HUMOR – The first episodes of Torchare available on Canal+ from this Monday, May 23. Created by Jonathan Cohen, the highly anticipated sequel to The flame looks crazy. After parodying dating reality shows, the series is now tackling the cult show Koh Lanta.
Once again, the production mobilizes a high-flying cast, with former actors returning to the screen (Leïla Bekhti, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Pierre Niney, Ana Girardot…), but also new actors, such as Jérôme Commandeur in the role of the presenter, Kad Merad, Laura Felpin or even Mister V.
Before the release of this new season, The HuffPost asked three questions to Freddy Gladieux, actor and screenwriter, who worked on the writing of the Torch with Jonathan Cohen, David Caviglioli, Hugo Benamozig, Jérémie Galan and Florent Bernard.
We watched the first episodes of Torch. The season promises to be as crazy as The flame. Is it as enjoyable to write as it is to watch?
Already, you should know that The flame is one of the French programs that has made me laugh the most in recent years. As a viewer, it’s the type of comedy that delights me. I found it incredible, with an absolutely insane level of writing.
These two seasons correspond to the comedy that I like to write, the one that stretches and always goes further. Me, what I’m looking for is the moment when people say to themselves ‘ok, that’s really nonsense’ or ‘how stupid’. It is also in my opinion the best compliments, because it is the hardest thing to do. With le Torchthat’s exactly what’s going on.
Jonathan Cohen and Jérémie Galan (one of the producers of the series) had already contacted me to The flame, but I was not available because taken by another project. After seeing the result of the first season, when they offered me to participate in the creation of the Torch I obviously said yes right away. I had never written with this group of screenwriters. But everything was pretty smooth from the start. As these are the same things that make us laugh, our collaboration worked well.
In what The torch will be different from The flame ?
Already because there are more issues, it’s normal because there are more characters. In fact, this time it’s not all about Marc. In The flame, he constantly appears on the screen, and he is really the center of attention. In The torch, the others take up more space, we follow the members of the two teams in the game. This season is therefore a real challenge for the narration and the creation of characters. But we still wanted to keep the same DNA, and the same type of humor. Marc remains one of the most important characters.
Initially we went on The Flame: Season 2, with a female character in place of Marc, and male suitors. We went far in the writing, maybe six months. And one day Jonathan calls me coming out of a meeting and he says to me ‘we’re going on a new thing: we’re going to do a parody of Koh Lanta’. So we laugh for a few minutes on the phone. I play the game, but for me it’s just a very long joke… Until I understand that he is completely serious. It’s funny to think that we changed projects so suddenly. But ultimately it’s just as well, because I found it unfortunate that Marc was less present in season 2.
When we imagine your writing meetings, we visualize moments of laughter. What is it like to write for The torch ?
It is largely as we imagine it. We had magical moments bouncing off other people’s discoveries. Our good ideas always come from fun. Maybe there are comedies where no one cracked a smile during the writing meetings, and which worked in theaters, but I have my doubts! Of course, it requires a lot of work beforehand, but this image of “laughing sessions” is the reality.
There were also times when we wrote alone at home. After defining the structure, and establishing overall consistency, we distributed the episodes, and everyone worked in detail on part of the season.
Jonathan was not present every time, but he was the one who directed the writing. You should know that absolutely all the lines were played by him in meetings. All of us, when we write a screenplay, we necessarily imagine the actor saying our sentences, with the intentions and even a musicality. But he is really inhabited, he gets up and starts playing them. In these moments, you just have to let him improvise, and open the “dictaphone” application on his phone. You can be sure there will be nuggets to keep. In the end, everything was not only thought out, but also embodied before filming.
See also on The HuffPost: Before “Le Flambeau”, Jonathan Cohen embeds himself in the pubs on Canal +