The Goats: how did Dany Boon transform to play in this comedy?


On the occasion of the release of “Chèvres”, here are 5 anecdotes to know about this comedy by Fred Cavayé performed by Dany Boon and Jérôme Commandeur.

What is it about ? Did you know that in the 17th century, animals could be tried for committing a crime? Maître Pompignac, laughed at by the bar, thinks he has found the case of his life: defending the young and innocent Josette, wrongly accused of the murder of a marshal… But that was without counting on his adversary, the formidable and renowned Maître Valvert , and especially on Josette, who turns out to be none other… than a goat!

“This encrusted gunk was driving me crazy!”

Maître Pompignac is a fairly poor lawyer, for whom hygiene is a very vague concept. Its interpreter Dany Boon had to, with the help of the costume designers, ensure that this character appeared on screen as being dirty. He tells : “I’m delighted that we went all out, it was one of my wishes. I actually have pretty rotten teeth, and my hair is wiry and greasy. I let it happen because the costume and hair teams and makeup had already done a remarkable job on Pompignac, as on the other characters. The only thing that bothered me was having permanently dirty nails, the hypochondriac in me hates that!”

“However, by getting my fingers dirty for fakes, I was no longer able to clean everything after filming. This encrusted dirt was driving me crazy! All of this represented quite a long preparation every day and that’s nothing compared to it. from that of Jérôme who personifies the Renaissance in his own right in terms of looks… It looks like the traveling showroom of a draper from the Saint-Pierre market!”

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Animals in front of the judge…

The fact that in the 17th century, animals could be judged for having committed a crime, is a historical reality that Fred Cavayé arranged for the humor of the film… Hence the little sentence displayed in the opening credits: “based on a true story… or almost”. The filmmaker confides: “At one time, in France, we could put animals on trial, all in a court with lawyers, judges, juries… And if they were found guilty, they were sentenced to the same sentences as humans: hanging, quartering, impalement …”

“It lasted a century and a half, from 1610 to 1760! What is incredible is that the owners of the animals were also judged and risked death just as much. We saw people hanged alongside their animals! “

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Claire Chust, Jérôme Commandeur and Dany Boon

Trial scenes

For the trial portion, it was very difficult to find a real location that was easily “filmable” in terms of logistics. Fred Cavayé remembers: “All these scenes took us around twenty days with sometimes 200 people on screen, not counting the technicians on set. We created everything in the studio in Bry-sur-Marne for the provincial trial, with everything that “we imagine: a sort of village hall which (historically) must also have been used for the cattle fair and the village festival, with straw, barrels, etc.”

“For the trial which takes place in Paris at the start of the film, we went to the Melun court because it retained a style compatible with that of our story. There, we were lucky enough to be able to shoot for two days, which is already a real luxury in this kind of place where the justice system is overloaded with work…”

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Paris/province report

It was while writing the role of Valvert, a very vain star lawyer, that Fred Cavayé thought of Jérôme Commandeur. By developing the character’s failings, the director also enriched the theme of the Paris/province relationship: “He wears extremely luxurious and varied costumes (the exact opposite of Pompignac), and arrives in this small muddy village, very far from his habits in the capital. So I imagined that throughout the film, Jérôme does not would never set foot on the ground because he finds it too dirty!”

“It is therefore his assistants who carry him as soon as he leaves the court… This kind of idea comes to me because Jérôme inspires them in me: it is in fact an exchange of good practices, each enriching the inspiration of the other.”

Natural decors

The scenes taking place in natural settings were filmed in Dordogne and Périgord. Having gone to the Sarlat festival to present Adieu Monsieur Haffmann, Fred Cavayé had a fairly clear idea of ​​what he was looking for: “I particularly remembered the superb square of this town but it was in fact much too big so we widened the search to the surrounding area. It was finally in Monpazier that we found it with also what I call magic cinema: from several places, you make one!”

“The village in the film is made up of scenes shot in Monpazier but also in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, a superb place, suspended above the Lot. It was important that there was this river because it tells in the film the ‘old border with Savoy and the Savoies, sworn enemies of the inhabitants of our village… We finally played with 3D effects to add mountains for example…”



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