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French musical revival on song as Nolita’s ’Hear Me Love’ starts Paris shoot


Hear Me Love

Nolita Cinema’s musical Hear Me Love, starring France’s biggest pop star Clara Luciani in her first lead role, has started shooting in Paris as part of a revival of the film musical in France.

Set between Paris and Rome’s Cinecitta’s Studios in the 1970s, Hear Me Love (Joli Joli) follows a struggling writer looking for inspiration for his second novel who falls in love with a famous movie star. It is the fifth feature by French film and theatre director Diastème and is being scored by composer Alex Beaupain.

Ginger & Fed is selling the film here at the EFM and Haut et Court will release the film in France in 2025.

Hear Me Love is the latest in a wave of French musicals in the works. Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez starring Karla Sofia Gascon, Selena Gomez, Edgar Ramirez and Zoe Saldana, with original songs from French singer Camille, is among the most anticipated titles of the year.

Meanwhile Davide Livermore and Paolo Gep Cucco’s The Opera! starring Vincent Cassel, Fanny Ardant, Caterina Murino and Rossy De Palma alongside renowned opera singers Mariam Battistelli and Valentino Buzza, is a contemporary take on Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The Opera! shot almost exclusively on a soundstage studio in Turin. “It’s a Moulin Rouge with opera songs,” suggests Marie Garrett, co-founder and managing director of Pulsar Content, which is handling international sales. She says the project has already piqued pre-sales interest based on script alone. The film will also feature elaborate costumes supplied by co-producers Dolce & Gabbana.

There are also plenty of music-focused biopics in the works, including Mehdi Idir and Grand Corps Malade’s Monsieur Aznavour starring Tahar Rahim as French crooner Charles Aznavour, and Maimouna Doucouré’s feature about the life of Josephine Baker for Studiocanal.

Internationally, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Amy Winehouse film Back To Black is opening in April; Jon M. Chu’s two-part Wicked with Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo is due out in November and new feature adaptations of Joseph And The Technicolor Dreamcoat, Fiddler On The Roof, Follies, and A Chorus Line are in the works.

Traditional musicals have failed to attract audiences in France. Even with strong talent rosters, Noemie Lvovsky’s The Great Magic, the Larrieu brothers’ Tralala, Serge Bozon’s Don Juan and Benjamin Millepied’s Carmen underwhelmed at the local box office.

Maxime Delauney, co-founder of Nolita alongside Romain Rousseau, admits raising the modest €6m budget for Hear Me Love was “very, very complicated”.

Innovative musicals – those that spring songs on audiences as a surprise, such as Barbie, Wonka, The Color Purple, and Mean Girls – have fared better.

Jeremy Zag’s Miraculous: Ladybug & Cat Noir, an animated musical not marketed as such, was the most successful French film abroad in 2023, garnering 7.2million admissions and grossing $34.6m.

Nolita and Ginger & Fed have high hopes for Hear Me Love. Universal Music will release the soundtrack around the world and Nolita is simultaneously working on an English-language adaptation of the film complete with original song lyrics. For this, it is in talks with Luciani’s husband, the UK musician Alex Kapranos of Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand.

“We want to show how musicals are also strong IPs,” said Delauney.

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ShowBiz - Show Biz clinic originally published at ShowBiz - Show Biz clinic