Welcome to the Ch’tis: Kad Merad reveals that he obtained his role thanks to the refusal of many actors

Kad Merad says he is lucky to have landed the leading role in Welcome to the Ch’tis. A headliner obtained thanks to the refusal of many actors, as it reveals 14 years after its release.

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You cannot separate the success of Welcome to the Ch’tis to the main actors of the film, who are Dany Boon and Kad Merad. A real commercial success when it was released in 2008, the feature film tells the crazy adventure of a director of a post office, not very sneaky and overworked by his wife, transferred against his will to the north of France. The rest of the story is known to all. Record holder of the national box office with 20 million admissions recorded for his comedy, Dany Boon will declare more than ten years after its release that all this unexpected glory made him very anxious at the time. Especially since at the start, the director had a hard time finding the star who would become the headliner.

These big names who said no

In addition to this achievement, the comedian had already gone behind the camera, two years earlier, to The House of happiness. Comforted by the rather good reviews of the latter, he then works on what will become his greatest success and talks about it to his colleagues in the seventh art. And if Kad Merad willingly lent his features to Philippe Abrams, others were reluctant. “I still have, I think, a little c*l in my life because Dany, before presenting me the role, he talks about it to a lot of actors before. I believe that everyone has gone from Jean Dujardin to Jose Garcia, Bernard Campan, Daniel Auteuil. Everyone, for their own reasons, refused the project“, reveals the companion of Julia Vignali in the face of QG (from 3 min 47).

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I called Dany in the night…

The actor, then 46 years old, was thrilled with the pitch on his first reading. He says : “I was in Marseilles, I had a country house there. There is Richard Pezet (producer of Welcome to the Ch’tis, editor’s note) who calls me and says ‘I’d like to talk to you about Dany Boon’s film’. I say yes, yes (…) He brings me the script, I read it in the evening. I called Dany at night, he was driving home, I told him ‘it’s great, I love it, it’s an auteur film in fact !”, remembers the sexagenarian. Kad Merad claims to have long “dream[é] this kind of role“.

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