“Anna and Arnaud”: the difficult trajectory of a mother and a son

Our view of homelessness will change thanks to the drama series Anna and Arnaudwhose filming is coming to an end these days.

This is what Guylaine Tremblay and Nico Racicot believe, the Anna and the Arnaud of the novel Anna and the child-old man, by Francine Ruel, which we adapted for the small screen. The author romances, in the 200-page book, her own story through that of her son Étienne, recounting the tipping point in the latter’s life after he was targeted for free by a shooter. The fall of the young man is long, painful, even in the street and in heroin.

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What the two actors have realized by digging into the theme of homelessness is that behind every homeless person – whom we don’t see or don’t want to see – there is a human being as well as a story.

Just by evoking her character in an interview, Guylaine Tremblay struggles to hold back her tears, she who precisely plays a woman on edge, obsessed with her son’s descent into hell. “You see how it’s not hard, huh, to make me cry,” she exclaimed before laughing.

Joel Lemay / QMI Agency

“It’s like an obsession, in the sense that Anna can never get rid of it, even on a nice summer day with friends when she’s having a drink. Suddenly, there’s a sound, something that reminds her that Arnaud is outside, that she doesn’t know who he’s with, what he’s doing. Does people want to harm him, does he use drugs, does he take bad dope, is he going to die today?” detailed the actress.

By becoming a “fighter”, Anna puts her career and her life on hold. For the actress, the challenge was to play this difficult journey, the impotence of a mother, who struggles to savor the small pleasures.

Arnaud is also obsessed, but with his consumption. This causes mother and son, who love each other, to both be thrown into a nightmare, but for completely different reasons – and under completely different conditions.

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Nico Racicot searched a few times to better understand his character. He evokes a “frustrating” and “humiliating” experience due to the indifference of passers-by. He says that Arnaud, who had everything to succeed, “is only surviving”. “We see a human who just doesn’t know how to ‘deal’ with the cards he has been given,” he said on the sidelines of filming a scene in Pierrefonds, in the west of the island. of Montreal, in which Anna accompanies Arnaud in rehab.

Screenwriter François Archambault (Shooting Stars), who talks about a sometimes funny and luminous drama series, met Francine Ruel’s son fifteen times.

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“In the novel, which is very beautiful, it’s very interior, we enter into Anna’s thoughts and emotions. When I met Francine for the project, I told her that it would be interesting to also have her son’s point of view. We did research on homelessness, we documented ourselves and, in the process, she reconnected with Étienne, whom I was able to meet,” said Mr. Archambault, adding that the author read the scripts of the eight episodes of the series produced by Pixcom and that she wrote him a text relating Étienne’s trajectory to feed the scenarios.

Guylaine Tremblay, who rubbed shoulders with many playmates, says that “there will be a before and after for Nico Racicot” thanks to this role. “He is disgusting!” The main interested party returns the favor to him.

Director Louis Belanger (Post mortem, gas bar blues, Highway 132) is delighted to direct the two main actors, as well as Stéphane Jacques, Alexis Martin and Marie-Hélène Thibault.

Joel Lemay / QMI Agency

“I wanted to work for a long time with Guylaine, whom I love. Nico, it’s a discovery. I realized that I could ask him for business, try things, and he has the intelligence to adjust, ”he said, recounting that Arnaud must be played with a youthful vitality. in the first narrative line, then the coolness of the reflexes has to fade in the second, due to drug addiction and life on the streets.

Joel Lemay / QMI Agency


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