Home » “I was reluctant”, why Yvan Attal hesitated to cast his son Ben in his film

“I was reluctant”, why Yvan Attal hesitated to cast his son Ben in his film

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“I was reluctant”, why Yvan Attal hesitated to cast his son Ben in his film

With Human Things, a film broadcast by France 2 on Sunday March 17, 2024 at 9:10 p.m., Yvan Attal makes a radical change of register. The companion of Charlotte Gainsbourg, who mainly directed comedies, such as My wife is an actress, They married and had many children or My stupid dog, this time tackles a serious theme. Indeed, in Human Things, the filmmaker portrays Alexandre, a young man accused of rape by a young woman named Mila. He says she consented. Who is lying? Who tells the truth? To find out, there is only one solution: watch Human Things!

Is the film Human Things inspired by a true story?

For the screenplay of his film, Yvan Attal adapted the novel Human Things by Karine Tuil, released in 2019, and inspired by an American news story which caused a stir across the Atlantic three years earlier. Brock Turner, a student at the prestigious Stanford University, raped a young woman while she was unconscious. But while he risked up to 7 years in prison, the judge only sentenced him to six months of incarceration because, according to him, Brock Turner did not represent a danger to society and “a prison sentence “heavy would have had too severe an impact” on the student. A decision which sparked a wave of indignation in America, but which had gone relatively unnoticed on this side of the Atlantic. The novelist Karine Tuil therefore became interested in this affair and wrote a book about it, Human Things, which received the Interallié prize and the Goncourt prize for high school students in 2019.

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Why was Yvan Attal “reluctant” to the idea of ​​giving the main role of Human Things to his son Ben?

The subject of his chosen film, Yvan Attal still had to find the two young actors who would play Alexandre and Mila. For the role of Mila, Suzanne Jouannet seemed obvious to him, as the director explains in the Human Things press kit. “At the tests, four actresses emerged. Suzanne was the one who moved me the most. Take after take, her emotion was there. Intact. I loved her acting. From start to finish,” he says. For the role of Alexandre, on the other hand, the filmmaker admits that he hesitated before entrusting it to his son, Ben Attal. “When reading the book, I immediately thought of Ben,” admits the filmmaker before confiding his doubts. “He already had a role in my previous film My Stupid Dog. At the time, I was reluctant. The casting director had to convince me: ‘You don’t want to see him because he’s your son, but he was the one who made the best attempts. I admitted,” he says. Human choices.

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