A moving film to see absolutely. The Colossus with Feet of Clay is broadcast this Thursday, May 4 at 9:10 p.m. on TF1. Freely inspired by real events and adapted from the eponymous book by Sébastien Boueilh and Thierry Vilardy, published in 2020 by Michel Lafon, this unitary (which takes place between the 1990s and 2020) tells the intimate story of a broken man.
Former rugby player from the Landes, Sébastien Boueilh is passionate about the oval ball which he plays from the age of 12 to 16. Behind his joy of living, the Landais actually hides a terrible suffering of which his family is unaware: he is the victim of rape. “Four years of suffering and screaming in silence because his predator is none other than a relative of his parents, loved by all”, sums up the plot of this story adapted to the screen.
“Thirty years later, Sébastien hasn’t managed to speak, and his demons are destroying him. Between the desire for revenge and the desire that no one ever has to live what he lived again. It is therefore the meeting of a kid, a little colossus damaged like him and the return to his life of the one he didn’t know how to love as a teenager, which will force him to make the right choice”, details the summary of the unit made by Stephanie Murat. To play the young victim, the role was given to Timi-Joy Marbot. As an adult, it is the actor Éric Cantona who takes on this role which was particularly close to his heart.
“Through this character, I wanted to tell a strong story”, explains the actor to TF1 Pro. “I obviously read the book on which this film is inspired beforehand and it seemed important to me to be able to talk about this subject on screen”. By putting a word on sexual violence against minors, this story brought to television highlights a drama that is still too silent, in order to “get things done and prevent it”, assures the ex-football star. Also in fiction, we find the actor Olivier Chantreau in the role of his attacker, Dilou.
Before filming, Olivier Chantreau also read the biography of Sébastien Boueilh. If the actor (seen in More beautiful life and Les Lyonnais) had the heavy task of entering the skin of the aggressor, he explains what prompted him to accept this difficult role.
“It’s simple, the book touched me a lot, it is important to free speech, to talk about something quite taboo”, confides the 30-year-old to Planet. In the company of its author present on the set of the TV movie, the meeting was an opportunity for Olivier Chantreau to approach this terrible story “without false modesty, with sincerity” and “defend a precious subject”.
For Éric Cantona, in the position of a victim who repressed his anger after several years of silence, the meeting with the attacked ex-rugby player was also decisive. “I spent a lot of time with Sébastien and his dad on and off set. Sébastien was very hard on him at one time and his father didn’t understand why. So he also suffered from not knowing anything”, confides the ex-star of Voyageur for TF1 Pro by adding. “Sebastien’s approval to embody his character was important to me, as was his presence on the set”.
Actor Olivier Chantreau was also marked by his character, playing the pedophile husband of the cousin of the victim camped by Timi-Joy Marbot. “We were disturbed, it is a question of playing the scenes in the first degree. As soon as we hear action, I play a pedophile, he is the victim. “It crosses us and we do not come out of it completely unscathed “, testifies the actor. “We are crossed by a malaise, but that means that we have touched the horror that this person can calculate towards the victim”.
Faced with difficult scenes to shoot, Olivier Chantreau wanted to reassure his young partner on the screen. Both were surrounded “by the director’s empathy and benevolence” during filming. A serious subject brought to the screen which particularly marked the spirits at the Luchon Festival 2023.
The Colossus with Feet of Clay was awarded the Grand Prize for unitary fiction while actor Olivier Chantreau won the prize for male interpretation. “It was Sydney Gallonde, one of the producers of the film, who called me”, admits the one who was absent from the award ceremony. “I was obviously delighted, but also very surprised, because I was not the main role of this fiction”. Yet “honored” with this distinction, Olivier Chantreau admits that he did not expect this surprise, he who says he is “unaccustomed to rewards”.
After the jury and the public, it’s the viewers’ turn to discover this TV movie on TF1, based on the story of Sébastien Boueilh. After breaking the silence, his attacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison and the former rugby player founded his association “Colossus with feet of clay”. He also does prevention with students and middle school students, reminding them each time that they have to speak to be heard by adults. As mentioned in the last minutes of the TV movie: one in five children is a victim of sexual violence. The emergency number to call if your grandchild/child is in danger: 119.