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Huard comes full circle at Genies
by: Feb 5, 2007 Print

A funny thing happened to Patrick Huard four years ago on his way to the podium as a Genie presenter. During his comedy monologue he looked out at his English and French audience - and had a flash for a movie. The result of that divine inspiration is Bon Cop, Bad Cop, which has 10 nominations, including best picture, and is a lock for this year's Golden Reel Award.

Huard is a hard man to nail down these days. Apart from launching Taxi 22, a new comedy series based on a character from his one-man stage show that launched Jan. 25 on TVA, he's in post-production on Three Little Pigs, his first feature as director. Set for a May 11 release from Christal Films - during what may be the biggest American blockbuster summer ever - Huard describes the new film as "totally the opposite of Bon Cop" - a human comedy with a European feel, peopled with an ensemble cast culled from Quebec theater, movies and TV.

Playback spoke with the cowriter and costar of Bon Cop about his visionary Genie experience, Bon Cop, Part Deux and cross-border success.

Was Bon Cop inspired by your time as a stand-up comedian in Quebec?

I hope the influence shows in the dialogue, but [film] is a totally different medium, and you have to write in a different way.

I first started to think about [Bon Cop] because of a monologue that I did at the Genies four years ago. They wanted some comedy in the show. I was the only one [doing it]. The French-Canadians and the English were laughing at the same jokes, and I wasn't prepared for that. I was doing a joke on the French, and the English would laugh. And the other way around. They laughed at the same joke all the time.

I was surprised, and realized that maybe there's something that we have in common. The one thing we can laugh about together is our differences. That's when I had a flash for Bon Cop.

Did you know at the time what kind of film it would be?

I was born in '69, and the [Lethal Weapon movies] were out in the eighties. That's the type of movie you like to watch over and over in your teenage years. Bon Cop sort of embraces that [buddy cop] action genre, but also has some distance from it - and makes fun of it. There's a little more self-mocking.

Did you always have Érik Canuel in mind to direct?

The day that I sat down to write the first word of the screenplay, I was hoping that Érik would agree to do the movie. It was impossible for me to see anyone else, with the kind of money that we had. He's totally crazy, and so totally strong technically. And he's funny and sensible, so he was absolutely right for the movie.

He's involved with a lot of work in advertising, and [that industry has] a lot of money. So he's able to try some big gadgets that he can then use in his movies. Also, he's done so many types of films: underground, commercial, love stories, action movies. It's a very interesting path that he decided to take with his storytelling. It served Bon Cop well, because it's a hybrid. You have both comedy and action.

Did you think it would be such a box-office smash in Canada?

Oh, no. You can't expect something like that, but you hope for the best.

Every time I sit down to tell a story or write something, my first criteria is always to do something that I haven't seen yet. Bon Cop was the type of movie that I wanted to go and see [in a theater] on the corner of my street. I've seen it all over - in New York and L.A. and Paris - but never here. And then, of course, you hope that somebody else will want to see the same thing. But not this many people. It's totally crazy.

It's been a while since there was a crossover success in English Canada and Quebec.

Maybe because we need to think in a different way. Instead of just doing our stuff and hoping that everybody else will like it and it can be exported, include the people that you want to talk to - the audience.

Is there going to be Bon Cop 2?

[laughs] There will be, but maybe not as fast as some people would like to have it. The script won't come by e-mail. I have to write it from page one to the end.

You're competing against Colm Feore [Martin Ward] for a best actor statue.

[laughs again] He doesn't have a chance. What I love about the Genies [this year] is that we have so many nominations. It's not just about the stars, but everyone who worked on the movie. It also means that our peers in the business want to acknowledge that sometimes commercial success can be a good thing. We need that kind of cinema because it's good for everybody.

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