Playtime has boarded “Monsieur Aznavour,” the prestige biopic of legendary French-Armenian Charles Aznavour starring Tahar Rahim (“A Prophet,” “Napoleon”). Budgeted at €26 million, the film will start principal photography on May 30. Pathé has scooped French rights and will give it a wide release in theaters.
Surely one of the hottest packages to hit this year’s Cannes market, the film will chart Aznavour’s sprawling life journey, from his poor childhood to his rise to fame, from his triumphs to his failures, from Paris to New York. Aznavour was devoted to his art until the very end, singing his songs in ten languages, on every stage, in every city, desperately searching for perfection. He sold more than 180 million records around the world.
Rahim, who’s rolling off Marvel’s “Madame Web” and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon,” is highly committed to the part and has been preparing it for months. He will be in Cannes for a kick-off event hosted by Playtime to present the project to international distributors on May 18 at the Five Seas Hotel.
The film will be directed by Mehdi Idir and award-winning rap artist Grand Corps Malade, who previously teamed on the B.O. hits “Step by Step” and “School Life.”
“Monsieur Aznavour” is produced by Jean-Rachid’s Kallouche Cinema and Mandarin & Compagnie, the banner behind Francois Ozon’s and Anne Fontaine’s films. The producers and directors will be on hand with Rahim at Playtime’s luncheon event in Cannes.
“Aznavour’s life is riveting, and you get caught up in a swirl from page one. More than just a biopic this a film that touches upon universal themes that will be engaging for audiences of all ages and nationalities,” said Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, Playtime co-founder. Brigaud-Robert pointed out “Monsieur Aznavour” is one of the biggest and most anticipated of 2024 on the market. The film’s release will mark Aznavour’s centenary.
Nicolas and Eric Altmayer said, “Before leaving, Charles Aznavour himself had chosen Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi to make the film of his life. For us to find the two directors with whom we have already had two great experiences is obvious, and a chance.”
“Their intimate knowledge of the subject, their proximity to the world of music and their great sensitivity will bring to the film the human dimension that is the hallmark of great films,” added the producers.
Jean-Rachid, who is married to Katia Aznavour, the daughter of the late artist, said “I personally like this sentence from Charles Aznavour which sums up the vision he had of life despite all the difficulties he experienced.”
“Philosophy that he transmitted to me, his son-in-law: Love, for people, starting with my family, my friends, my audience. Love for others whatever their religion, their color, their race. The love of humanity,” Jean-Rachid continued.
The movie is expected to boast topnotch production value with a strong key crew including cinematographer Brecht Goyvaerts (“Paris Police 1900”), production designer Stéphane Rozenbaum (“Mascarade”), costume designer Isabelle Mathieu (“My Donkey, My Lover And I”), editor Laure Gardette (“November,” “The Crime Is Mine”) and music supervisor Varda Kakon (“Lost Illusions”).