Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Will Smith Is Off To "The Sticks"

France's highest-grossing movie to date is getting an American remake courtesy of Mr. Will Smith.

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter...

Warner Bros. has purchased the rights to remake a film titled, Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, or, in English, "Welcome to the Sticks," with Will's Overbrook Entertainment to produce, and of course, Will to star in.

The original French film follows a postal employee from the sunny south of France who gets an unwanted transfer to the rain-soaked north, known as "the sticks," where he eventually is won over by "the locals' warm-hearted ways and impenetrable dialect."

The film opened in France, in February this year, and has gone on to break box-office records in the country, grossing more than $180 million to date, in France alone, and is said to be on its way to overtaking Titanicto become the highest-grossing movie ever released in the country!!

Will Smith stars in 2 films this year, Hancock and Seven Pounds, summer and fall releases, respectively, with many expecting Seven Pounds to garner him another Oscar nomination. I suppose this will follow the latter, likely for a 2009 release.

Below is the trailer for the French film. It's in French, but I think based on the above brief synopsis, and the overall tone of the trailer below, one can get a good idea of what Will's remake might look and feel like.


  1. Baby Please said...


  2. The Obenson Report said...

    That's it? That's all? ;o)

  3. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    LOL! A French friend of mine saw this film earlier this year and tried to tell me about it... It was a kind of "you had to be there" (and understand French) kind of moment.

    She went to Paris for a couple of weeks this month(she lives here in London) and saw it again! And still loved it!

    I guess Mr Smith has got his antennae working overdrive. Hope the film translates to English better than Isabelle was able to manage!

  4. The Obenson Report said...

    I'm hoping to find a sub-titled version of the French film on the web somewhere... somebody's bound to upload it, since it's such a popular film over there!

  5. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    Good luck looking for a subtitled version.

    The French don't go out of their way to subtitle their films and the only reason Isabelle spent ages telling me the story is that it's not available with subtitles.

    We were supposed to be doing a meal and then a movie and ended up missing 'The Orphanage' because she got so caught up in telling me about it while we ate.

    Do let me know if you find a subtitled version though...

  6. Izzie said...

    Hi Tambay and thanks for the trailer, I hadn't seen it and it's made my day! I watched it twice and I am now in tears - funniest French movie in as long as I can remember! But Wendy's right, you have to be French to get it. It's got so many cultural references layered through it, for ex the sad song is a very famous one with quite a history, the old actor is a brilliant comedian, who plays "godfather" brilliantly, etc... Impossible (as Wendy put it - she did endure, sorry, Wendy!) to translate the action, the characters, the language, the feel of the whole movie but I tried! And yes, we missed the movie so here's to hoping Will does a great job with it (he's got his job cut out with such a great source material) but similar great French movies so far have made really crap US movies (see La Totale, a work of genius, that became True Lies).

    I went to see "Bienvenue" the first time here in London at the French cinema (cinema lumiere) and it was subtitled - terribly. My friend's boyfriend, an ozzie fairly fluent in French, let go of them and once he got into the dialogue, was in tears throughout the whole movie. Same as everybody else!

    So highly recommended, and I'll make sure Wendy and I see the Will version. We now see the movie first, before we have a natter or we would never see anything... But I will definitely buy it next time I go to France (it's out end oct 09). I'll let you know if it has subtitles. And I'll most probably inflict it on Wendy...

    Oh, and thanks a lot for giving me a copy of Beautiful things (via Wendy). Very generous of you!


  7. The Obenson Report said...

    Thanks for the comment Isabelle! I'd still like to see it, even though I may not fully appreciate it, as I'm not French. I'd like to see it before Will Smith's version is released. The fact that it has done so well in its native country, both critically and financially, is enough to capture my interest! So, I'll keep reading up on it, and looking for it to be released in the states.

    And you're welcome! I hope you like my film.


  8. Izzie said...


    I didn't mean you shouldn't see it, you definitely should! Even Wendy is getting excited about seeing it now...

    What did you think of the trailer?

    I don't live in France but my friends told me that there were queues outside the cinemas in Paris and people were actually refused entry because there weren't enough seats available. I have never seen that before anywhere, not even here when we had the Harry Potter frenzy.

    The only problem I have with this movie is that the story is about the cultural clash between the North (Nord-pas-de-Calais) and the South (le sud) and trust me, people in both places have an accent and manneurisms - but the Southern guy sounds like a Parisian. In fact, everyone in the South (except for the old guy who really is from the South and always talks like that) sounds like Parisians. Kinda defeats the purpose...

    I come from the West btw, not Paris but I sound like a Parisian. That's what watching too much French tv when you're a kid does to you, all the programmes are shot in Paris...

    Anyway I digress! Definitely let us know what you thought of the movie when you see it.


  9. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    Intersted, Isabelle, interested... Let's not get too excited about me being excited... but, certainly, my interest has been piqued.

    And at least now you know that, as difficult (and lengthy) as your explanation of the film was, I did actually get something out of it - at least enough to recognise it as the same movie when someone in America who didn't even have the benefit of the French language or a subtitled version wrote about it.

    But yeah, we'll be seeing it when Will's versione comes out. I may even watch the badly subtitled French version first, for comparison. God, if you could get me to see 'I Am Legend' then this should be an absolute doddle!


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