La Première Chose
A few years ago now, I read Grégoire Delacourt's La Première Chose Qu'on Regarde. My producer Elisabeth was the first to point out that this was a movie begging to be made. She encouraged me to reach out to the author, who was quick to respond. In preparation for our first meeting with him, we shot a short demo as proof-of-concept. We asked six women to live-model wedding dresses in a storefront window - for our purposes, a pharmacy we had dressed to look like a bridal shop. I’ll always remember the looks we got from pedestrians who walked passed their local pharmacy while we were shooting our gaggle of brides.
Although the meeting with Grégoire Delacourt went well, acquiring the film rights was impossible due to an ongoing case in the French courts: Scarlett Johanson was suing the author over the story. Ironically, Delacourt believed he'd written a character Scarlett Johanson couldn't resist. He'd referred to his novel as a love letter to cinema, and had always imagined the star in the film adaptation, playing her own look-alike. He used her likeness for his protagonist because she fused old Hollywood glamour with a very deliberate and modern ownership of, and savvy re-definition of, her own image.
Having researched lookalikes, though, Elisabeth and I became fascinated with the various stories we uncovered, and began plotting our next project: the Almost Anonymous webseries. A Scarlett Johanson lookalike who made her living in porn led us to our Rihanna doppelganger, adult film star Lavish Styles. Shortly after that, we stumbled upon a website for "the singing Hillary Clinton", pottery teacher Norman Deesing's website and the accompanying blog by his wife, and professional stand-in Ronnie Rodriguez’s page.
Click on "Almost Anonymous" below to read more about that project.