Jean-Jacques Annaud: “The devil is in the detail, the truth too!”

MAINTENANCE – The French director painstakingly reconstructed the Notre-Dame fire. Without overdoing the special effects, he signs a grandiose and spectacular film, charged with emotion, which sounds like a tribute to those who saved the cathedral.

THE FIGARO MAGAZINE. – How did the idea for this film come about?

Jean-Jacques ANNAUD. – When Jérôme Seydoux called me to explain to me that he wanted to make an editing film based on real images of the Notre-Dame fire. His idea was to do, like Apollo 11, a work of great spectacle intended for the cinema. But if, in the United States, NASA had planned everything by installing cameras everywhere, there, we had in our possession only images of smartphones. By saying that, we therefore understood that we were going from a project worth 1 million euros to another, four times larger. At least…

How did you go about writing the screenplay?

I collected dozens of testimonies from those who had been actors, principal or secondary, in this disaster. Each firefighter, policeman, elected official, religious explained to me what he had done, minute by minute, this afternoon of April 15, 2019. This allowed me to retrace all the stages according to the different points of view.


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