricone, and she would feel that she had to bar because things are going to go wrong. They would push her out the door, she would come in through the window. And all this with unwavering strength and determination.
Besides, Mon Ange was compared a lot to the film 3 Billboards when the project was announced, and it’s true that there is a bit of that…
Yes, I understand this filiation because 3 Billboards also has a western color. And this is the story of this woman ready for anything. It’s a terrific movie. And, all things considered, Mon Ange comes close on many levels. There is an unusual, completely different rhythm. We are in the slow, in something heavy. Everything looks quiet, but in reality there is horror behind it all. It’s a real thriller. We are taken by this story. It’s a mix between thriller and intimate drama, and it changes a bit from what we see all the time on French television.
You are very well surrounded in the series. How was the collaboration with Marilou Berry?
Very well. I took real pleasure in playing with Marilou, who is a very beautiful actress. I had met her when she was little, but it was the first time we worked together. She is a very intense, dense actress, with a lot of humanity. But I also really enjoyed working with all the other actors, including Patrick Chesnais of course. The cast of the series is really very good, it’s true.
Suzanne is a disturbing character, as you say, but she also touches the audience enormously. Was it easy to identify with her flaws and everything she goes through?
Yes, because we rely on the script. And there are parts of Suzanne in me, it’s chemical. As there was a piece of Jacqueline Sauvage in me. Suzanne, she’s there, somewhere inside me, so it was quite easy to bring her to life when I heard “action”.
Is it a role that was written especially for you?
Yes, absolutely, the character of Suzanne was written for me, it’s a very nice gift. Especially since I really like the work of Négar Djavadi, the screenwriter, who had already worked on Jacqueline Sauvage and Le Premier Oublie. I have complete confidence in his work. So it was a real pleasure to embark on this new project with her.
Julie, Suzanne’s daughter, whom your character is desperately looking for, even if it means turning everything upside down, is played by Romane Jolly, who was talked about a lot this fall for her role in Fugueuse on TF1. Did she impress you?
Romane touched me a lot, we talked a lot. She is cracked this girl. There are people who have a crack and those who don’t. And with someone like Romane, we are inevitably touched. She really has something this kid. But when we toured together I didn’t know she had this role in Fugueuse. I am delighted for her, because she is wonderful, she deserves it.
You have said several times that you feel that the most interesting roles are now more on television. Do you still think so? And are Mon Ange and Doutes, in which we saw you on Arte, good examples?
There are obviously interesting things in the cinema, but I find that there are more strong things, things that are hard to find on the TV side today. Jacqueline Sauvage I would have had no interest in playing that in the cinema, we would have made three spectators. Especially since there are almost only comedies that are hits in the cinema. Maybe for “unfunny” fiction people prefer not to pay. And vice versa, I don’t know.
But there are obviously great things in the movies. And Doutes, for example, would have totally had its place in the cinema in my opinion. But it’s very good on Arte. We are on TV, but a different TV. Anyway, I only have positive things to say about Doutes. It’s the movie of life. This camera, which is in apnea, it was exciting and very hard to play. I loved playing this woman. But it’s the kind of project that is unlike any other and that you probably can’t see anywhere other than on Arte on TV in France.
So what I can say, to answer your question more concisely, is that in any case, television offers me magnificent roles that I’m not sure I can find elsewhere.
Do you have the feeling that Jacqueline Sauvage has changed a lot of things in your career?
In my life, yes, that’s for sure, because this film is very important, it is linked to my commitment against violence against women. But in my career, not so much. I was already playing in dramas before, like Marie Besnard, and they continue to offer me some.
I don’t do comedies, it’s not my choice. I am probably anticipating another question. They don’t send me comedies, that’s how it is. On TV there is none, or few anyway. But there is surely a place to take. And in the cinema there are many but I haven’t received a single one in 30 years. So I find myself being funny on stage and not funny on screen. I would have preferred a balance, but that’s the way it is.
Fortunately, I am developing two comedies for the cinema. Adult comedies. Perhaps you are never better served than by yourself. We’ll see.
Today, do you feel ready for a recurring series?
If it’s great, maybe. But I don’t know if this series and if this role exist (laughs). But why not, we have to see.
What are your plans for 2022? Are other collaborations planned with TF1?
Not to my knowledge. Apart of course from They love each other (or almost), the adaptation of the play They love each other, but I simply play in it, it is more the “baby” of Pierre Palmade and Michèle Laroque, unlike I Love You Coiffure which was based on my sketches.
But we have a good working relationship with TF1, UGC, and Negar Djavadi so there’s a chance things will happen in the future. But there is nothing concrete for the moment. Right now I’m really concentrating on writing the comedies I was telling you about. But what is certain is that for my next roles, I would like to let go of dark films a little. I want pumps.
And in terms of what I’ve already shot, I’ll be seen in 2022 in Lisa Azuelos’ Room of Wonders, alongside Alexandra Lamy. And in En corps by Cédric Klapisch, a very beautiful film that takes place in the world of dance, with a dancer who has the leading role and who is formidable. There is also Pio Marmaï and François Civil. For me the shooting was quite short, but I have a very beautiful character and I was very touched that Cédric thought of me because Klapisch, for once, is cinema.
Comments collected as part of the 2021 La Rochelle TV Fiction Festival.