Patrick Huard hammers it strongly: Squad 99, the adaptation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that he signs for Club illico, seeks to seduce a new audience and not to preach to the early converts of police comedy. Nevertheless, its rereading is resolutely faithful to the original.
“Me, I made this series for the millions of Quebecers who have not seen it and who do not know it. Those who have already seen it, I can only disappoint them. I have always been very assumed at this level, “said the director during the virtual conference following the press viewing of his” baby “on Wednesday morning.
After months of speculation and – already! – a controversy, it is finally this Thursday thatSquad 99 and his brigade of comedic talents (Mikaël Gouin, Mylène Mackay, Widemir Normil, Guy Jodoin, Bianca Gervais, Fayolle Jean Jr, Léane Labrèche-Dor, Louis Champagne and others, who all prance in scenes that are often downright wacky) land on Club illico for 13 episodes of raw drollery, directed by Huard, produced by ComediHa! in collaboration with Quebecor Content, script-edited by Benoît Pelletier and set to music by Anik Jean.
The series was shot in Quebec at the beginning of the year. Patrick Huard was keen to show the city from other angles than “the Château Frontenac and the gates of the Old”.
World’s first adaptation
Squad 99, it’s a little District 31 on the acid. At police station # 99 in Quebec City, detectives laugh at the appearance of suspects, run wheelchair races and arrest bad guys “with” swag “.
The gang will however have to calm down when the new commander Raymond Célestin (Widemir Normil) comes along, much more severe than his predecessor and determined to propel his troops to the top.
Squad 99, which its team of craftsmen likes to compare to Good Cop, Bad Cop, is the first adaptation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the world. Expectations are high, with fanatics of the cult Fox and NBC franchise both numerous and very dedicated.
They will recognize the situations, the tone and the characters at first glance, down to the cue. But Huard insists: he even ordered his team of actors not to study the original production, so as not to stupidly copy and paste the tics and manias of their American counterparts.
Moreover, the notion of “adaptation” takes on its full meaning here, with references, among others, to From father to cop and the Nordics included in the first dialogues.
“I chose the best”
Squad 99 had already caused a lot of talk last month when, when its trailer was released, Cuban-born actress Melissa Fumero, aka Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, had deplored that his role in the Quebec version (played by Mylène Mackay) was not defended by an actress of Latin origin. A criticism that also touched the Rosalie Boucher embodied by Bianca Gervais, personified by an American-Argentinian artist in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Patrick Huard burst the abscess from the start on Wednesday, explaining that he had chosen the actors and actresses he considered the best for each of the characters in his series. He takes full responsibility for the distribution ofSquad 99, he assured.
“There was no ‘whitewashing’. I did the casting rigorously. (…) I saw all kinds of people. And the ones there are the best I’ve found, the best at making these characters and creating this group of people. (…) We did it with our heart, and no one had bad intentions, ”detailed Patrick Huard, who says he has the issues of representativeness of diversity on screen at heart, and who recalled at the bend that the character of Raymond Célestin (Widemir Normil) is both black and homosexual in the show.
Huard also condemned the discharge of hatred that Mylène Mackay and Bianca Gervais had to accept in the wake of the controversy.
“If you have to be angry, be angry with me. Verbal violence on social networks towards actresses who have accepted to play these roles is socially unacceptable. I don’t accept that, and we have to tell ourselves as a people that we don’t accept that. ”
As for Club illico, Denis Dubois, vice-president of original content at Quebecor Content, reiterated his full confidence and his pride in Squad 99, to the point where talks about a possible second season have already started.
Squad 99 is available on Club illico as of Thursday, September 17.