In 2017, the simple broadcast of series Tasks and Transfers the same year challenged and pushed to ask the question: Finally good French science fiction on TV? Five years later, French television viewers are spoiled for choice between UFO(s), Infiniti, Parallels and Visitors, airing from Tuesday on Warner TV and available on demand. For the creator, director and actor of the latter, Simon Astier, “it’s a question of generation”: “Our generation is now at the heart of the creation, consumption and distribution of series. She researches, revisits, the works and emotions that marked her as a child. »
“Alien vs. Predator”, the unexpected reference
But as for superheroes with Hero Corp, Simon Astier cannot make a series of science fiction, and more precisely of alien invasion, like the others. He plays Richard, who left behind his childhood friends Bob and Mitch to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and join the Pointe-Claire city police. From his first day, he has to deal with the anything but warm welcome of his colleagues and with strange lights that collide in the sky.
If, invaders to X Files passing through the Saturday Trilogy, the references jostle in the mind of the spectator, Simon Astier in advance and assumes another: “I like it, oddly…Alien vs. predator. The meeting of two giants. I’ve always been seduced by the idea of not one but two aliens arriving. One nice, and the other much less. It is then a question of allying oneself with a being from elsewhere, with all that that implies of discovery, questioning, etc. It’s really one of my favorite films: night film, snow film, underground temple film…” Actor and humorist David Marsais cuts it: “Everything that is not in Visitors actually “. Simon Astier bursts out laughing.
Comedy, a genre taken seriously
David Marsais, like his Palmashow sidekick Gregoire Ludig and many others, responded to Visitors. He interprets Agent Muller (yes yes) and sees the series as an “X-Files with ugly characters”. “I immediately recognized Simon’s handwriting,” he adds. He’s a comedy writer, he has his own tone, his touch. He does not try to find a balance between drama and comedy, it is natural for him”. Simon Astier agrees: “There is no posture on my part. All the people linked to the project have this taste for comedy in common and consider it a serious genre. It is at the service of the story, the characters, and even the staging”.
“I use every penny of the budget absolutely”
The first episodes thus give the spectator what he can expect from such a project, before deploying towards more surprises and even spectacular. To the independence day by Roland Emmerich? “I didn’t have money,” replies Simon Astier. But I grew up shooting with bits of string. Today you give me a budget, I will use every penny absolutely. David Marsais adds: “The more money we have, the more we will Star Wars “.
The eight episodes of Visitors were thus shot in 29 days, with green screens, special effects, and on arrival a series “a bit bizarre, a bit off the mark, singular”. And the first original creation of the Warner TV channel. Simon Astier wants to continue, but: “I will not start again on a long series like Hero Corp. Two seasons is good. With a beautiful ending. David Marsais has an idea: “Why not a Christmas Special? »