Omar Sy to play France’s gentleman thief on TV

French actor Omar Sy, well known for the 2011 hit film Intouchables, is to play the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin in a new Netflix series.

29 January 2020
By Connexion journalist

The French literary classic (see right) has been adapted many times, for theatre, cinema and television, but a 1970s series starring Georges Descrières is the best known.

The Netflix version will be set in today’s time, similar to the BBC’s Sherlock.

Netflix France is still filming but released an image, right. The series is expected to be available to watch later this year.

It was created by writers George Kay, known for the spy series Killing Eve, and François Uzan, who worked on Netflix’s Family Business. Stars in­cludes Comédie Française actor Hervé Pierre and Ludivine Sagnier, best known for Huit Femmes.

Arsène Lupin: Ingenious and suave

Arsene Lupin, known for his ingenious plans, disguises and razor-sharp wits, stars in a series of stories set in the Belle Epoque and written between 1905 and 1941.

He is a suave mastermind who steals from the rich to give to himself, and was created by author Maurice Leblanc.

The opening sequence of the 1970s series features silhouettes of the character in cape, top hat, monocle and cane, along with elegant women.

Known for his classy manner, Lupin never kills and avoids violence, at the most tying his victims up.

In the title song of the 1970s series, Gentleman Cambri­oleur, Jacques Dutronc sang: “He’s the greatest of thieves, yes, but he’s a gentleman – he makes off with your share certificates without threatening you with a weapon; when he robs a lady, he has flowers delivered to her.”

Many of his adventures take place in Normandy’s Pays de Caux. One place particularly associated with him is Etretat in Normandy, with its Aiguille Creuse cliffs.

They take their name from a story in which the character finds the lost treasure of the kings of France hidden in the “hollow” cliffs.

He makes it his secret hide-away, adding to his fortune with items such as the real Mona Lisa, which he replaced with a fake. You can visit Leblanc’s holiday home in Etretat.

Leblanc’s contemporary Conan Doyle was unimpressed when he introduced a character called Herlock Sholmes, a supposedly brilliant detective who is nonetheless repeatedly outwitted by Lupin and always arrives on the scene too late.

 

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