INTERVIEW – Claire De La Rochefoucauld (Plus belle la vie): “If the series were to come back, we could…”

The Mistral is definitely closing its doors. After 18 years of love stories and police investigations, intrigues, encounters and reunions, the characters of More beautiful life bid farewell to the public. On the occasion of a special evening, this Friday November 18, France 3 will broadcast two episodes of the soap opera followed bya bonus placed under the sign of love. Claire De La Rochefoucauld, director and producer, confides in Gala.fr on this end full of surprisesthe farewells of the actors and the rumors around this end which took the teams by surprise.

GALA.fr: What did you think of the end of PBLV?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
I love this prime, I produced it (laughs). We wanted to give a gift to the public. We wanted a romantic comedy. We wanted happiness. We wanted to be open to the future and this bonus meets all the conditions we had set at the start. We are in the sliders at the bottom of the romantic comedy to say goodbye to all the characters that the public has loved for 18 years.

GALA.fr: Wasn’t it tempting to leave an opening, a beginning of intrigue?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
The opening is there! If the series were to come back, we could pick up the characters where we left off since they all have an ending that gives us more material to write great stories.

>> PHOTOS – Laëtitia Milot, Fabienne Carat, Ambroise Michel… A look back at the stars of Plus belle la vie

GALA.fr: What memories do you have of the last day of filming?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
I keep the memory of an extraordinary atmosphere on the set, it feels on the prime. This is what we experienced for 15 days: linked teams, humanity, benevolence. The goodbyes lasted a month with end claps every day for the actors, it was painful. It’s a real family that will last.

GALA.fr: Do you have any regrets about the soap opera?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
Apart from the fact that it stops? We always think we could do better, even if PBLV has reinvented itself a lot. We always tried to find new subjects and stick to society. We raised issues in the hope that people would talk about them afterwards. But no, I have no regrets. We are all very proud of this series. What saddens me is that we were watched by many people for whom it was an appointment.

GALA.fr: How did you learn of the end of PBLV?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
There was the article in Le Parisien. At the time I was a director, I was filming. We didn’t know if it was true or not, and then it was confirmed to us by the management of France TV.

GALA.fr: Some actors have lamented learning about it in the press…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
I tried to say that these are things that are beyond us, in a world other than ours with negotiations and so on. I tried to tell them that it was neither the bad will of France TV, nor on the part of the production. News like that, there’s never a good way to break it. It’s always painful.

GALA.fr: The argument of the drop in ratings has been given, but all the channels are dealing with it. Do you think that’s a good reason to stop a soap opera like this?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
We must believe that we have lowered too much… We must try to understand the broadcaster.

GALA.fr: The public criticized PBLV for having recently renewed and rejuvenated its cast too quickly. Was it strategic to attract a new audience?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
It wasn’t so much strategy. We had four generations of high school students, they grew up and we have to renew ourselves because we can’t keep all the characters in the series. There are also actors who wanted to leave, others who had to be replaced. When you are a daily, you can be in a hurry.

GALA.fr: Was it this urgency that could have given way to some inconsistencies in the script?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
Of course, it is inherent in everyday life. Let’s not forget that we had to go through the Covid and that didn’t help.

GALA.fr: The end of PBLV was foreseen with the arrival of Un si grand soleil…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
Tomorrow belongs to us, Here everything begins exists, Such a great sun exists… More beautiful life too. Just because one day comes doesn’t mean another has to stop. We are always happy that there is always fiction and that it finds its audience.

GALA.fr: Especially since PBLV has opened the door to soap operas…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
Forever first is our slogan. We opened the door to a freedom of tone, to correlate with the news and then we set an example in terms of production by releasing 260 episodes a year. We were the laboratory.

GALA.fr: To come back to the last episodes, many characters have made their comeback. Was it a request from the actors, who wanted to say goodbye to the series, or was it the production that went to get them?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
It is a will of Pierre Monjanel, the collection director. He made some actors come back to the stories we wanted to tell. They all responded.

GALA.fr: Yet one is missing, Lætitia Millot alias Mélanie Rinato…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
It was not a desire on our part not to bring her back. Lætitia Millot did a lot for PBLV, we thought about it for a while. We thought about possible stories… We wrote this ending very quickly since we didn’t have a lot of time to do it, and we couldn’t find the right story to bring it back.

GALA.fr: Even for Roland’s death?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
If she had come back for Roland’s death, it would have been to do a sequence and she wouldn’t have come back for that. We didn’t have enough to offer him. But we love Lætitia a lot. She was invited to the end of filming party, unfortunately she was already taken, but she is a full member of the PBLV family.

GALA.fr: More beautiful life, it’s also a setting…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
For the moment, neither the police station nor the mistral have been dismantled. We are considering a few projects with the sets. The studios belonging to the town hall, the decor will eventually be dismantled. We opened a big sale of furniture and costumes open to employees, the profits of which will go to associations. The places are gradually being emptied, but the work is enormous. 18 years of production in one place… If we count the jewelry, the costumes represent a million pieces. We had 1 km 7 of bearings.

GALA.fr: Can you imagine yourself celebrating PBLV’s 20th anniversary in a few years, as we have seen recently for other programs?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
I’d love it ! I am convinced that Plus belle la vie will go down in television history, I think it will become cult, so yes we can project ourselves.

GALA.fr: Are there any farewells that have marked you the most?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
I cried every time so I’m not a good example. But Michel Corde, his last shot, when we shot his death.

GALA.fr: His death was inevitable…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
We didn’t even ask the question. When we offered him this ending, he replied that it was obvious that it would end like this. Rolland and Thomas have a small place, their farewells were sad. Without forgetting the very funny speech of Sylvie Flepp who plays Mirta… They all have a lot of recognition for the teams. We ended in a festive atmosphere by telling ourselves that in a year we will have an evening to meet.

GALA.fr: Have all the actors accepted the end of their character?
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
It has happened that some grumble about the texts, of course. They were listened to and everything always went well. On a daily newspaper, the actors appropriate their characters and may lack perspective on their plots. No one left angry and there was no drama.

GALA.fr: More beautiful life is also a lot of couples who form in front of and behind the camera…
Claire De La Rochefoucauld:
We’re up to 25 babies, I think. We had meetings, marriages, babies, re-marriages… We have couples that last like Cecilia Hornus and Thierry Ragueneau who got married a few years ago, by the way I was invited. It’s still a symbolic couple for us since they are the ones we see first in the soap opera.

Photo credits: PATRICK BERNARD / BESTIMAGE

INTERVIEW – Claire De La Rochefoucauld (Plus belle la vie): “If the series were to come back, we could…” – Gala