The autobiographical novel Papillon, published in France in 1969, is about two prisoners working together to escape a penal colony in Guiana, South America. French safecracker Henri “Papillon” Charrière wrote the fictionalized memoir while incarcerated.
Charlie Hunnam is set to take on the title role, with Rami Malek starring as his fellow inmate, counterfeiter Louis Dega. Hunnam, Malek and director Michael Noer (Northwest), were all in attendance at a screening of the film this past weekend (August 19), with Malek saying to Variety, “You know, we could do a prison escape movie, which is entertaining, and that’s the deal here — we have to entertain — but at the same time to have something going on where two human beings are searching for themselves and [it’s] somewhat of a love story.”
Hunnam chimed in, agreeing, “I think that’s really accurate. For me, what I’ve always been very interested in is the human condition and how we overcome adversity in our lives.”
Based on the first look trailer, we’re picking up on the intensity and loyalty between these two men, depicted in the new film:
The 2018 version is a follow-up to the 1973 adaptation starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, which was described by The New York Times at the time of release, as being “a big, brave, stouthearted, sometimes romantic, sometimes silly melodrama with the kind of visual sweep you don’t often find in movies anymore.”
Noer agrees that the two men have an intimate relationship, saying to Variety, “That was the first thing I wrote on the side of the pages as I was skimming through the script: The chance to make not only a film about friendship but also a film about love.”
He goes on to explain the bond between the two unlikely friends: “Because in friendship you can say that you’re bound only to a certain extent, but in love, you’re bound good and bad. You can hurt each other much more than you can just in a friendship.”
Being a biopic, we expect the story will stay intact, following Papillon and fellow prison inmate, counterfeiter Louis Dega, played by Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek, respectively. Papillon was falsely accused and imprisoned in 1933 for a murder he didn’t commit. In 1941, with the help of Dega, he made his escape.
Hunnam has completed filming on the drama A Million Little Pieces (Rel: TBD), also starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo). You can look for Malek in the forthcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody (Rel: November 2).
You can look for the two in Papillon, which hits theaters on August 24.
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