Michel Bussi (A Plane without it) : "I wanted to have a small heroine who does not know who is her family"

The mini-series event concludes tonight on M6. Back on the genesis of the project with Michel Bussi, author of bestselling novels in which the adaptation is based, Delphine Bouix, executive producer, and John-Mark Rudincki, director. What do you think of this adaptation TV ? Is it faithful to your novel ? Michel Bussi is the author of A Plane without it : I’m very happy with this adaptation, it is both faithful to the novel as we find the elements of the pitch – the plane crash, a baby, two possible identities – and this I find it very good as a novelist is that the series takes a different party of the novel, which was difficult to adapt it literally. It focuses on one aspect more investigation, more thriller. We find all the characters in the novel, but these characters will have more or less importance : Lily has more importance in the series than in the book. There is a bias more police who can pull the thread of my story on aspects that were not necessarily developed, as the relationship between Mark and Lily for example, and on aspects of the investigation, Gullible Grand-Duke, who became Jacques Monot, took up less space. There is a tension which is not the same; it also shows that we can treat a novel according to different points of view. When you have presented the series at the festival de Luchon in February, you have stated that they have “betrayed the novel without betraying it.” What did you mean by that ? Jean-Marc Rudnicki writer and director : It is a betrayal of love ! In fact, the character of Emily/Lily has been brought back to the centre of the story. Has the reading, it seemed to us to be clear with my co-author (Nicolas Durand-Zouky, editor’s note), we had been investigating his identity, so it was she the heroine, and it needed to be put in the foreground. It is this that has given something much more romantic than what I was expecting, until the final assembly. Did you have knowledge of the accident of mount Saint-Odile (which occurred in January 1992 in Alsace, editor’s note) ? This you has he scored ? Michel Bussi : no, there is no link between the accident of the Mont Sainte-Odile and the plane crash of my novel, the only point in common is the isolated place in the mountains. I left the quest for identity-to imagine this novel, and not the crash. I wanted to have a small heroine who does not know who is his family, which is placed in a family without knowing if he is his real family, or whether another, different, waiting somewhere. To do this I asked myself what could make someone not aware of its identity; the simplest being that there is nothing other than the baby. It is there that is born the idea of the plane crash. Jean-Marc Rudnicki : It’s amazing what you say, because to us it seemed obvious that the story was inspired by the crash of Mont Sainte-Odile ! Delphine Bouix, executive producer (CPB Films) : It seemed to us evident as we shot very close to the Mont Sainte-Odile, so we ended up completely soaked ! Jean-Marc Rudnicki : The office of investigations of air are specialists in the crashes of aircraft and we have asked for details in the reconstruction, were surprised in discovering the story by the similarities with this accident. For them it was an event so traumatic that as soon as a plane crash is shot in Alsace, they are automatically the link. It was feared, moreover, that the local people are reluctant during the shooting, but they were rather curious. The big issue of the series in terms of decoration was the revival of the crash : we have recovered pieces of aircraft, engines and wings, and we have reconstituted a section of fuselage that we made explode. There are a lot of sequences reconstruction of France in the years 1970 and 1990. How did you do it ? Delphine Bouix : It has been a bit of a puzzle, with Jean-Marc we had the difficulties you did not expect necessarily. For the 1970s it was pretty easy, but for the costumes of the late 1990s, it was realized that the current fashion among the young people was very close ! The historical gap in the screen would therefore be more difficult to return. In the rebuilding of Paris also, it has been full of surprises : markings on the road that did not exist at the time, traffic signs, garbage bins lid yellow that didn’t exist, automobiles that are simply not the same… It was a lot of work since we were shooting in natural locations. Jean-Marc Rudnicki : After it was necessary to find decorations that were still “in their juice”, the bar in particular, of the caravan… Why have you chosen to adapt to “A Plane without it” ? Was this a request of the chain, in the context of a mini-series event, or a blow of heart ? Delphine Bouix : It was a stroke of huge heart. I owe to Marina Carrère d’encausse, when I was allitée at the end of the pregnancy of my daughter and I watched The Journal of health ! She recommended the book in one of his broadcasts, and I immediately asked my assistant for me to buy it. I read it a treaty because I don’t want to give birth before you finish it ! (laughter) It was a blow of heart all the more moving for me because it coincided with the birth of my daughter. We met fairly quickly with Michel, and it was a project that we wanted to carry out at the cinema at the beginning; but it had a side-fiction, and popular more anglo-saxon than French, with a pitch really hard. It was quickly realized with Michel that the ambition that had been there would be perhaps a step in the right direction at the cinema, and the density of the book was that I went to see M6 to propose an adaptation to the series, in order to respect the DNA of the novel, keeping his bright side, and popular fiction. We had initially wanted to stick to the novel starting on a duel westernien between Gullible Grand-Duke and Marc, and, thereupon, Jean-Marc has proposed to trace the character of Lily, that was completely hollow in the novel. This change allowed us to go in the direction that we wanted at the start. Jean-Marc Rudnicki : When Delphine has proposed to buy the rights to a Plane without it in 2012, three months after its release, the book was not a best seller. Delphine has had the nose end, because its success and its recognition took place some time after ! The novel has exceeded one million sales this year, and has had a great success abroad. Michel Bussi : It is touching to see the series completed today, after a long gestation of highs and lows ! But yes at the start there was this coup de coeur, me and the editor, for Delphine. It’s not trivial to have someone who has given birth and asks us to sign right away ! (laughter) Have you contributed to the writing of the adaptation ? Michel Bussi : I have not participated in the scenario directly. I read it, it has exchanged on a regular basis to inform them of the progress of the project, but I did not take part. I love to discover how to work for the tv, trust the people and observe the design. It was also interesting to see the different tones proposed in the adaptations, since three of my books are adapted on three different channels, between TF1, France 2 and M6. It is interesting for an author ! It is for this reason that in a first time I liked to take a position of observer, to see what color it was going to give to this novel; On M6, there is one color more “thriller”, it is a four episodes as of which it is more nervous, more rhythmic… But I do not know enough of the codes of the dramatic arts in television, the cost issue… My ideas are often not attainable ! (laughter)

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