Star of Céline Dion-inspired ‘Aline’ on taking liberties for the unofficial biopic

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MONTREAL – Portraying a model of Quebec’s beloved songstress Céline Dion on the large display was a dangerous prospect for “Aline” star Valérie Lemercier, a French actress and standup comedian who stars, co-wrote and directed the movie.

However she says she’s bracing for one more daunting problem Friday: releasing the French-language movie to Quebec audiences, from whom she expects an unparalleled stage of scrutiny.

Though the romantic comedy has already screened in France and different locations in Europe, Lemercier says releasing “Aline” in Dion’s dwelling province is more anxious than every other premiere to date.

“I know very well it’s Quebec’s queen,” Lemercier mentioned throughout a current cease in Montreal to advertise the movie.

“She’s royal family, she’s like the Eiffel Tower.”

Lemercier mentioned she acknowledges {that a} non-Quebecer portraying Dion, particularly with regards to her accent, might be seen by many as audacious.

“First of all, you all know I am not a Quebecer, so what can I say,” Lemercier mentioned, including she needed to discover a stability between the Quebecois accent and being understood.

“I know it’s treason.”

Her French accent within the film, nevertheless, has turn into a sore topic with some critics. The actress mentioned her intention was to not pressure a Quebecois accent on Aline however to render her efficiency more private — and to make the movie accessible internationally.

“I wanted the movie to circulate, for it to travel,” Lemercier mentioned, suggesting {that a} Quebecois accent would demand subtitles for a French viewers. “It’s better to watch the actors’ eyes than to read.”

“Aline” is loosely primarily based on the lifetime of the French-Canadian star. Lemercier’s sixth function movie is a piece of fiction, wherein Céline Dion is renamed “Aline Dieu” and Dion’s producer-manager husband René Angélil is known as Man-Claude Kamar.

The remaining, nevertheless, follows her life carefully — however Lemercier takes some liberties in dramatizing milestones that mirror Dion’s life.

Set from 1932 to 2016, the two-hour movie covers varied eras, from rural Quebec within the first half of the twentieth century. The viewers meets Aline’s dad and mom from an early age, Anglomard and Sylvette, all the best way to their wedding ceremony the place Aline’s father says he doesn’t need kids. They go on to have 14.

The film then traces key moments Aline shares with Dion — from a star-making flip on the Eurovision Tune Contest for Switzerland in 1988 to a glamorous Las Vegas residency, many years into her profession.

Lemercier, 57, performs Aline all through all the film from age 5 to late 40s, a call the actress defends.

“Acting is, for me, like being a lawyer and defending your client,” Lemercier mentioned, including that she by no means thought of hiring a youthful actress. “I wanted to defend the role myself.”

The film additionally stars Quebec actors Sylvain Marcel, Danielle Fichaud, Roc Lafortune, Antoine Vézina and Pascale Desrochers. Aline’s singing voice is carried out by Victoria Sio, who covers a number of of Dion’s most well-known songs, together with “My Heart Will Go On.”

With a finances of greater than $30 million, “Aline” was shot in France, Spain and Quebec. It is going to be launched in English throughout Canada in January.

The film, which was offered in additional than 50 nations, has acquired Dion’s blessing by way of her French supervisor, in line with Lemercier. The singer, nevertheless, has but to publicly touch upon it.

Marcel, who performs Kamar — the movie’s tackle Angélil — mentioned he believes Lemercier’s French nationality and perspective make the movie more relatable to numerous audiences.

“Céline belongs to the world,” Marcel mentioned in current interview. “I’m not sure a Quebec film director would have been able to do something like this; we are too close to it.”

Earlier than Angélil’s loss of life in 2016, the well-known couple was a favorite goal of Quebec tv comics wont to parody Angélil’s raspy voice or the couple’s lovey-dovey nicknames, however Lemercier mentioned she needed to keep away from that.

Actress Danielle Fichaud, who performs Aline’s mom, Sylvette Dieu, mentioned that when she first learn the script, she didn’t see one other parody, however as an alternative felt a number of kindness towards Dion and her household.

“If it had been done without respect, I wouldn’t have done it,” Fichaud mentioned in a current interview. “I didn’t want to be the spokesperson for jokes about the Dions.”

Past the musical tribute to Dion’s life, there’s a love story Lemercier mentioned she was aching to inform.

The homage doesn’t contact on the scandals or rumours involving the singer, and centres on the distinctive relationship between Dion and Angélil, whom Dion met as a preteen.

After 21 years of marriage, Angélil died at age 73, additionally leaving their three kids René Charles, Nelson and Eddy.

“I immediately saw that it was the big story of her life,” Lemercier mentioned.

Lemercier, Marcel and Fichaud all mentioned they hope Dion will watch the film, whereas Lemercier mentioned the singer’s eldest son, René Charles, requested a replica.

“I sent him a note to say I hope he won’t be disappointed,” Lemercier mentioned. “That I know he lost his dad and grandmother too early, but that I hope he could see glimpses here and there, moments that would tell his parents’ story.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed on Nov. 24, 2021.

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