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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Belgium

First clapperboard about to slam for Asterix & Obelix, the Middle Kingdom

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- Directed by and starring Guillaume Canet, the indomitable Gauls' new adventure features an all-star cast including Gilles Lellouche, Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel and Zlatan Ibrahimović

First clapperboard about to slam for Asterix & Obelix, the Middle Kingdom
Actors Guillaume Canet and Gilles Lellouche as Asterix and Obelix (© Guillaume Canet/Instagram)

“The year is 50 BC; Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans... Well, not entirely! Because one small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders, and will do so forever.” The famous introductory spiel from the comic-book adventures of The Adventures of Asterix, created by duo René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, which have sold more than 325 million copies all over the world, will once again emanate from the big screen in Asterix & Obelix, the Middle Kingdom by Guillaume Canet, which will kick off principal photography on Monday 12 April.

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This new opus (which boasts a budget of €60 million) will be the fifth live-action feature inspired by the comic-book series, following Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar (15.9 million admissions worldwide, 8.94 million of which were sold in France in 1999), Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (14.5 million viewers in France in 2002), Asterix at the Olympic Games [+see also:
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(6.8 million admissions in France in 2009) and Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia [+see also:
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(3.8 million viewers in 2012), but for the first time ever, the screenplay will be entirely original (written by Julien Hervé and Philippe Mechelen – who worked together on Les Tuche 2: The American Dream [+see also:
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, The Magic Tuche [+see also:
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and Les Tuche 4 – with Guillaume Canet). The story will see the Chinese Emperor’s only daughter travel from China to Gaul to ask for Asterix and Obelix’s help.

Toplining the feature areGuillaume Canet himself and Gilles Lellouche (soon to grace screens in BAC Nord [+see also:
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) in the roles of Asterix and Obelix, alongside Marion Cotillard (set to be seen imminently in Annette [+see also:
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), who will breathe life into Cleopatra, Vincent Cassel (seen recently in A Friendly Tale [+see also:
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), who will play Caesar, and Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimović.

They will be flanked by such names as Pierre Richard, Philippe Katerine, Ramzy Bedia, Jonathan Cohen, Audrey Lamy, Belgian singer Angèle and rapper Orelsan. Also set to appear are Jérôme Commandeur, Manu Payet, YouTubers McFly and Carlito, Vincent Desagnat, Laura Felpin, Issa Doumbia, Monsieur Fraize, Thomas VDB, and Bun Hay Mean. In addition, Mathieu Chedid will be a cast member as well as composing the movie’s score.

As a reminder, this will be the eighth feature-length directorial effort by Canet, following Anything You Say (two César Award nominations in 2003, including for Best Debut Film), Tell No One [+see also:
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(3.1 million admissions in France, and four César Awards in 2007, including Best Director), Little White Lies [+see also:
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(5.4 million viewers in France and two nominations for the César Awards in 2011), Blood Ties [+see also:
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(out of competition at Cannes in 2013), Rock’n Roll [+see also:
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(1.3 million admissions in France in 2017), Little White Lies 2 [+see also:
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(2.8 million tickets sold in France last year) and Lui, which is currently in post-production (see the article).

Asterix & Obelix, the Middle Kingdom is being produced by Alain Attal for Trésor Films together with Les Enfants Terribles, Les Éditions Albert René and Pathé (which will distribute the movie in France and is selling it overseas). The feature, co-produced by TF1 Films Productions and Belgium's Artémis, among others, has also been pre-purchased by Canal+ and OCS, and Netflix has apparently already acquired the rights for a certain number of territories (which are still under wraps). The shoot, which was initially meant to take place mainly in China, and which was pushed back last year at the height of the pandemic, eventually ended up being relocated to France.

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(Translated from French)

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