“Anna and Arnaud”: the difficult path of a mother and a son

Our perspective on homelessness will change thanks to the drama series Anna and Arnaudwhose shooting is coming to an end these days.

That’s what Guylaine Tremblay and Nico Racicot, the novel’s Anna and Arnaud, believe Anna and the childlike old man, by Francine Ruel, which we have adapted for the small screen. In the 200-page book, the author tells her own story through that of her son Étienne, recounting the turning point in his life after he was attacked by a gunman for free. The young man’s fall is long, painful, including on the street and in heroin.


What the two actors realized as they tackled the issue of homelessness is that behind every homeless person – whom we don’t see or don’t want to see – there is a person and a story.

By the mere mention of her character in an interview, Guylaine Tremblay struggles to hold back tears, playing precisely a woman who is nervous and obsessed with her son’s descent into hell. “You see it’s not hard, huh, to make me cry,” she exclaimed before laughing.


“It’s like an obsession in the sense that Anna never gets rid of it, even on a nice summer’s day with friends when she’s having a drink. Suddenly there is a noise, something that reminds her that Arnaud is outside, that she doesn’t know who he’s with, what he’s doing. Do people want to harm him, does he take drugs, does he take bad dope, is he going to die today?” the actress details.

By becoming a “fighter,” Anna puts her career and life on hold. For the actress, the challenge was to play that difficult journey, the impotence of a mother struggling to savor the small pleasures.

Arnaud is also obsessed, but by his consumption. As a result, a mother and son who love each other are both thrown into a nightmare, but for completely different reasons — and under completely different conditions.


Nico Racicot did a few searches to better understand his character. He evokes a “frustrating” and “humiliating” experience due to the indifference of passers-by. He says that Arnaud, who had everything to succeed, “only survives”. “We see a person who just doesn’t know how to ‘deal’ with the cards they’re given,” he said on the sidelines of filming a scene in Pierrefonds, west of Montreal Island, in which Anna accompanies Arnaud in rehab.

Screenwriter François Archambault (shooting stars), who speaks of a sometimes funny and bright drama series, met Francine Ruel’s son fifteen times.


“In the novel, which is very beautiful and very inward, we delve into Anna’s thoughts and feelings. When I met Francine for the project, I told her that it would be interesting to bring her son’s point of view as well. We researched homelessness, did some self-documentation and in the process got back in touch with Étienne, who I was able to meet,” said Mr Archambault, adding that the author had read the scripts of the eight episodes of the Pixcom-produced series and that they gave him a Wrote text describing Étienne’s trajectory to feed the scenarios.

Guylaine Tremblay, who has rubbed shoulders with many of her playmates, says there will be “a before and an after for Nico Racicot” thanks to this role. “He’s disgusting!” The main prospect reciprocates with him.

Director Louis Belanger (post mortem, Gas bar blues, Highway 132) is pleased to be able to stage the two main actors as well as Stéphane Jacques, Alexis Martin and Marie-Hélène Thibault.


“I’ve wanted to work with Guylaine for a long time, who I love. Nico, it’s a discovery. I realized that I can ask him for deals, try things and he has the intelligence to adapt,” he said, relating that Arnaud must be played with youthful vitality in the first narrative line, then the coolness of reflexes fade in the second, due to drug addiction and life on the streets.


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