What’s in a name? Well if the name is Adolph – and it’s what you plan to call your new baby – you can be sure there’s a hornet’s nest. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in Alexandre de la Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s hit Parisien play Le Prénom (The Name) which Pathé is bringing to the bigscreen. I’ve learned that the French major is co-producing and will begin international sales on the feature next week at the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in Paris. The film stars Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling, Guillaume de Tonquédec and Judith El Zein. The premise is this: Expectant father Bruel is interrogated as to the baby’s name during a dinner at his sister and brother-in-law’s home. When he announces he’s chosen “Adolph,” the family is plunged into chaos. He defends the name on an intellectual basis – it is after all the title of a famous piece of 19th century literature by Benjamin Constant – but the family is having none of it. The bourgeois-bohemian living room satire extends to other discoveries about the family and was a hit at Paris’ Théâtre Edouard VII last year, drawing comparison to Harold Pinter.
The play, and most of the stage cast – who are also in the film – were nominated for 2011 Molière Awards (France’s equivalent to the Tony). Jérôme Seydoux is producing for Pathé with Dimitri Rassam for Chapter 2. Pathé International Sales will present the project to buyers for the first time next week and head of sales Muriel Sauzay tells me she’s got high hopes for Le Prénom given its universal themes (and remake potential). Pathé Distribution will release April 25 in France.
Among other films on Pathé’s Rendez-Vous lineup are L’Oncle Charles, the latest from Life Is A Long Quiet River and Tatie Danielle director Etienne Chatiliez. There’s also the big-budget adventure comedy Houba! On The Trail Of The Marsupilami from funnyman director Alain Chabat who also stars with Jamel Debbouze. Sauzay and company will also continue talking up Luke Evans horror pic No One Lives and thriller Last Passenger starring Dougray Scott.