By continuing to use this website, you agree to the use of cookies in order to offer you content and services that are tailored to your interests.

En savoir plus et gérer ces paramètres[OK]

News in brief

07 April 2022 à 10:24

'Marion', a dark thriller driven by a strong female lead

Based on the novels by Danielle Thiéry, a former high-ranking police officer, Marion plunges the viewer into a Paris that is at once somber and full of hope. A mother and a police officer, Marion is a strong and inspiring woman whose universal journey has an appeal that reaches beyond national borders. An interview with director of the series, Jacques Kluger, its producer Mathieu Ageron (Nolita), and its international distributors Virginie Boireaux & Constantin Briest (Have A Good One).

Unifrance: Can you tell us about the genesis of the project?

Jacques KlugerJacques KlugerJacques Kluger: Encounters! It began with my discovery of the universe of Marion universe after I read Crimes de Seine by Danielle Thiéry. Then, it was my meeting with Danielle Thiery, who immersed me in her world, that of a female cop who was the first female Chief of Police in France. And finally, my meeting with Mathieu Ageron and the resulting desire to develop a true thriller noir anchored in French culture. Reconnecting with Melville and the tradition of film noir.

Mathieu AgeronMathieu AgeronMathieu Ageron: François-Pier Pélinard Lambert introduced us to Jacques Kluger, sensing that his very singular project proposal would win us over at Nolita. We've wanted to explore the thriller genre for a long time, but from a new angle. The character of Marion—a strong woman in a context that had never been depicted on television—charmed us immediately, as did Jacques's energy and enthusiasm, which are so utterly infectious.

Can you sum up the pitch for the series, in a few sentences?

JK: It's the story of the boss of the Railroad Police Force, who has to deal with some very seedy characters. Newly arrived from Lyon with her adopted daughter, Edwige Marion joins the squad at the Gare du Nord train station as Police Chief of the division. In this dark and brutal world, she applies her own personal style to her investigations into the murkiest of criminal affaires, while trying to reconcile her responsibilities as a single mother, her desire to be a free woman, and her role as a cop.

The cast is led by Louise Monot, Gwendolyn Gourvenec, and Bertrand Nadler.

What makes this series unique? What are its strengths that will appeal to an international audience?

JK: The series revisits the French film noir genre. The settings and characters follow the action in a unique environment: that of Parisian train stations.

The series is set in Paris, a far cry from the picture postcard images of the city often portrayed in series. It's a Paris that is both shady (peopled with deviant characters) and full of light. The location in which the series unfolds, the Gare du Nord (Europe's busiest train station) has not been viewed in this way before: here, trains leave for faraway destinations, people wait, people meet, we sense the coldness of the physical surroundings (materials like steel, concrete) and the world of human fauna where the paths of the rich, the destitute, vagrants, cops, and criminals all intersect.

The esthetic style of the series was decided from the very early stages in order to resonate with international audiences. The cinematographic references to David Fincher are deliberate and overt—they are enriched by visual references and a narrative that are very French: a female cop in a massive Parisian train station.

Furthermore, Marion—through its production design, characters, and complex intrigues—is a somber series, but one that inspires hope, a combination that is highly appreciated by international audiences. Hope is conveyed by the capacity to search for light even in the depths of darkness. It's a dog-eat-dog world, but a sense of hope for a better world enables all the characters, Marion above all, to move forward.

What are your ambitions for the program internationally?

MA: We love this female character who is surrounded by other strong women, including her adopted daughter, Nina, who starts out as a teenager. They will all endeavor to forge their own paths and assert their own characters. We follow a number of universal journeys: what kind of woman, what kind of mother, what kind of daughter am I, and what do I want to be? These questions have meaning and relevance that reach beyond our national borders.

Also, through the traditional thriller genre, led by inspiring female characters that viewers will have no trouble identifying with, set in unconventional depiction of Paris, Marion offers powerful arguments in favor of it gaining exposure on TV networks in all continents. The series is already scheduled to broadcast on NBC Universal's channels (in France, Spain, and Poland, among other countries). In addition, along with our distributor Have A Good One (HAGO) we have started discussions in many other countries in Europe and further afield, for first and second broadcast windows.

Plus, we are also looking further ahead. The six episodes in the first season of Marion are adapted from three novels by Danielle Thiéry. But they are just three of the fifteen police investigations the author has already published. We therefore see our objective as returning with new adventures for these characters. By basing the series on a saga that has enjoyed considerable literary success, we wish to establish a clear and recurring brand name on television in France. Given that the strength of a French series in international markets is, in addition to its high quality, its capacity to reach a critical number of episodes, it is clear that being able to extend the investigations of Marion over several seasons will be one of the most powerful tools to achieve our goal of building this character's worldwide popularity.

You presented the series exclusively at the Coming Next from France pitching session, which took place during the Series Mania Forum. What are your impressions after this session? Do you already have contacts or leads for exporting the series?

MA: Coming Next from France was the first public event where we presented Marion. We projected just under 4 minutes of images to a theater of 500 international industry professionals who are accustomed to this kind of exercise. This session gave us the opportunity to have an initial response from French and foreign buyers that was very enthusiastic. This was truly a major boost for us: the presentation of the series was very successful, and the connections we made after our pitch at Series Mania have proved to be fruitful and solid. These deals should be finalized in the near future, notably after the presentation of the first two episodes in preview screenings at CANNESERIES…

Virginie BoireauxVirginie BoireauxConstantin BriestConstantin BriestVirginie Boireaux & Constantin Briest For us as distributors, presenting Marion during Coming Next at Series Mania gave us a great opportunity to shine a light on the thriller genre, which complies with classical codes while also bringing with it a real modernity. This is what appeals internationally. The series is anchored in France, but speaks to everyone, whatever the viewer's nationality may be.

Not only the subject and the "brand potential," but also, and especially, Jacques' vision and Mathieu's expertise completely won us over at Have A Good One. Our goal is obviously for Marion to travel the world—the series of 15 novels have been released in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain, and will soon be translated into English, which really bolsters our hope for successfully exporting this series—and it's already off to a great start.

Contact : TV Department

Latest update : 08 April 2022 à 10:24 CEST

Linked to this news article

Linked individuals (7)

Related companies (2)


Have A Good One (HAGO)

Activities :  Foreign distributor (feature film), Film exports/foreign sales

Recent filmography : , Elle’s Kitchen, Marinette, ...



Activities :  Executive Producer, Co-production

Recent filmography : , #followme, , ...