In Royal Palace!, available on the Salto platform, Valérie Lemercier plays the godiches humiliated by her crowned husband, before transforming herself into a princess of hearts. Does that remind you of someone?
Younger son of the king, Arnaud, an immature and arrogant prince, shamelessly cheats on his wife, Armelle, a speech therapist. On the sudden death of his father, he ascends the throne. But the new royal couple is struggling to cope with their new obligations, and Armelle, of a discreet nature, multiplies the blunders, under the sarcasm of his stepmother, Queen Eugénia …
A princely couple at the gingerbread fair
With Royal Palace!, his third film behind (and in front of) the camera after Quadrille and The bottom, Valerie Lemercier signs a hilarious parody of the crowned heads, in a fictitious kingdom modeled on the model of European constitutional monarchies. She had originally planned to make fun of the small world of politics by playing the wife of an important mayor. But a photo from the newspaper Point of view made him change his mind: we saw a crown prince playing the clown, hanging a rope. It is also in the pages of these celebrity magazines that she drew inspiration for the official events of her princely couple: “The gingerbread fair, blood donation, tug-of-war, inaugurations, hospice visits… It seemed so incredible to me what these people are forced to do! Greece, Spain or Belgium show their sovereigns a lot in these very banal situations.”
Choco prince and Lady Di
To interpret her unbearable husband, Valérie Lemercier chose Lambert Wilson who had already lent his haughty bearing and his contemptuous pout to the very snobbish Arthus de Poulignac in Jet Set. For the filmmaker, the actor was ideal for the role: “Lambert is the prince in Prince choco tights, we believe he is serious but in fact not. A mixture of presence and self-mockery.“For the role of Armelle,” a real quiche “according to her very formal mother-in-law, (follow our 10 tips to behave well during a social dinner!), Valérie Lemercier was inspired by Mathilde from Belgium, also a former speech therapist, and especially from Lady Di. Impossible indeed in front Royal Palace! not to think about the princess of hearts and her troubles with Prince Charles: “I watched the way she used the media, ” explains the actress. “She also totally eclipsed her husband: at first she would see him play polo, matches which she left crying. Then she would go all alone to see Elton John concerts, and she found it much funnier! Besides, she was a deceived woman, and she knew it, she played with her victim image.”
Catherine Deneuve royal
The role of the very sarcastic Queen Eugenia was written specifically for Catherine Deneuve, the unforgettable princess in love with Donkey Skin. “I, who am not a believer, had put a candle at ten euros for her to accept it“, remembers Valérie Lemercier. “She will always be more queen in an apron and rubber boots than any other actress decked out in diamonds, because she has been famous since she was 18, has always been beautiful and commands respect.. “In the film’s press kit, the star admits having had a lot of fun with this character:”Eugénia is a queen of insane cynicism, but she also knows how to play it with pragmatism. She has absolute control over her flock and especially knows not to see what she does not want to see. For her, you have to get by with things, without any thought if not to maintain appearances at all costs..“And to admit that when she is in the car with friends, she often amuses herself by caricaturing the figures of royalty by waving her hand towards the exterior, in the manner of Queen Elizabeth II of ‘England: “It makes me laugh a lot, there is a puppet side that I like.“
A box office success
With Royal Palace! Valérie Lemercier has achieved her greatest success as a director. Released in November 2005, the film took place top box office hit of the year with 2.7 million entries (Aline, her latest Celine Dion-inspired comedy, made 1.3 million admissions). He was even nominated for two Césars: that of the best actress for Valérie Lemercier and the best supporting actress for Catherine Deneuve.