"Fort Boyard": Five things you need to know about Yann Le Gac, the actor behind the mask of Father Fouras for more than thirty years

“Fort Boyard”: Five things you need to know about Yann Le Gac, the actor behind the mask of Father Fouras for more than thirty years

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At the top of the 370 steps of the “Fort Boyard” watchtower, he waits, impassive, ready to nail the candidate who comes to rub shoulders with his riddles. While some things have changed at the Fort this season, including the removal of the tigers for animal welfare, the mysterious old man is unstoppable.

Father Fouras has been interviewing the candidates of the cult show France 2 for 33 seasons -of which a new episode is broadcast on Saturday, July 30- and almost as long as Yann Le Gac has embodied this emblematic character. The comedian from Morbihan, who will celebrate his 68th birthday in August, did not think that this costume would stick to his skin three decades later. Here are five things you may not know about the person who plays Father Fouras.

Screenshot of an interview with Yann Le Gac conducted in 2018 by the Society of Game Authors (Saje).  (YOUTUBE / SOCIETY OF GAMES AUTHORS)

1Dancer emeritus before becoming an actor

Before establishing his summer residence in La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), Yann Le Gac first dreamed of being a dancer. When he was a teenager, he was advised to do tap dance, modern dance, and then classical dance. manages to integrate “the best classical dance class in Paris, Serge Golovine’s, Avenue George V, where the dancers from the Opera used to come”says in 2021 to The magazine team (article subscribers). Then she went to Brussels, where she entered the school of the dancer Maurice Béjart. In 1973 his name appears in the cast of several of the choreographer’s shows.

“It was inflated in my time, a boy who dances. He did it eight hours a day, more than fifteen years. You can imagine the body that shaped me… I pay for it: I have osteoarthritis everywhere!

Yann Le Gac

in “L’Equipe Magazine”

He performs all over the world: the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Scala in Milan, the Fenice in Venice or the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. But in the mid-1980s, her body said enough was enough. “Dancing never stops, it’s physical madness”concede Sunday newspaper. He now dreams of being an actor and his meeting with the famous agent Dominique Besnehard precipitates this reorientation. He even passes the auditions for the role that Jean-Hugues Anglade eventually filled in 37º2 in the morningas explained in Gala.

Yann Le Gac joined the company in the early 1990s. of actors directed by the director Alexis Tikovoï. He rubs shoulders with Marie Trintignant, Anne Parillaud and Tina Sportolaro. She remembers a man “very open, friendly and jovial”. “His atypical career amazed me, he had already had a professional life as a dancer with Maurice Béjart”.

twoThe first Father Fouras, it was not him

Yann Le Gac joined “Fort Boyard” during the second season, in 1991. He replaced the Belgian actor Michel Scourneau, dismissed for reasons that differ, according to the main person involved. Within the documentary tv game mastersBroadcast in 2019 on France 5, former “Fort Boyard” host Patrice Laffont argues that the show’s success prompted Michel Scourneau to revise its requirements upwards. “He kind of blackmailed the production by saying, ‘Oh guys, now maybe we should get a little mad.'”Patrice Laffont says.

A version denied by the actor. When my agent offered me to do Padre Fouras, I wasn’t very interested and therefore negotiated a fairly high fee. I had gotten 250,000 francs to shoot the whole season, for France and Germany.”defends himself in The Figaro. He adds that he turned down the seven-year contract he had been initially offered, preferring not to make a long-term commitment.

Yann Le Gac as Père Fouras when the emblematic character of

When the time comes for the renegotiation of the second season, Pierre Sportolaro, the production director, wants to renew it, but with a less significant cache. “I told him I didn’t agree. He wanted the same contract.Michel Scourneau says. The discussion had stopped there and I had no further news from then on. But I never asked for more because I knew they already paid me very well.”

Whatever the reasons, the production had to relaunch a casting call. “My brother Pierre had asked me if I didn’t know any actors who might be interested,” actress Tina tells franceinfo Sportolaro. “I thought of Yann because he had this background. The other young actors didn’t stick around. He was the most consistent candidate.”

3I didn’t expect to make old bones in the Fort.

When he walks into the Fort, Yann Le Gac doesn’t think he’s been thirty years old. “I thought I was only going to charge a fee once. But the game was a success, they asked me to continue next year, and so on…”explained in 2019 to the Telegram. At that time, Yann Le Gac was continuing his acting career and this passage through the TV box was not necessarily seen with good eyes.

“Marie Trintignant was very reserved: ‘You’re crazy, you don’t have to. More a game…’. Making TV was frowned upon. I replied: ‘I’ll have a mask, I’ll disguise my voice, no problem'” .

Yann Le Gac

to “Telegram”

“When Yann signed, the duration was not at all the issue, confirms Tina Sportolaro. We weren’t projecting ourselves in time.” He ends up getting into the game and has never left the costume, even when he wants to focus on the artistic production of the show. In 2002, he was briefly replaced by Didier Hervé, another actor. But this replacement does not last. “The there was a request from the channel and the production for me to come back: the viewers had realized that it was no longer me, by the voice and the eyes, in particular”advance in the telegram.

4 Becoming a Father Fouras, a physical requirement

Wearing the suit of Father Fouras is not easy. This requires at least 45 minutes of makeup and thirty minutes of dressing. At the start of your adventure, “METhe mask was very heavy and thick, like a balaclava that hurt my neck.”says Yann Le Gac in Telegram. The suit, which he says resembles a torn sack of potatoes”, it is made of silk and is still heavy. Over the years, the paraphernalia has become lighter, but what demands more energy from the actor is the very special, humming voice of Father Fouras.

“It takes me ten times more effort to say a sentence in ‘Père Fouras’ than in my normal voice. This character is very vampirizing in terms of energy.”

Yann Le Gac

in “L’Equipe Magazine”

And when it all adds up, with shots to be taken, sometimes in conditions that don’t match his costume (heat, crowded conditions), he can sweat profusely. “I am always scared when I have to move, because I know that I’m going to pay it. When I take off my toga, I’m soaked until my shirt is wrung out.”admits in the sports newspaper.

5The man who designs the tests for… “Koh Lanta”

In “Fort Boyard”, Yann Le Gac not only poses the puzzles put together by a team of authors, but also designs the tests. And, since 2003, he has held the same position for the TF1 program “Koh-Lanta”. “J‘invent the games and I put them in their place’reveals in Europe 1 in 2019. A role that has earned him the nickname of “executioner” with the candidates. The key is to give the illusion that the tests seem simple and obvious to everyone at first glance. At the beginning, many times I am the one who launches the idea and the work of reflection begins with the team”describes to the Huffington Post.

“It’s a daunting task. You should see the intensity in the creative workshops (…) We’re blowing our brains out.”

Yann Le Gac

in the Huffington Post

The man behind the orienteering race that qualifies for the final? He is he. He does not hide a certain pride for having imagined it. It’s an extremely complicated event to put together, but ultimately very easy for viewers to watch and follow. It’s a test that always offers unexpected twists and I love it!”slips.

If he didn’t invent the pole test, he reset it by seeing perched pelicans. “I thought to myself, ‘Hey, what’s purer than that?’ describes Europe 1. Because the problem is always finding fair games, big or small, strong or not. Especially when it comes to the final.”

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