Eager for knowledge, discovery and new experiences, Marie-Soleil Tougas lives her life to the fullest. Director Jean-Claude Lauzon, twelve years his senior, has the same consuming appetite. Despite personalities on antipodes and through a thousand pitfalls, they weave a fragile but sincere love affair. Out of sight, they will live their love against all odds. Until the end.
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By 1985, at the age of just 32, Jean-Claude Lauzon had already produced a multitude of television advertising campaigns, some of which are memorable. During that year he directed a series of adverts for the Department of Health and Social Care advocating the use of condoms with the theme ‘love protects itself’. Carl Marotte just revealed Throw and count, is one of them. Another features a young actress, just under 16, with whom Lauzon is working for the first time. Despite the age difference, he likes Marie-Soleil Tougas.
Throughout the day, the director is struck by the teenage girl’s maturity and determination while at the same time worrying about her young age. In the book Marie Soleill, published by Éditions Stanké, the author Louise Bourbonnais reports that at the end of the shooting he confided in Serges Tougas that he had his eye on his daughter. “You approach him and I will kill you,” he replies. Lauzon is rebellious and does not prevent himself from going to Marie-Soleil: “Come back to me when you are 18!”
This exchange does not give the right perspective on the dynamic between Marie-Soleil and Jean-Claude. For her part, the teenager is not indifferent to the charm of Lauzon, who has a reputation for being a heartthrob. According to people on set, she even shows interest in different ways.
In the days that follow, they take care of the post-production of the advertising message together. Then they occasionally meet again on a friendly basis. Years pass and after dating Alain Choquette, Marie-Soleil is 24 years old when she happens to see the director again in a restaurant. The year is 1994. This is when their love story begins to take shape.
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THE CAT AND THE MOUSE
The young actress has an impeccable image with the public, which reinforces her commitment to Opération Enfant Soleil. The director’s is completely different. Lauzon is a lone wolf with a fiery and unpredictable character who goes to great lengths to express his mindset. He has a supposed racket side that borders on crime. in the show biography, broadcast on Canal D, Gaston Lepage is absolutely candid: “Jean-Claude was quite a selfish guy. I allow myself to say this because he was my best friend. Marie-Soleil was just the opposite.” From the outside, the relationship is at best anachronistic and doomed at worst, but there is a Mother Teresa side to the young woman. in the biography, remarks Louise Bourbonnais: “She said that she had to have a challenge, that you even had to change something about the person, otherwise she would get bored. With Jean-Claude it was served perfectly.
Marie-Soleil has seen snow and she knows how to negotiate with such a personality, her first lover, Nicolas, shares traits with Jean-Claude. She is irresistibly attracted to him and knows that if she wants him to get close to her, she has to give him all the freedom he demands. So she knows how to sneak away at the right moment before he tells her without putting on white gloves. Yes, he is gruff and can be rude in the way he says things. At the same time, he admires the fact that the young woman is independent and organizes herself perfectly without outside help. But from there to tell him…
In general, Lauzon is unable to express his feelings towards her or show her any signs of affection. She will suffer from this for most of her relationship. Confiding to a friend of the couple that she doubts he even loves her, she understands that indifference is a way for him to protect himself and avoid hurt. That said, he doesn’t seem to lose his vigilance until long into their relationship. in the biography, Marie-Soleil’s mother, Micheline Bégin, argues: “I felt that he was quietly developing a kind of respect for Marie-Soleil that he didn’t have at the beginning. At first he loved her for himself. He ended up loving her for her.”
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SOUND “NO CHUM”
Jean-Claude Lauzon, a creature who is as antisocial as he is close to nature, lives in Sutton, far away from the city’s cacophony. Marie-Soleil goes there regularly at the weekend. She knows what is sacred to him and what his passions are, which he pursues with his circle of friends. If she took him away, their relationship would deteriorate. She then became interested in hunting and fishing. In 1996 she began to get her pilot’s license. She is experienced in exciting activities, she who from the time of resourceful, ventured out in a hot air balloon, parachute or scuba gear. She also took off in hang gliding with Gaston Lepage. And what about his adventure in Fort Boyard! She is therefore experienced in accompanying whoever she calls her “non-boyfriend” in some of her “male activities”. However, she must compromise to preserve what is between them. As Gaston Lepage puts it: ‘Of course he loved her, but he didn’t just love her and he wanted us and him to understand that too. Whether she understood it or not, that’s how it was. This probably caused a lot of friction between them, but when he took her on long journeys, he looked after her like a bear looks after its cubs. She was a mother hen of the kind you seldom see.” But despite the young woman’s best efforts, and despite the best will in the world, she seriously questions that relationship from time to time. Despite this, they get back together.
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ONE LAST CHANCE
Guy Fournier, a close friend of both of them, witnessed all this hesitation, all this heartbreak. On August 8, 2012 in his column for MontrealJournalhe wrote: “In June (1997), after the last rehearsal ofEnt Cadieux, I ate with Marie-Soleil. She had just lived with Jean-Claude again for the umpteenth time. Their love was never restful. Although I loved Jean-Claude like a son, on a number of occasions I advised Marie-Soleil to end their relationship. This time, too, the young woman prefers to listen to her heart rather than the advice of her confidants. So she gives her “non-boyfriend” another chance, who offers to spend her summer vacation with him. Marie-Soleil is delighted with this proposal, especially since Jean-Claude seems genuinely willing to have fun with her. She accepts. Guy Fournier isn’t thrilled with the idea that she’s still taking the risk of getting hurt. At best, he manages to squeeze out a compromise. Before she embarks on a journey, she gives him an ultimatum: if he doesn’t change his attitude towards her, it’s over once and for all. The rebel agrees.
The couple’s vacation initially includes a week of salmon fishing. Everything is going great. Finally! Marie-Soleil begins to touch what she has been longing for for three years. At home she is already thinking about the next expedition that they will do in a few days.
SOME GOOD NEWS!
Jean-Claude and his friend Gaston Lepage own a chalet in Haute-Mauricie, near the Gouin dam. On August 7, 1997, he went there with his inseparable friend Patrice L’Ecuyer. They are soon joined by the couple who head there aboard the Cessna piloted by Lauzon. Gaston’s wife Louise Laparé spent some time with them in the chalet. On her return, she calls Guy Fournier.
Twenty years later, in a column he signed on August 10, 2017 in the MontrealJournal, he recalls: “She told me that Marie-Soleil had never seemed so happy to her.” And Jean Claude? “He’s never been so nice to her.”
The 25th anniversary special magazine about Marie-Soleil Tougas and Jean-Claude Lauzon is now available at jemazine.ca.
The documentation Marie-Soleil and Jean-Claude: Beyond the Stars is available on the Vrai platform.