by directors David & Stéphane Foenkinos
Ten years ago, when David published his first novel, and I cast Audrey Tautou in her first starring role in God Is Great, I’m Not, little did we know that we would collaborate on a film with her, based on my brother’s eighth novel. Meantime, we worked for others, wrote for others, on projects which didn’t get made, but it gave us the assurance that we got along enough to spend almost three years elaborating Delicacy. David wasn’t really interested in adapting it himself, but when I read the book I immediately saw the potential of a strong and offbeat romantic comedy. Today, I’m glad I convinced him. And all that happened before we even knew the book would become France’s top-selling novel with over one million copies sold, and an international best-seller.
Everything we like in films, from Truffaut to Kaurismäki, resides in that story: the irony of fate, sparkles of fantasies in everyday life, an office romance… but above all we wanted to show a tale between the most unlikely couple—a modern day version of Beauty and the… Swede! And to help us create that vision, we were especially blessed with our cast.
Working with Audrey Tautou was not only a delight, but a dream come true. She makes only one film a year and hasn’t done a 'first feature' in almost a decade. On the set she is focused—yet always available and respectful to others—and the best partner for any other actors. She never made us feel we were coming after Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Alain Resnais, Ron Howard or Stephen Frears! Honestly, no one else could have embraced the subtleties and complexity of Nathalie like she did. Spanning a ten-year period, her part required a unique dedication. We are still grateful. Opposite her, we were lucky to find François Damiens, an amazing Belgian prankster who proves here that he is so much more than meets the eye. The gleam in my brother’s eye when we sat and talked with him the first time was very moving, as he was witnessing the three-dimensional birth of the Markus he had created on paper. Funny and touching, we wouldn’t be surprised if Americans want to adopt him! On the set, Damiens and Tautou got along famously, even if we sometimes felt excluded as they were often talking about their common passion… sailing.
People often ask us if it is easy to work with your sibling. Our answer is that it is very comfortable, because you leave your ego in the locker room. There is no competition and the best idea always wins. Maybe that is why we admire and understand other brother directors. Some days we feel like the Coens, others like the Farrellys or the Dardennes. As you see, we are very eclectic.
Delicacy is a film about love lost, love regained and why we sometimes laugh in tragic moments or want to cry when everything's fine. It is a romantic dramedy set in an unusual Paris and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.